I’m writing this as Ontario’s Minister of Education Stephen Lecce is planning to announce the plans for remainder of the school year. Right now, the state of emergency in Ontario has been extended until June 2nd. What happens after that date is anyone’s guess right now.
Right now parents and educators are wondering if the remainder of the school year will be spent inside school walls or not. Quebec’s big open was cut short due to the fact that the Montreal region is still not under control in terms of new COVID-19 cases. In France, images from their new school yard protocols invoke images of prison rather than school.
Most parents and educators are consigned to the fact that the school system will not be returning to normal any time soon. While not perfect, distance learning has become the norm. Promises have been made to students that grades prior to the lock down will be what appears on their final record for this year. Giving a few weeks of in class work will not change that.
What parents and kids need right now is a break. Families are feeling the strain of social distancing and the breaking of routines. As talk persists of reopening our economy, we can make an assumption that schools are on the table of other institutions primed to be reopened. Let’s face facts though. Too much time as passed in the school year to feasible salvage the school year. There is no shame in admitting this. It’s been the one unspoken truth of this entire pandemic. Parents and educators alike have reached this inescapable conclusion.
At this point we need to get out of the house. Our collective mental health is suffering as we’ve cut ourselves off from friends and families and regular healthy daily routines. By now, the vast majority of Canadians have accepted the reality of the old way of life is gone. What isn’t going to change though is the need for social interaction. We are social animals by our very nature. We need to see our neighbours and families again.
If the provincial government is willing to accept the gradual reopening of sectors of the economy then it is perfectly reasonable to begin allowing softer restrictions on social distancing guidelines. Give us back our social circles before we need to send our children back to pseudo education prisons. Minister Lecce, should admit finally that schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, and the government will let us start to reach out to our social circles again. This isn’t a conceding of defeat. It’s an affirmation of our humanity.
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