Why schools are closed during the Canada Winter Games Pipa News

Why schools are closed during the Canada Winter Games Pipa News

Some parents on Prince Edward Island are questioning the decision to close schools for two weeks during the Canadian Winter Games.

All schools on the island close from February 18th to March 5th, mainly to free up buses to transport athletes from one place to another.

Morgan Callin-Longden, who works full-time and has a son in the school system, said she was lucky to find childcare but those extra days would cost her extra money.

She also says all the unexpected breaks since the pandemic began have pushed some kids back.

“With everything we’ve just been through, and this year the kids are finally getting a normal year, and then we have Fiona … I think maybe this year would have been a time to re-evaluate and do something different with that the children don’t miss this and that. The parents don’t have to stress about it.”

It is common practice for communities hosting the Winter Games to close schools. And because this year’s games coincide with the March holidays and Islanders’ Day, the students at the PEI are just four extra days away.

Wayne Carew, president of the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society, said the inconvenience to parents is worth the overall economic benefits and fun the event brings.

Wayne Carew, president of the 2023 Canada Winter Games Host Society, says it’s a great opportunity for students to see top athletes in action. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

“If you think about the economic impact, 3,600 athletes and coaches coming from about 1,100 communities will have the opportunity to host the land here,” he said.

“What a great opportunity to showcase Prince Edward Island and show what Prince Edward Island is all about. These athletes will create opportunities for life and memories for life.”

We really need the buses and you can’t get the buses until the schools are closed. – Wayne Carew

He said the host association approached the school board when they were preparing their bid to host the Games nearly five years ago because they needed to show in the bid that the buses used to transport athletes to and from the various venues to would be available.

“We really need the buses, and you can’t really get the buses until the schools are closed,” he said.

In a statement, the Education Ministry said it released the 2022-2023 school calendar a year in advance to give parents notice as early as possible.

The statement went on to say that it is a priority to “protect a significant portion of the uninterrupted classroom time leading up to the Canada Games in January and February, which will have a positive impact on student learning.”

It is also important to give families, students and school staff time to get involved in the games.

But Callin-Longden said it was more important for her son, who has autism, to avoid another disruption to his schedule.

“He’s come a long way, but with all the breaks we’ve already had, we’ve seen him keep going backwards, so we have more dips to look forward to.”

Parent Morgan Callin-Longden says the students have had enough breaks in their school year. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

She said other parents she spoke to were still trying to figure out how to go about their task of finding childcare.

“I’m in a mothers group and we joked about starting our own day camp and taking turns, but I think it’s stressful for everyone,” she said.

“It’s really just unknown how people are getting along with these two weeks off. For those of us who have care, we are very grateful.”


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