Teachers 'scratching their heads' as high school students head back to class just weeks before summer vacation: union

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All high school students are heading back to class full-time Monday as Montreal and Laval return to COVID-19 orange alert levels.

With just weeks left in the school year, students and parents will need to adjust yet again to resumption of extracurriculars, and the return to daily in-person classes.

“I do not understand why we would have to change it up with two and a half weeks left,” said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT).

Yetman says that schools will need to adjust their facilities to accept a greater volume of students.

“There are a lot of things to consider here since classrooms have been set up for half-sizes,” she said.

“Even the logistics of adding in new desks, putting in chairs and reorganizing basically your whole classroom to accommodate (more students) with two and a half weeks left of school … I think that it doesn't make very much sense.”

CTV News reached out to Quebec’s education ministry for comment but did not immediately receive a response.

School environments make up 26 per cent of active outbreaks in the province, the second-largest share of total outbreaks in Quebec, behind workplaces.

While about 1,000 active cases remain in school environments, infections have been gradually declining in recent weeks as teachers and students receive vaccinations.

Currently, 45 per cent of youth between 12 to 17 years old have either received a first dose of the vaccine or made an appointment to receive it.

Still, Yetman says she’d rather the education ministry keep measures tighter while many in Quebec await their second dose.

“Students are being vaccinated, but they aren't fully vaccinated yet,” she said. “So of course, teachers are scratching their heads. Why would we do this for two and a half weeks?”

“We feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel. So, let's not darken that light by having some sort of outbreak in a school.”

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