Parents continue to call for Quebec schools to shift to virtual learning

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By Iman Kassam, CTV News Montreal

Parents have taken to Facebook to swap stories of what they call weak COVID-19 protocols in their kids' schools, and the complaints are all too familiar -- poor ventilation, students not wearing masks or not practicing distancing.

One parent started an online group asking others to keep their children home in protest.

"My ultimate goal is to be able to get online learning accessible to all parents and children who desire," said Myriam Boyer.

She'd like to see smaller class sizes by reserving in-class learning for the students who need it, which is what the Kahnawake Education Centre is doing. It announced that all classes are moving online.

"it is to ensure at this point in time and take that extra protective measure to make sure that we do not have a lot of bodies in the schools," said Robin Delaronde, the director of education at the centre. "So, to eliminate that congestion."

Starting Monday, high school classes in Kahnawake will be online, and the following week, elementary schools will begin the transition to virtual learning. In-person lessons will still be an option for students who need to be in class.

A teachers' association is echoing health concerns that arise from having students in the classroom.

"The government has put down a whole bunch of rules for the public," said Heidi Yetman, the president of the Quebec provincial association of teachers. "...And yet teachers are in classrooms that are poorly ventilated with up to 32-35 students with no masks and no social distancing."

She says teachers are exhausted and overwhelmed.

"I'm really worried that schools will close, not because of COVID, but because teachers will not be in the building," Yetman said.

She says the only way to keep schools open is to move more students to online learning.

And parents say they plan to keep putting pressure on the government to make sure their concerns are heard.  

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