Back to normal has been anything but.
School closures, constant illness, cancelled busses, staff shortages, absent teachers, and a lack of transparency have forced families to make impossible choices to sacrifice opportunity, support, or money because schools have not been made safe enough to attend.
Below are stories from real families that show the reality of what has happened to Ontario's schools.
My nine-year-old daughter is currently in her third year of virtual school. Her Grannie, with whom she shares a very special bond, is immunocompromised.
To keep my family safe, I have had to drop my work hours (and income) by 25%...As a sole parent, the loss of income year after year is a heavy financial burden.
The government has not stepped in to make any improvements to schools; in fact – they did the very opposite. In our particular school, we did not see any evidence of additional air purifiers being provided or used despite hearing constant chatter about the alleged ‘improved ventilation'.
This is absolute hell, and no one seems to care. There’s nothing my family can do to keep ourselves safe anymore, except remove ourselves from society as much as possible.
My daughter doesn’t have a choice. She can not wear a mask to protect herself so it was send her to school to get sick with COVID 19 or give up my job/income to stay home with her and no education.
I shouldn’t have to be an expert in education law to ensure my child’s human right to a safe education are met.
My mother is a diabetic and my father has health issues; we had to make the decision to pull my child from school because my support network (my mom and dad) are vulnerable, and a Covid infection could do serious harm to them.
It’s not fair for parents to be put in the position of having to decide between their child’s health (And the health of their immediate family, who the child could also infect with an illness) and the benefits of in-person education. It’s unacceptable.
My child’s initial Covid infection wasn’t “that bad,” but since then, he’s been more susceptible to every illness, and he gets sicker each and every time. His body needs to heal, but it can’t keep up to the amount of virus out there.
I send my kid to school every day wondering if this is the day I will regret; the day where he gets COVID again and doesn’t recover.