Moving class outside: Quebec schools finding creative solutions in quest for fresh air

Staff and students at Honoré Mercier school in St-Leonard consider themselves the lucky ones: at least their school’s windows open.

“We’re trying to do our best, making sure that… the kids do get that fresh air,” principal Sonia Marotta told CTV News.

“Because it’s also a case of ‘healthy body, healthy minds.’” 

Now the kids are getting a new measure—gym class outside. 

Their school is one of many that have come up with creative solutions to get as much well-circulated air as possible, in school buildings whose ventilation systems may be less than perfect.

Pierre Elliot Trudeau School in Gatineau has even moved some of the lessons outside.

“We don’t have actual outdoor classrooms, but we thought maybe we could make ‘outdoor classrooms,’” said principal David McFall. 

Still, this isn’t the long-term solution that the Legault government’s political opposition has been asking for.

“I really hope that (Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois) Roberge will actually finally hear the teachers, the parents and the school asking for more money to upgrade the ventilation systems, because eventually they won’t be able to keep the kids outside because of the winter,” said Marwah Rizqy, the Liberal education critic. 

She wants $50 million dedicated to modernizing ventilation systems in Quebec schools.

The CAQ government insists it’s spent $2.3 billion on school renovations in 2019 and that ventilation systems should be up to par.

Rizqy says that was before COVID-19, and the requirements have changed.

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