Mixed feelings from parents, students ahead of return to classroom
Parents and students in Waterloo Region have mixed feelings about Ontario students going back to in-person learning on Jan. 17.
“I want to go back so I can see my friends but I don’t want to go back for all of the health reasons,” said Nolan Patterson, a Grade 4 student in Cambridge.
Nolan said he prefers remote learning as he feels safer.
“Some people don’t really care. When teachers are not looking they just take their masks off and start talking,” Nolan said.
Nolan’s mother said she will be worried about the health of all of her kids, if she is forced to bring them back.
“I definitely think it’s a little too soon or they just don’t have the proper safety measurements in place,” said Tracy Patterson.
Nolan said she is especially concerned since the Ontario government outlined new testing guidelines, with case counts no longer being reported and take home tests only being given in limited circumstances.
“I don’t think it’s safe for the kids. No more testing is going to be done so you won’t even know,” said Tracy.
Other parents are relieved they can send their kids back soon.
“They’re old enough to follow the protocols of the school, to make sure they’re washing their hands properly, hand sanitize,” said Kitchener mother Elaine Fischer.
Fischer’s daughter is a Grade 7 and said remote learning is more challenging than being there in person.
“I have a separate learning place that’s more quiet, and there’s not as many distractions like my phone,” Amelia Fischer said.
Both school boards in Waterloo Region say the health and safety of students and staff is top priority and added that they won't be commenting on the back-to-school plan until they receive official communication from the government.