One week into school, Manitoba parents feeling cautiously optimistic

Packing extra hand sanitizer and masks weren’t what Lana Kotyk had in mind when she thought of back-to-school six months ago, but now it’s become routine.

The Winnipeg parent had some anxiety before school started amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and what that meant for sending her son Kyle to Grade 4.

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Now, one week into the 2020 school year, she’s cautiously optimistic.

“Kyle’s been very excited. He’s happy to be back at school. He says there’s really cool masks at school, he’s happy to see his friends,” she said.

“We are just hoping and praying things go well, and so far so good.”

Kotyk’s son has adjusted to the new routines of school well but not all changes have been easy.

“He’s very disappointed in gym because they do a lot of talking instead of playing. He thinks it should be playtime instead of talking time. It’s not as fun as gym used to be. That’s upsetting for him,” she said. 

“He doesn’t like the fact he can’t get up at lunch and talk to his friends like he has in the past.”

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In Manitoba, multiple schools have had students test positive for COVID-19.

That has made Kotyk more mindful of her household cleaning.

“When I was watching the news yesterday it was one school so close to us. So it’s just a matter of time before it hits our school for sure. What’s scary is that they won’t tell us the grades and only the cohorts will know — I think all of us should know. Now not letting us know what grades there are, now we are wondering where in the school are they? Have they passed them in the hallways?”

Danielle Wollmann is another parent who had some fears heading into the first week of school.

She says the experience has been positive for her youngest going into Grade 4, her middle child into Grade 6 and her eldest in Grade 8.

“It went great. The kids were really happy to be at school. It went really well. It’s great for me because the kids have been home with me for the past six months so it feels really good to have the freedom to work a bit more and get errands done while they’re safe at school,” she said.

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Wollmann was nervous her kids would not like wearing the face masks all day but she says they have surprised her.

“My kids seem to be really happy as long as they have the designs on them that they love, they are happy to wear them. My son was running down the road and I asked him why he was still wearing his mask since you don’t have to wear it outside, but he liked that it’s a camo mask.”

One of her favourite parts about back to school is that it’s been allowing her to focus on her other responsibilities.

“It’s really good to have that time — freedom with them back to school — and really good for them to have that interaction with their friends again. It sounds like resess time is going great. They don’t seem to be bothered or hindered by the social distancing as much. It’s been a long six months of not seeing their friends as much as they would like to.”

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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