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Families pondering what to do, with many cancelling trips

With spring break starting on Monday, parents are looking at how to approach the next two weeks amid the COVID-19 crisis.

With spring break starting on Monday, parents are looking at how to approach the next two weeks amid the COVID-19 crisis.

“I’ve definitely been hearing from a lot of families,” said Farrah Simpson, who has three children, ranging from an infant to a Grade 4 student. “Most families I talk to now are cancelling their spring-break trips just to be responsible. Everyone’s wanting to do their part.”

Some sporting events are being cancelled, which is affecting youngsters, said Simpson, who is filling the gap by holding a kids’ sports party this weekend.

Simpson said she has heard from some parents that they are considering not having their children’s friends at their homes.

“There’s a little bit of fear out there, for sure,” she said.

“I think there’s just a lot of unknown right now.”

The thought that schools might remain closed after the break has occurred to her, she said, even while memories of last fall’s three-week strike by unionized support workers in the Saanich School District are still fresh.

“We went through a strike already and had our kids home, and now we could possibly be looking at a similar situation if our spring break is extended.”

Lisa McNeill, who has six children ages two to 18, said she is happy to have her children home for a while, rather than at school, where she worries there is a greater chance of germs being passed around.

“We don’t do a lot of camps and things, anyway, during spring break. We spend a lot of time outdoors.”

The District of Saanich said in a statement that there are no plans to cancel any spring-break camps at this point, but participants and their guardians are encouraged to keep personal-hygiene practices in mind, such as frequent handwashing, keeping a two-metre distance and avoiding touching others.

The Royal B.C. Museum, another popular spring-break destination, said it has cancelled a number of its programs, including World Water Day on March 22, Live at Lunch: Orcas on April 1 and daily gallery and behind-the-scene tours.

The museum has also stepped up cleaning and sanitization procedures and has added hand-sanitizing stations in the lobby.

jwbell@timescolonist.com