Nova Scotia school closures especially difficult for low-income families
Parents forced to choose whether to work or stay home with their children
Low-income families in Nova Scotia are going to have some difficult decisions to make this week after the province cancelled classes for public school students.
For many parents it means either going to work or staying home and potentially risking losing a job to look after the children.
"I'm not equating education with childcare but if children cannot be in schools because schools aren't safe and mom has to be at her job in order to put food on the table, where is mom's child or children going to be? Who is going to be looking after them to know they're safe? That's really the issue," said Sheri Lecker, executive director of Adsum for Women and Children.
Day camps not affordable
Lecker said she has not had a chance to speak with the families she works with at Adsum since the province made its announcement to close school for an undetermined amount of time over the weekend.
She said many of the day camps being offered by organizations and businesses are not affordable for low-income households. One of the more affordable Monday day camp options at the George Dixon centre was full by Sunday evening.
"If you are working at minimum wage you don't have that kind of money put aside and you can't free up that kind of money to pay for a program tomorrow or the day after," Lecker said.
"It also comes at a time of year when many families are already stressed with Christmas coming and people worrying how to provide and give their kids a holiday, something special. They're already stressed about that."