Hybrid classes not an option for Quebec school boards: education minister

Quebec's education minister had a very clear message for the school boards Wednesday -- hybrid classes for high school students are not an option.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said all high school students must be back in class full-time, a decision met with protests from students, their families and their teachers.

As of Monday, students in Secondary 3, 4 and 5 were expected back in class full-time.

Some English-language school boards decided to keep a hybrid model – until Roberge said they couldn't.

"This is, in fact, mandatory, and it doesn't matter which school board, service centre or private school, each kid has the right to go to school every day," he said. 

The English Montreal School Board posted a statement to its website, saying it has agreed to go forward with this plan where possible. It also noted that six schools currently following a hybrid model will follow that through to the end of the academic year. 

All Secondary 3, 4 and 5 students at the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board are returning to school, full-time, in-person as of next Tuesday, April 6, a spokesperson said.

Many pointed to issues with the new plan. 

"There are logistical challenges for some levels to go back to full-time learning in April. It doesn't make a great deal of sense," said Russell Copeman, president of the Quebec English School Boards Association. 

Students at Heritage Regional High School on Montreal's South Shore expressed their dissatisfaction, staging what they termed a walk out. 

"We aren't a game to be played, we're not lab rats. Our lives matter," said protest organizer Desreen Howell. "We could catch COVID and have no choice. And the government, rather than doing what's best for the students or the teachers, is doing what will line their pocket."

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