Drainville statements “bluster and bombast”, school board chair says

Drainville statements “bluster and bombast”, school board chair says
Quebec Minister of Education Bernard Drainville gestures as he speaks to the media on Wednesday, August 23, 2023, at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Francis Vachon.

By William Crooks

Local Journalism Initiative


Minister of education Bernard Drainville has come out recently with statements on a possible cellphone ban in schools and a “return to normal” curriculum because the “pandemic is over”. The Record spoke with Michael Murray, chairperson of the Eastern Townships School Board (ETSB), for comment.

A return to normal curriculum?

Speaking to journalists in Drummondville Aug. 30, Drainville said, “The pandemic is over. My goal was to return to normal as quickly as possible, to resume teaching the full curriculum.”

“The consequences of the pandemic are still with us,” Murray began, and Drainville himself has been deploring the loss of learning caused by pandemic measures. The idea that schooling will immediately and completely return to pre-pandemic status is “wishful thinking”, Murray insisted.

Murray said the ETSB, starting last spring, has already reinstituted extra-curricular activities, “which the students really appreciate”, back to their pre-pandemic levels. Students look forward to meeting their friends and getting back to sports, dance, and drama, not more homework, Murray added.

Murray emphasized that the ETSB is trying to provide as normal an environment as possible, but you cannot just “snap your fingers” and erase the past two years. “[Drainville] has stumbled from one pitfall to another, making these declarations over the past few months,” Murray said.

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