School Starts on Monday, can Parents Buy School Supplies for their Kids? Ontario Government Flip Flops on Commercial Protocols

Published on Downsview Advocate https://www.downsviewadvocate.ca/news/school-starts-monday-leaving-families-anxious
Parents in Ontario must feel like they were tied to a yo-yo and spun around over the last week. Only a few days before the March break, which is actually happening in April this year, the Minister of Education was saying schools were safe, only to find out a few hours later that Public Health officials at the City level were pulling the plug on schools because they were indeed not safe. Now, all schools are closed for in person learning indefinitely and we do not know if there will be in person classes again this school year.

Dollarama in the Jane Finch mall, where many local families get their school supplies. (Photo credit: Janelle Brady)
Dollarama in the Jane Finch mall, where many local families get their school supplies. (Photo credit: Janelle Brady)

The vaccines for COVID-19 cannot come soon enough and the Province again has gone back and forth a number of times. First, to say that all playgrounds were safe last week, then Friday that they were not and now, as of Sunday, that yes they are. This article has been re-written three times. It is hard to keep up. Playgrounds will stay open, but it is unfortunate that clear, targeted messaging and decision-making is not happening at the top of government. We are all confused and frustrated by the lack of leadership.

Alieka Charley is worried about what is going to happen on Monday. She is a mother of five and lives on Jane Street. After the delayed March break and the on-and-off lockdowns, like many parents, she is trying to figure out how to make e-learning work again. Her biggest worry was that the kids will fall behind if she is not able to buy the school supplies they need. Stores earlier in the week were not allowing the sale of school supplies due to the lock down.

Two of Alieka’s daughters, who are returning to virtual learning on April 19th. (Photo credit: Alieka Charley)
Two of Alieka’s daughters, who are returning to virtual learning on April 19th. (Photo credit: Alieka Charley)

The lack of coordination and haphazard way things are happening is taking a toll on people. The last lockdown the Province enacted came down so swiftly that neither parents or teachers had a chance to get prepared. For parents, this means not having a chance to buy the school materials their kids would need at the store.

Raising kids is already difficult. COVID-19 seems to be adding daily challenges. That is one more problem for parents that are already stressed out often, trying to work out how to work from home or how to deal with young children at home if they have to go out for work. “We need to keep them home all day, how are they going to do the work?”

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