SMP Law and the Debate of Returning Kids to School


Parents that are separated or divorced can struggle with decisions regarding their children and it is not uncommon for parents to require court assistance to resolve decisions. As the beginning of the school year looms close, everyone is wondering the same thing – what happens now as children go back to school? Will the COVID-19 cases soar? Will we end up with a second wave, even worse than what we have seen? Will we end up being in lock down again?

Parents are facing some tough decisions as to whether to send their children back to school. In a recent case in the courts on August 25, 2020, the judge highlights how cases that are showing up in the courts are dealing with parents not agreeing about whether to send their children back to school. In this case, the parents were disagreeing on whether the child should return to school and the judge determined that the child should resume in person schooling based on the overall assessment that the Ontario Government has determined that children are safe to be in the classroom and it is time to create some type of new normal, given COVID-19 will not be disappearing anytime soon.

In the decision, the judge considered will the child or anyone in the home be at an unacceptable risk of harm and found in this case that was not a concern. The day before, in another case on August 24, 2020, the judge found that there would be a greater risk sending the children to school given their health concerns and the judge ruled to keep the children at home for school.

Every case is dependent on the facts of the situation but one thing remains the same – when you decide to go to court it is no longer you deciding what is best for your children, it is now the judge deciding for you and your family what is best. It goes without saying (but I will say it anyways!), it is always best for everyone, particularly for the children if parents can compromise in some way to a mutually agreeable decision.

Here are some suggestions to consider if you and your ex partner are disagreeing on the return to school:

1) Can you agree to try an approach and revisit it in a month rather than be set on one way or another?

2) Can you support each other in the home? For example, is there a way to assist each other in childcare?

3) Can you enlist the help of extended family members?


SMP Law is always here to help if you have any questions. Contact us anytime at SMP Law to help SiMPlify your legal matter at 905-565-9494 or email if you have any questions or would like to book an appointment to meet and discuss your situation and how we can help.


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