Students in the Quebec region are finally back on the school benches this morning, but the start of the new school year is not going to be easy since several adjustments remain to be made over the next few days.
All schools in the capital were closed on Monday due to the storm. School service centers in the region do not yet have detailed data on absences in the ranks of their staff, but the situation does not look critical for the first days of school, it says.
However, the picture looks more complicated in daycare services. At the Première-Seigneuries service centre, several school principals have asked
the “collaboration of parents who have an alternative solution in order not to use the childcare service temporarily or to reduce the hours of attendance”.
The initiative aims to “prevent” the breakage of services”, explains the secretary general, Martine Chouinard.
Call to the community
In Lac-Saint-Jean, where schools were open yesterday, the Pays-des-Bleuets school service center wanted to be “proactive” by sending a “call to the community” on Friday, inviting parents to students and other people interested in doing “supervision of students or substitute teaching in the classroom”.
The school service center did not, however, need to resort to this solution of last resort on Monday, since less than a dozen employees were absent.
In general, the return to class “went very well under the circumstances,” said its director General, Patrice Boivin.
At the Syndicat de l'enseignement de la Jonquière, its president Nicole Émond also indicates that this first day of school went “pretty well”, even if the number of absent students was higher than usual.
Equipment eagerly awaited
Nevertheless, several adjustments remain to be made, it is underlined in the school network.
The N95 masks to be provided to teachers of special classes have not yet been delivered to schools.
The distribution of boxes of rapid tests, which will be given to each primary school student, will not take place until the end of the week or the beginning of next week in some places.
Students from have to fall back on pharmacy tests… which are still not available.
With no access to rapid tests, a student who has symptoms will have to self-isolate for at least five days. The scenario is then the same for all his family bubble.
At the Federation of Parents' Committees of Quebec, we also deplore the confusion surrounding the instructions for isolation in the event of symptoms. “We are very happy that the children are back in school, but we need much clearer instructions,” they say.
In the Quebec region, centers services sent parents Monday “simplified instructions” from the regional public health department, but parents are still confused after reading these instructions.
Cases of COVID-19 will also no longer be counted in schools, which will only identify the absence rate linked to the virus, twice a week. Parents will therefore not be informed when there are positive cases in their child's group.
Groups will no longer be systematically closed when there are at least two positive cases in a group, as was the case this fall.
Classes may however switch to online teaching when at least 60% of students are in isolation due to COVID-19.