Parents need some hint of the path forward this fall

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It has been a year of learning virtually for most students, or is that virtually learning? These are confounding times and the melange of information forthcoming from school boards, the province and the health unit seem to lack the congruency parents need to chart their way through these troubled waters.

Are the province’s children going to be returning to school as normal this fall? Will Island students have the choice of attending classes virtually come September as announced by the premier, or was that another “aspirational” pronouncement in line with the vaccination schedules issued off-the-cuff by Premier Doug Ford?

The lack of any clearly defined plan emanating from official sources, or worse yet, contradictory signposts being erected by different branches of officialdom, is frustrating for parents who are expected to navigate the weeks ahead. This falls far short of what parents need, let alone what they want.

While it is fair to say that these are the most untravelled of times for each of us and there is little in the way of precedence upon which to chart a course, it behooves our various levels of government to get their collective acts together and communicate clearly and effectively what is likely to lie on the road ahead.

The economy is poised to roar back into life, and given the many challenges already facing many business sectors when it comes to securing skilled labour even before the pandemic, those challenges will likely return to bedevil the economy manifold. Placing increased uncertainty for childcare on parents in the workforce will not help meet those challenges.

Parents have struggled valiantly through this past year; they deserve some semblance of solid ground upon which to construct their family’s plans going forward into the new school year.

It is up to the leaders of our province to lay that foundation by coordinating with the both the health units and the school boards to put out a coherent and dependable plan.

Affordable child care is a huge issue for many parents in the workforce and any sensible plan to bolster the economy and ensure it is not hamstrung by a lack of a safe harbour for their school age children.