In an about face from the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District's back-to-school plan, parents will now be allowed to accompany children in Kindergarten to the first day of school.
Education Minister Tom Osborne says the Department of Education presented a plan to the chief medical officer and that the school district will be communicating the change to school administrators.
"We wanted to resolve the issue for parents. That is an important milestone for both parents and children attending kindergarten," Osborne said on Saturday.
However, the minister says it will be up to the school district and school administrators to decide what the protocol for parents will be on the first day of school.
He says it will be different at each school due to building layout, school size and the number of students in each school and kindergarten class.
"It's impossible to have a one size fits all," he said.
"In some cases there will be a welcoming sort of reception outside the building, then parents and children will be accepted into the gym in some places. In some cases, they'll be accepted into the classroom."
Osborne says the decision was reversed because it's an important milestone for families.
But when it comes to parents of children who have disabilities, who may want access to school on the first day, as well, Osborne says that issue hasn't been resolved, although it has been brought to his attention. "The challenge is the more bodies you put inside of the school at any given time, the more challenging it is for school administrators and the school themselves. But we are certainly looking at that. And if there's a way we can resolve that as well, we certainly will."
Osborne is also promising an update on school busing next week.
According to the NLESD's plan, more than 6,000 students are ineligible to take the bus to school this year as only 46 students will be allowed on each bus.
"We've been working very hard on resolving the school bus issue," he said.
Vanessa Baker, a mother from the Placentia area who started a petition calling for parents to be able to accompany kindergartners to the first day of school, calls the move "great news."
"It sounds like he has a fair plan made up, and that they're going to look into stipulations for each school and everyone comes out on top that way," she said.
Baker's petition had more than 8,000 signatures as of Saturday.
"It was good to have support behind me to get our voices heard, and obviously it worked out," she said.
Baker says the decision gives her peace of mind, and that being able to attend the first day of school with her 4-year-old son, Spencer, will set him up to have a good experience in school.
"He's a shy kid, and so I'm really glad to be able to ease him into it."