It's a tough decision for parents: keep kids home to learn, or send them to school
SUDBURY -- It was another tough week for parents as they were given an option, once again, to choose between in-person or virtual classes for their children.
Parents had to decide by Wednesday of this week at the Rainbow School Board, which is still tabulating responses and figuring out next steps.
"Parents need to make an informed decision and it's really as basic as 'what's my comfort level," said director of education Norm Blaseg. "You need to be comfortable in doing whatever … that decision is, for that particular child and so we respect that and we're trying to provide them with an option."
Blaseg said they are still counting the responses and figuring out logistics. Of kids currently in school, there are slightly more than 100 that will be moving to virtual classes.
"Of all the ones that were virtual, prior to today, we have about 350 wanting to come back to in-person, and so it's about 3-to-1 in wanting to go back to in-person and it's probably because it's a daunting task to be in front of a screen for almost four hours a day," he said.
'The struggle is real'
One of those parents sending her children back to school is Stacy Pfeifer. She and her husband run a farm in Evansville and, with four school-aged children under the age of 11, she tells CTV News "the struggle is real."
"We decided to send them back to school because I can't be in four different places at the same time helping them as much as I would love to," Pfeifer said. "My five-year-old struggles with staying in front of the screen, he gets distracted, he wants to leave and play with his toys. Even though they are set up on in all of their own spots, they still need my help."
Pfeifer said running a farm and corralling the kids frequently led to "organized chaos" in her household.
"My older kids are dying to see their friends and so to help with their mental health, we need to send them back," she said.
This busy mom says she knows there will be an adjustment period as they get set to return for a Nov. 12 start date. There are many families, however, sticking to the status quo.
Catherine Joyce lives in Kagawong and will be keeping her three school-aged children at home until at least the Feb. 8 assessment date.
Keeping kids at home
"We decided back in August that we would keep all of the kids home with us," Joyce said. "We are both at home for the time being and so we have the ability to stay home with our kids and we thought it would alleviate some of the pressure on the school system."
"Luckily I have four children so they kind of socialize with each other, they've been on isolating play dates with other families that have stayed home. They do have extracurricular activities so they do still get their socialization. It's just so we could stay home and work with them," she added.
It's a similar story over at Lynnette Deforge's house, except she's sending her children to school.
"My kids are in school, they were in school in September and they're going to continue to stay in school," said Deforge. "We decided this, more-so, because of our youngest, the seven-year-old who really struggled with home-schooling."
"It was a tough one because we knew the kids were going to struggle with the whole mask thing, having to wear a mask in class, especially my youngest son, he's very active," she added. "If they get sick, we're down, too, and we own our own business. It's really hard when you own your own business."
Deforge said the kids are now doing great and she say no need to change the current formula.
Need to be comfortable
"You need to be comfortable in doing whatever it is that decision is for that particular child and so we respect that and we're trying to provide them with the option," said Blaseg.
He said there will be a lot to figure out in the coming days and classes may look different as they try to determine things like safety protocols while figuring out how much physical space they have with added students.
The next 'opt-in' or 'opt-out' date parents will get with the Rainbow board is in February.