Manitoba's back-to-school plans garnering mixed reaction from parents

Manitoba is planning on sending students back into the classroom on Sept. 8, and it’s receiving some mixed reaction from parents around the province.

The Manitoba Association of Parent Councils says they need more information, adding the plans don’t address everyone.

“We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls in regards to homeschooling,” executive director Brenda Brazeau told Global News. “If parents aren’t willing to send their child to school, is there going to be an alternative?

“We want more information. What happens if a parent is not comfortable with sending their child back to school? What happens?”

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If a child becomes sick at school, they’ll have to either stay in a separate room or two metres apart and wear a mask until their parent comes to pick them up.

“If a person was not tested and had symptoms compatible with COVID-19 then they would have to be assumed to have COVID-19,” chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin said during Thursday’s press conference.

“So they would not be able to return to school or work for 10 days after symptom onset”

Parents say the added time at home with sick children, will be a challenge

“I personally don’t think its’ going to be feasible for some parents,” Brazeau said. “If you’re child is sick, you have to come pick them up. But in the meantime, that child has already been with the cohorts in that classroom, so now what do we do?”

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Manitoba parents anxiously awaiting province’s back-to-school plan

“That’s a long period of time for parents to find suitable child care for their children so that they can continue to go to work,” parent Denise Manikel said. “In addition to that, what does the model look like for remote schooling?”

Manikel’s son is about to begin Grade 2. Despite lingering questions and concerns, she says many parents in the province are breathing a sigh of relief.

“(I am) over-the-moon ecstatic. I think there’s parents all over the province right now that are over the moon ecstatic,” she said.

“We know COVID is here, it’s not going anywhere. It could be here three months, it could be here a couple years, and we have to find a way to be balanced with that. I have full trust in the province and all the teachers associations that they put in very solid framework in place to ensure that students are going to return to school safely.

“Just super excited the kids are going back in the fall.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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