More and more parents homeschooling or keeping their kids at home out of COVID concerns
Quebec has seen a spike in homeschooling registrations since the start of the year - out of 686 students registered since September, almost half of them - 314 - were signed up over the past two weeks alone.
So far, over 12,180 children are now being homeschooled. Quebec's health ministry said this represents about one per cent of all students in the school system, which has just over a million students in elementary and high schools. Nearly 6000 children were homeschooled during the entire school year last year.
Cheryl Cooperman's children in Grades 5 and 2 were kept at home last week and that's where they'll stay after getting a medical exemption for distance learning.
"We didn't think it was safe for our family," said Cooperman in an interview with CJAD 800. "Quebec is not making the right decision for safety in schools."
"Even though our school only had one identified case in the fall, my problem with it is that they haven't done mass testing and children are often asymptomatic. So who knows how many kids actually had COVID," said Cooperman,
Some students beng kept at home out of safety concerns
Several parents like Heshma Gangaram kept their children home last week out of concerns over safety and COVID.
Gangaram has two children in private elementary school but she's homeschooling on her own for now.
"Unfortunately there was a case in (my son's) school last week so we are, like, Thank god we didn't send them to school. And we're keeping them this week too just to be on the safe side," said Gangaram.
Jennifer Dorner kept her Grade 5 daughter home last week too. But her kids are now back in school - including her daughter in high school, though Dorner is not happy about it - she said she feels there aren't enough safeguards in place.
"Kids should have the option to stay home and do the online learning," said Dorner.
"They also had months to prepare to the switch to online learning again and they did nothing. I consider this a massive failure on the part of the education minister," said Cooperman.
The parents said they would have liked more online options and more measures such as smaller classes and masks for everyone.
"If there were changes in the school, I would feel better about sending them to school," said Cooperman.