New school year, new worries

For children too young to be vaccines yet, masks are their only defence

For the second year in a row, schools across Nova Scotia will be reopening with a mask mandate — but, unfortunately, it may not last for long.

With the province scheduled to hit Phase 5 as early as Sept. 15, barely one week into the 2021/2022 school year, I’m worried about what a mask-free world is going to look like for our children under 12.

I know, I know — the vaccine wasn’t even available to most parents of school-aged children until the last school year was almost over. (My husband and I had our first doses May 19, and second doses June 28.) Since being vaccinated wasn’t an option during much of the last school year, it didn’t seem as terrifying to have all these unvaccinated children (and adults) walking around, interacting with each other.

But now that vaccines are here, available for everyone except our children under 12, the thought of sending them off to school unprotected is unnerving. Combined with potentially removing face mask requirements one week in, and you’ve got a perfect storm for worried, anxious parents.

FACE MASKS FOR KIDS UNDER 12

True, I could “force” my kids to wear masks at school even when they’re not required. But I can just imagine how well that would go over. 

“My friends’ parents don’t make them wear masks!” Well, just because your friends jump off a bridge — er, heighten their COVID risk, doesn’t mean you … Ugh, I’m already exhausted, just thinking of the arguments.

My kids (aged nine and 11) are excellent about wearing their masks. No, they don’t always want to, but they wear them without complaint when we’re out and about. They wear masks on lanyards. They wear disposable masks and reusable masks. They stuff masks in pockets and backpacks and jackets, so they always have a mask when they need one.

#MaskLife

But if Nova Scotia enters Phase 5 and masks are “recommended but not required,” are they really going to choose to wear them? Probably not. 

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Surviving the first big slumber party

Everything was going great … until it wasn’t.

I was washing the dishes when a wide-eyed child appeared in my kitchen, motioning to the backyard where six little girls had all been playing nicely just moments earlier.

“You’d better get out there,” she told me darkly. “People are sad.”

Um, what?! 

I hurried out back to find tween turmoil. Some were crying, some had stormed off, and some were comforting the ones who were upset. What happened? No idea. I couldn’t understand everyone’s tears and shouts.

Nervously, I called my daughter over and hissed “We need to do something!” She was wailing, too, worried that her very first slumber party was ruined before it had really begun. 

Thankfully, she’d planned a scavenger hunt, with scribbled marker clues leading her guests to discover which movie they were going to watch. The distraction calmed everyone down and they forgot about their squabble.

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Fun on the Fundy Shore

Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore

Treasure hunting with Secret Nova Scotia

Thanks to Secret Nova Scotia for inviting us on a media tour! As always, all opinions and hyper children are my own.

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It’s a gorgeous, sunny Sunday morning, perfect for cruising along the Glooscap Trail. I’m not sure where we’re going yet, and the best part is that I don’t need to know — it’s all part of the adventure.

I’m being chauffeured around in Secret Nova Scotia’s tour vehicle along with my son, daughter and sister for the “Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore” tour. 

I never thought of taking a guided tour of places less than an hour from my house, but I loved the idea of experiencing a bunch of different spots without figuring out a schedule and packing a day’s worth of lunches and snacks. We’ll be spending six hours eating and adventuring, and I won’t have to lift a finger.

So excited to spend the day adventuring on Secret Nova Scotia’s Tasty Treasure Hunting on the Fundy Shore tour.

“When you go on a tour with us, you’re going to get special perks you wouldn’t get if you visited these places on your own,” explains Tanya Conrad, Secret Nova Scotia’s Chief Operating Officer and one of our tour guides. 

Our very first stop is one of those “I’ve-always-wanted-to-go-here!” spots. Our family has driven by the Great Village Antiques Exchange many times on our way to Advocate Harbour, but never stopped to explore the massive historic building. Today’s finally the day!

Our daughter answering a banana ‘phone’ at Great Village Antiques Exchange
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