Ottawa parents plan protest over decision to keep schools closed
OTTAWA -- There is growing frustration among parents and students in Ottawa following news that schools will remain closed for in-person learning until the end of the school year.
Now, a group of parents plan a walk to protest the decision on Friday.
"It was pretty heart-wrenching. I thought this is not right, all the messaging here is schools should be open," said Veronica Jackson, about Wednesday's announcement from the Ontario government.
"It was really sad, we miss our teachers and our friends," added her six-year-old daughter Liv.
Jackson is organizing a walk to voice frustration over the decision. She’ll be protesting with her family.
"I want to show my kids they have a voice and it seems their voice has gone without being listened to," she said.
Support for the initiative has grown quickly in the Westboro community, where it will take place. Other families are ready to join the protest.
"We’re definitely going to be making signs tonight, and we’ll be carrying them proudly around the school tomorrow. We’ll have our masks on, it’s going to be safe, but I think it’s so important for the kids to be able to express their feelings,” said Stacey Metulynsky, who will be walking with her family.
Matulynsky and her kids too are unhappy with the province’s decision.
"Even just a few days, a few weeks, anything with heir friends and teachers in the classroom would do a world of good," said Matulynski.
"I kind of forget what the school is like, I want to remember everything. I’m kind of sad and I want to see more people cuz I’m stuck inside most of the day," said her son Sam.
The group plans to start walking at 9 a.m. Friday outside Nepean High School and Broadview Public School. The plan is to walk the block around both schools for about an hour.
"The Ford government has not listened to the experts, the paediatric experts, the students, the teachers, the teachers unions, the families, the parents that are struggling," said Alecia O’Brien, who plans to take part in Friday's protest.
O’Brien and her family have felt the impacts, some of her kids dealing with learning difficulties have struggled with virtual learning.
"I can’t see people," said O'Brien's son Evan, adding online school has been "very" hard.
While most years families would be thrilled about an early summer, that isn’t the case this year.
"There’s always hope, there’s always hope," said Jackson.