N.S. parents getting anxious about uncertainty surrounding school in the fall
HALIFAX -- With no firm plan on what the new school year will look like in Nova Scotia, anxiety is growing for many parents.
The provincial government says a plan will be out by the end of the month, but some families and teachers say that's far too late for them.
The upcoming school year will no doubt look different.
"Everything seems to revolve around the school schedule," says Frank Proudfoot, a New Glasgow town councillor.
As a father of three, Proudfoot is one of many wondering just how different it will be.
The Nova Scotia government says that plan won't be made public until late July.
"As a councillor, I'm getting calls from constituents who are nervous about lining up daycare or childcare, and they have to do that stuff now because it may not be available later," Proudfoot says.
The Nova Scotia Teachers Union says late July is too late for both educators and families.
"We called for a release as early as possible," said NSTU president Paul Wozney. "We hoped the initial communication might go out mid-June."
Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill was not made available for an interview Wednesday, but he did take a meeting with a group of parents -- including Clare Bilek, who is the chair of the school advisory council at her children's school.
"The timeline of the end of July is unchanged," Bilek says. "They're still soliciting feedback and working on the plan. He did indicate the plan is full-time in September, but it's really what happens if there is another outbreak. What then? What are the triggers as you go down home learning, what technologies are needed, what efforts are being made to make sure that happens?"
On top of all that, there is speculation about what the new school year will look like, something that Bilek calls unproductive.
"We really need to know what is going on," Bilek said. "The government needs to be transparent to alleviate those anxieties and to make sure correct information is being shared in the public."
The NDP says the lack of information is making things difficult for many families -- but especially working mothers.
"What we’re seeing is women leaving the workforce and we’re seeing that increasingly now that there is complete uncertainty with what will happen in the fall," says Dartmouth South MLA Claudia Chender. "So, number one, people just need time to plan."
According to some families, time is running out.