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Your Thoughts on an Anxious and Uncertain Return to Classes

2020-09-04 20:54:41
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Two weeks ago, the Canada Letter looked at the impending return to school in most provinces. Since then, the federal government and teachers’ unions have been making adjustments to the plans as they figure out how to get students back in classrooms in the middle of a pandemic.

A large number of you took up my request in the earlier newsletter for your thoughts about the back-to-school plans in your parts of the country. I heard from parents, teachers and school board trustees. And with a few exceptions, most of you are anxious and find your province’s spending and plans inadequate.

Here are some of your comments, which have been edited for length and clarity:

Ontario should cancel first year kindergarten for the year. These young kids have never been to school and many have not been in a setting away from their parents. Yet we’re expecting these 3- and 4-year-olds to social distance. Really?

Lisa Lewis, kindergarten teacher, Keswick, Ontario

From a parent perspective, with a son entering 11th grade and a daughter in ninth grade, what is striking to me is how the schools aren’t regularly involving parents in the plans for what the school year will be like. This lack of communication began in mid-March at the start of the pandemic and school closures.

I think that the more we all acknowledge that we are all in this together, the better. This is why many families are so worried — we are feeling left out.

Judith Krajnak, St. Albert, Alberta


A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


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