British Columbia

Some B.C. parents anxious about start of school year if classrooms aren't reopened

Parents in B.C. are anxiously preparing a plan B for their kids come September as uncertainty looms around whether a second wave of COVID-19 will force schools to remain closed.

Province plans to reopen schools, but that could change with second wave of COVID-19

Natasha Jeshani's two kids have been at home for several months, leaving her to juggle working from home with parenting duties. (Submitted by Natasha Jeshani)

Parents in B.C. are preparing a plan B for their kids come September as uncertainty looms around whether a second wave of COVID-19 will force schools to remain closed.

While the province says the plan is for all students to return to classrooms this fall, Premier John Horgan has also said parents should have a backup plan just in case.

The prospect is causing anxiety for many parents who have, for months, been balancing working from home and caring for their children.

"We can't be everything. We can't be their teachers, their parents, and their friends through all of this," said Natasha Jeshani, mom of two and a vice-president at a recruiting company.

She says the demands at home have piled up during the pandemic, including making meals and preparing lesson plans for two kids. 

"What are we going to do when it comes to work and making sure that we're also providing what we need for our families to be economically safe?"

Natasha Jeshani, right, is worried that B.C. schools won't reopen in the fall for her two kids. (Submitted by Natasha Jeshani)

The provincial plan is for that to change this fall, with a full return to classrooms.

Horgan says the B.C. government will have updates on that plan as July winds down, but it will continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 up until September and is prioritizing a strong plan over a quick one.

Jovanka Jovanovic is also feeling overwhelmed.

"There's just no way you can have a plan B if you're anticipating that both parents are going to be working," said the mom who's also juggling working from home. "Just the idea of continuing to have children at home and be working full-time is just not going to work."

Education Minister Rob Fleming says he's hopeful for a return to school on September 8, but he'll follow the guidance of health officials. 

"It's very, very important for the wellbeing of kids and families to have schools restart in September," he said. "We're only going to do that if it's safe to do so."

With files from Zahra Premji


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