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N.B. parent gives province’s back-to-school plan a passing grade

Click to play video: 'New Brunswick parents react to COVID-19 back-to-school plan' New Brunswick parents react to COVID-19 back-to-school plan
WATCH: New Brunswick parents react to COVID-19 back-to-school plan – Aug 22, 2021

There are just about two weeks left before kids across New Brunswick start filing back into the classroom for what’s to be the third school year in the province touched by COVID-19.

On Friday, Minister of Education Dominic Cardy released the details of how that return to school is going to look for students this year.

“Our goal has gone from having a school year that is as normal as possible to one that has some measures in place,” he said at the time.

Moncton-area mother and blogger, Jenna Morton, says the timing of the announcement was “cutting it close.”

“We’re very close to administrators and teachers going back to the classroom, they go a week before students do.

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READ MORE: COVID-19: Students up to Grade 8 to wear masks in N.B. back-to-school plan

Morton runs parenting website “PicklePlanet,” which was named for a nickname given to her daughter who is heading into Grade 5. She also has twin boys entering Grade 3, all of whom she says are going to be excited to head into a school year slightly more normal than the last.

“They’re probably going to complain a bit that they still have to wear masks in certain places, but that’s fine, they can complain,” says Morton.

Click to play video: 'N.B. parents have mixed feelings about students going to school' N.B. parents have mixed feelings about students going to school
N.B. parents have mixed feelings about students going to school – Aug 17, 2021

Notably, she says her daughter is looking forward to the return of extra-curricular programs after a year without.

That, Morton says, is one of the many factors weighing on the minds of kids like her own at this point in the pandemic.

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“The kids are starting to realize how much they’ve missed,” she says.

“They’re starting to really understand that it’s not going away quickly and it’s not what they were supposed to have to deal with.”

When looking over the details of the plan, Morton says she was hoping to see more developments in the ways of in-school ventilation as well as better-supported remote learning.

“To come this far out of it and still have those as sort of ‘oh we’re working on it.’ Well what else were we working on?” she asks.

Read more: Expert says campus vaccine plans overdue — and here’s what they should look like

At the end of the day, Morton says she’s happy to defer to the experts behind the plan, especially considering the potential fourth wave on the horizon.

On Friday, Dr. Cristin Muecke, the regional chief medical officer of health, said students, families and government must prepare for anything.

“I think that’s one of the areas that New Brunswick has excelled at, is being able to react quickly, being able to track what’s going on, see what’s happening in other jurisdictions and adjust accordingly,” she said.

“I fully appreciate why that is stressful and anxiety-provoking for many people — and I just wanted to thank all New Brunswickers for being will to collaborate with us on that.”

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— With a file from Nathalie Sturgeon

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