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A friend of mine, who is a native speaker of US English, used this expression while speaking:

All the parents are busy right now. They are discussing a lot of stuff. They are clearly going to be a while.

What does this expression mean? Is this suggesting that they were going to be late or would take more time?

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"It is going to be a while" or "it will be a while" both mean that something will take a relatively long amount of time.

Other examples:

It is going to be a while before dinner is ready, so can I get you something to drink?

The kids are going to be a while finishing up their schoolwork, so I have time to watch my TV show.

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