A Minden father says he’s relieved kids will be heading back to school next Monday. Alex Frybort is a single father of two boys aged 4 and 7. The pair attend Archie Stouffer Elementary School.

Frybort says the pandemic has been hard on everyone, but he feels children are getting the picture that there is a long list of things more important than school.

“One thing my I know my older child has learned is that alcohol and marijuana stores are more important than him going to school,” he says. “Over the holidays I went to buy some wine for dinner, and he asked me why the liquor store was open. Children are learning that some things are more important.”

Both of Frybort’s boys play hockey and he is still having a hard time figuring out why the sport is being cancelled.

“Again, it’s these kids who are paying the price and everything is being taken away from them,” adds Frybort. “Maybe it’s because they aren’t old enough to ask questions.”

He says hockey is something his family loved to do, and it was a big part of their routine.

Frybort is hoping this is the last time schools will be closed.

“I remember doing four weeks of home-schooling last year and it definitely tested the patience and all of the mental abilities I had but we got through it. It wasn’t easy but it’s not easy for anyone. The schools need to be the last thing to close and the first to reopen,” he says.

Frybort adds the unfortunate thing is that the kids are almost used to it.

“My youngest son, really all he knows is the pandemic life. My oldest son, I honestly don’t know if he will remember school life before this. That’s all these kids know. I don’t know how much we are teaching our kids. I guarantee they have fallen behind,” he says.

Despite Frybort’s frustration, he says so many people have suffered greatly during the pandemic.

“The losses we have had are nothing compared to what other people have gone through. I still consider myself grateful that our pains are minimal. I’m not complaining. I am speaking like a regular parent. All we can do is keep rolling with it.”

The Ford government has been under pressure from pediatric and parent groups not to extend the shutdown.

Earlier this month the government said schools would remain closed to in-person learning an extra two weeks in order to give more time for people to get vaccines and boosters as well as deliver air filters and N95 masks to schools around the province.