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New Brunswick parents, teachers hope for in-person school year

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WATCH: With New Brunswick’s return to school plan still in development, parents and teachers are weighing in on what they hope to see for students. Travis Fortnum reports. – Aug 4, 2021

Students in New Brunswick are heading back to school in a little over three weeks, and despite the province not yet issuing a full return-to-school plan, many are optimistic it will be a little more standard than the last.

In the spring, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Dominic Cardy said he hopes to see kids physically in class, as opposed to again relying on a hybrid learning model.

He told Global News in June the province has been working towards having a “normal” return to school in September.

READ MORE: COVID-19: New Brunswick schedules in-school vaccination clinic in Saint John

When reached for comment Wednesday, Cardy’s office says the details on the plan will come in the weeks between now and then — for now all we know is that return will be staggered through the first week of the month.

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Teachers in the province say they hope to be back with students full-time if it’s safe.

“What we know for sure is that students learn best face to face,” says Connie Keating, president of the New Brunswick Teachers Association.

Keating, who just stepped into the union president’s seat this week, says the sooner the plan is presented the better — with classroom prep already underway.

“Once August 1 rolls around, teachers start thinking about the return,” she says.

Parents also say they’re hoping to send kids back after a turbulent year.

“For my daughter who was in high school, it was tricky,” says Saint John mom Abby St Amand.

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“Her mental health suffered.

“I’m really hoping this year stays full-time for at least the high school students.”

READ MORE: Childcare provider optimistic New Brunswick will eventually sign onto cheaper daycare plan

St. Amand also has a son who’s heading into first grade — his only school experiences thus far having come during COVID-19.

With him and other kids under 12 still ineligible for Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccines, she says she’s going to follow the experts.

“If Dr. Russell says: ‘no, we have to put protocols in place,’ I’m going to go with it,” St Amand says.

The province says its return to school plan will come in the next few weeks.

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