14 per cent of students expected to return to West Quebec School Board schools

Primary schools in Quebec are reopening next week during the COVID-19 pandemic, including those just across the river in the Outaouais region

Dawn Moore won’t be sending her kids back to class, saying “it’s not a good decision for our family at this time to have the kids go back to school.”

She is concerned about the Quebec Government’s decision to reopen schools.

“This is not a solution to me, this feels like experimenting with our children to see whether or not herd immunity is going to work out, without really giving a plan for working parents that’s actually going to be viable for families.”

And she’s not the only parent concerned about plans to reopen schools. According to the West Quebec School Board, only 14 per cent of parents will be sending their children to school when they reopen next week.

Western Quebec School Board chair Alain Guy says “the minister of education and the government of Quebec has decided that they will reopen, and we have to trust that they are consulting with Quebec public health that this is safe to do.”

Guy says the schools are making adjustments to protect students and teachers, “the school board have developed many measures and protocols, and directives will be put in place once the students are in our schools.”

Those measures include:

  • Fewer students in class, with a maximum of 15 students
  • Desks spaced at least 2 metres apart
  • Washing hands frequently
  • Staggered Recess
  • Hand Sanitizers installed
  • Rules regarding protective equipment for teachers (Kindergarten and special needs teachers will wear non-medical masks; optional for all other teachers)

Heidi Yetman of QPAT, the teachers’ union that represents English teachers in Quebec, says that’s not good enough.

“We’re calling this the non-plan, because basically what they’ve done is they’ve announced the opening of schools and have given all of the responsibilities to the school boards - that’s a huge responsibility, for people that are professionals in education but not professionals in health.”

For now, Moore will keep her children at home when schools reopen,

“I don’t want to send my kids to school just to get them out of the house. I want to send them to school knowing that they’ll be safe and they’ll be learning stuff.”