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Province released its return to school plan at the link below. Before I go any further, I ask this question *only* wanting to hear from folks with direct experience with school last year or direct interest in it this coming year and only wanting to hear their opinions and thoughts on the plan as it effects them. I know a lot of folks have opinions on the pandemic in general and that's best for other threads so that this one can stay focused on first-hand experiences and opinions based on them. Anyways, press release on the plan is at the link below. Please have a read if you haven't already: https://news.gov.mb.ca/news/?archive=&item=52021 As someone with a school-aged kiddo I'm being more candid on this topic than I normally would be because I feel like I'm in a spot to ask questions and perhaps even learn from the answers. In posting what I'm posting, I'm not speaking of local school teachers and staff who worked last year under such unusual and difficult circumstances so much as decision-makers two hours to the East that ultimately will dictate policy behind what is and isn't done. I know that there are parents and kids with a really wide assortment of needs and options available to them. For some parents school is also a necessary place for kids to be while parents are at work, for other parents (immunocompromised kids or not) it's just as easy if not preferred for kids to still be at home during the day and learning as part of an online and/or blended learning environment like what's available by choice in so many other areas.
I come from the perspective that we do when the time is right need move on from the pandemic under the best and most safe conditions. As of right now the pandemic and vaccine program locally and in most parts of the province have clearly moved in a positive direction and I'm someone that wants to see the school system progress in that direction so long as safe. This is a very different circumstance than it was last year when it comes to protection in the population and when it comes to understanding the virus and its impacts on children. At the same time there are signs that a fourth wave is likely incoming and there will be future responses to that clearly necessary, pivoting as the conditions dictate in order to minimize future impact from the virus on the population.
At the link above as a parent I'll say that the province is saying many of the right things by the time a media release gets through all of the hands and eyes it gets past before its sent out. At the same time, a year later in being candid I still feel quite burned and betrayed by a government that gave limited choice last fall and essentially force-fed a system that respected the wishes and needs of parents significantly less than what every other province from Ontario to the Pacific Ocean had available. With that context, I key in on this line from the media release today: "We know that students learn best in the classroom and the return to school plan will help to ensure schools stay open and adjust with additional measures, as needed, to address changes in local community or school situations.” A level of trust is being requested in the situation being monitored and changes being made as situations provincially or locally dictate. The ask as written IMO isnt unreasonable. At the same time I'm only one person and I fully recognize that different people will see this differently, but personally at this point in time trust in that decision-making on provincial school matters is not at what I'd call high levels even though I consider myself trusting by nature and have been throughout much of the pandemic in general. I'm looking for feedback based on last year from parents with kids in the system and how you feel going into this year. How do you compare your mindset right now to the same time last year? Keeping in mind that provincial and school officials will be walking a fine line when it comes to privacy, did you feel that communication was at a level that gave you comfort that you knew what was going on in your school when it came to presence of Covid and what the response would be in different scenarios? During the holidays and then again in the spring the switch was flicked to remote learning. Are you happy with how that process played out in terms of when the decision was made and the level of learning that took place? In being understanding that decision-makers were going through their first pandemic with a virus with a lot of unknowns, it could be suggested that there will have had to be a lot of learning and reacting on the fly in making decisions and sculpting policy. Do you feel after a year of dealing with Covid in the school system that perhaps any concerns from earlier months are less-so based on experience of having a year of operating within the pandemic?
Again in the interest of a constructive, on-topic discussion am only looking for feedback from folks with direct experience with the school system this past year! thanks for reading and to anyone that's able to chip in with thoughts.
I think folks for the most part get the general theory behind everything as far as current state of Covid in the here and now and that part of it gives a guy hope that this could go in the right direction if there arent any major surprises or changes. Looking at the link above, through the eyes of a parent what are your thoughts on the plan moving forward? What did you observe as a parent last year... what were your thoughts on how changes in community or provincial risk level led to changes in response in education? Respectful of the fact that in many cases schools themselves were only in a position to say so much, how did you feel communication was as far as Covid state in your kids' school and what the plan was going forward? How do you feel on August 5 this year as far as preparing your kids for the next school year compared to August 5 last year?
First day back for kiddo today. Quite the site on the walk. Literally every parent I saw outdoors within a block of the school went as far as having a mask on while walking their kids, whether or not they were close enough that they were coming up on clusters of kiddos. Obviously this is a difficult time for a lot of parents and kids and no doubt a time with real challenges and hurdles for school staff too. Its a big but important ask to have everyone masked at school. Seeing parents step up on the walk like that is just the kind of thing that gives a person a good feeling that by and large this community is taking this pandemic seriously, no doubt especially after reading about the turns its taken in provinces to the West.
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