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'The greatest stress': Vancouver school lottery, waitlists put before, after school care in limbo

Last Updated Feb 27, 2020 at 8:15 am PST

FILE (iStock photo)

Parents of kindergarten-aged children in Vancouver aren't just scrambling to find a spot in schools for their kids

Parents are also stressing about before and after school care for their little ones

One parent says without being able to apply for before and after school programs, his son likely won't get into one

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Vancouver parents who found out their kids won’t be going to kindergarten at the school closest to their home after a recent placement lottery are bracing themselves for more bad news.

Without knowing which school their child will be going to, before and after school care is up in the air.

“We don’t know which waitlists to get him onto because each before and after school program generally serves a specific school,” says Aaron Donovan, whose son is second-last on a waitlist for Emily Carr Elementary.

“The parents that know where their kids are going are going to be much higher up on the waitlist,” he says.

The results of the Vancouver School Board’s placement lottery last week frustrated many parents, who are now in limbo, waiting to find out which school their child will be going to.

Donovan believes without being able to apply for before and after school care programs, his son likely won’t get into one.

“They’re almost all full already,” he adds. “And that’s actually the part that’s causing us the greatest stress. We can manage getting somewhere else in the city if need be for drop-off, you know, but schools get out at — I don’t know for sure — like in the 2 o’clock or 3 o’clock range and, you know, my wife and I work till 5.”

Without before and after school care, Donovan says he and his wife might be forced to scale back on their hours at work.

“We’ll be scrambling, getting on the waitlist late and having to potentially go across town, which is hard to plan around,” he says. “We hear a lot about what’s going on with childcare for younger kids, you know, the toddler age, but before and after school care is also a big hole in the system.”

The province has said it’s the Vancouver School Board’s fault that schools, especially ones close to downtown, are so packed.

Editor’s Note: We’ve removed reference to how many children are on a waitlist pending clarification.