Ottawa area parents and students react to Ontario school plan
OTTAWA -- Starting this September, all Ontario students will be returning to class in person and full time under the Ford government's new back to school plan.
Mom Jennifer Bosch Gyuricska says she’s happy her kids are heading back to in-person learning. The bouncing from in-class to virtual learning has been a challenge, she says, something she does not want to repeat.
"I’m very happy that kids are going back to their classrooms and I know my children are very excited to be going back to the classroom," Bosch Gyuricska said. "I know that my children will not enjoy wearing a mask all the time but they know it’s the safest option."
Bosch Gyuricska’s daughter Emily is excited to be headed back to primary school in September. She found virtual classes a poor substitute for the things she liked best about school.
"I don’t like staring at a screen all day. It hurts my eyes and I prefer talking to my friends and going out with them at recess."
Some parents and students CTV News Ottawa spoke to expressed concerns about the possibility of assigning virtual work on snow or heat days, the fact that the government is not going to force all education workers to get vaccinated, and that busses will have few capacity limits.
Emily Patenaude, who has a daughter entering kindergarten this year, believes all school staff should be vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
"I think my biggest concern is not having everyone in the schools vaccinated that can be," Patenaude said. "My priority is making sure the staff that are interacting with my children, who are not yet qualified for vaccination, are vaccinated."
Returning high school students Liliaque Widdup and Emily Gilstorf say they are looking forward to getting back to classroom learning, but they are disappointed the cohort system is returning this year and have mixed feelings about anther year of quadmesters.
"I did pretty good with doing quadmester," Widdup said. "I feel like it’s a lot easier to do classes because you are only focusing on a few classes."
"I’m glad we are going back. I know it’s been really hard to do online school for a lot of people including me," Gilstorf said. "The cohorts--I can understand how we are splitting everyone up and why we are doing that--but it is still going to be hard to not have everybody that we usually do."
The government will be releasing more information regarding the return to school plan in the coming days.