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caption: Peace Arch Park reportedly is the scene of lots of weddings this summer featuring Canadian-American couples seeking to ease their border crossing status.
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Peace Arch Park reportedly is the scene of lots of weddings this summer featuring Canadian-American couples seeking to ease their border crossing status.
Credit: NW News Network, file photo

A Seattle family moves to Canada so kids can attend school in-person

Robin (who asked that her last name not be used), mother of a fifth-grader and a kindergartner in Seattle, told KUOW’s Ann Dornfeld about moving her family to Canada.

"My husband is Canadian. We decided to use what we refer to as our 'escape hatch' from this country.

Our 10-year-old has autism, is on the spectrum, and our 5-year-old has ADHD and is hard of hearing. I’m a teacher, teaching remotely, and my husband is in tech, remotely tech-ing full-time.

I was prepared to do this. I was prepared to do the online learning thing until [Seattle Public Schools] published the schedule – the outline that they were going to have [online] school from 7:55 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon. That was my come-to-Jesus moment.

There is no way I am going to get a child with autism to sit in front of [video meetings] for that long and also do all the jobs that we need to keep a roof over our kids’ heads.

Also, my younger son, who’s five, and who’s hard-of-hearing, knowing what a challenge [video meetings] were going to be for him and not really getting a great answer for those children whose specific need is in contrast with remote learning – no answers from anyone, ever. That was part of it, too, knowing that he might never get that speech development back.

[Moving to Canada] is a drastic step, but when I really looked at what are my kids’ lives going to be like if they stay here for the next year, that was not a good quality of life.

My husband had to drive up with our two sons Sunday night so they could quarantine in Canada for two weeks before they’re allowed to attend school. It’s 100% in-person, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., because British Columbia has a fraction of the Covid rate that we have here.

Before they attend school, I will have to live in a bedroom for two weeks [in quarantine]. My family will bring me food.

Moving is going to cost us about $20,000. It is only because we are selling our house that we are able to do this.

I have a master's degree in teaching. I am literally part of the system. And it's hard for me to figure out what to do. I cannot imagine being in the same situation and being in a place of less privilege. It's horrifying.

My parents are elderly and live here, and I don’t know when we’re going to see them again. That is really traumatic, knowing that we are leaving behind family. In the regular world, that family would be two and a half hours away, but we are not in that world.

And I don’t know when that world is coming back."