Parents’ concerns over the province’s back-to-school plan

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WINNIPEG – While some parents and children are excited to go back to school given the end of the last school year, some parents do not want to send their children away. The Manitoba Parent Counseling Association (MAPC) said there were safety concerns with the virus.

Brenda Brazeau of MAPC said the pandemic has been difficult for children.

“They’re struggling during this pandemic, you know, and they’ve got questions too, and their little minds are wondering what’s going on,” Brazeau said.

Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will return to the classroom full time while high school students will do a combination of part-time learning at school and distance learning at home.

Brazeau said some parents have said they want to keep their children at home because of the virus.

“You know, children are children. They like to play, they like to touch each other, they like to touch each other, ”she says.

The organization wants to know what happens if a parent is uncomfortable letting their child out and if it can be set up to learn from home.

As part of the province’s back-to-school plan, it says distance learning will be available to students who are medically advised to stay home due to risk factors for COVID-19.

“If students are not medically advised to stay home, families can choose between public school, independent school or home schooling,” the province said in a statement to CTV News.

Since some parents are anxious, psychologist Dr Toby Rutner said these feelings could have a trickle down effect on students who are excited to see their classmates again.

“It could be in conflict with what’s going on at home. If the parents are nervous about the child going back to school, that is communicated to the child, ”Rutner said.

He said parents should do their best to reassure their children.

“I think what we want to do is give the children a clear message: it’s great that you are going back to school, there will be changes,” he said.

Rutner said parents should educate themselves and speak to a pediatrician about COVID-19 for reassurance.

The children will return to school on September 8th.

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