“It is tough, I’m not going to lie,” parents still trying to find new normal amid one-day strikes

Admin of Barrie mom's group weighs in on challenges finding alternatives

As a province-wide one-day strike of all four teachers’ unions looms, many parents are already practiced at finding alternatives. It is taking a toll on their kids’ routines however, according to one mom’s group head.

Meaghan Kennedy is the admin of the Barrie Moms Group on Facebook, and with three young children of her own, she knows the struggle in finding alternatives to school. “We’re trying different things quite a bit,” Meaghan told Barrie 360, “there’s different camps out there, different outlets, but I can only go to those places so many times. They’re crazy during strike days as it is.”

Related: All four teachers’ unions holding mass one-day strike February 21st

While Meaghan says she has been able to keep the kids busy, they’re not busy enough. “My husband works straight nights, so keeping three tiny people quiet during the day is extremely difficult. The baby’s not so bad, but the two definitely need more than I can give with the baby around.” Meaghan adds her middle child is feeling these strikes the most. “The 7-year-old, not so bad, but the 5-year-old is having a really rough time figuring out what day is a school day,” she said, “it’s a little confusing, and routines are really important for him, especially being his first year of school.”

“We’re kind of getting a routine at home now,” she added, “but it is tough, I’m not going to lie, trying to find things for them to keep occupied every single day.”

Related: Province Offering Money to Parents Impacted By Educator Job Action

Meaghan adds that the funds offered by the provincial government don’t quite cut it. “I’m not 100% sure if its taking the edge off. I think it’s definitely helping when I need to get everybody out.”

On Friday, February 21st, all four of the province’s teachers’ unions will be on the picket line; Members of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), The Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA) and the Association des Enseignantes et des Enseignants Franco-Ontariens (AEFO) will be picketing over issues including class sizes, all-day kindergarten, online learning, benefits and salary.