QPAT denounces Quebec’s plan to reopen schools

Record Staff

The Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT) is denouncing the Ministry of Education’s (MEES) lack of a plan to re-open schools that properly takes the safety of everyone into account and is repeating its view that school buildings should remain closed until the fall.
“Announcing a deadline two to three weeks away and then telling schools and school boards to do the rest is not a plan. It is nearly the end of that first week and the Ministry has not given more real answers in that time. Some schools and boards now only have one week left to plan everything,” said Heidi Yetman, President of QPAT in a recent press release..
Since the announcement on Monday, April 27, 2020 that elementary schools would be opening on May 11, 2020 in most of the province and on May 19, 2020 in the Greater Montreal area, QPAT has pushed the MEES to offer clear answers with regards to its plan. There has been little change in the MEES’s response as compared to its initial announcement and many questions remain unanswered.
Social distancing is unrealistic for younger children and 15 children in each classroom will make it impossible. In addition, implementing protocols such as proper handwashing will not happen in schools that have insufficient functioning equipment such as sinks or that are understaffed. The organization and coordination of transportation, particularly where schools share services, will prove to be a logistical nightmare. These are only a few of the issues that simply cannot be properly addressed in only one or two weeks.
“Schools will need to reopen but Quebec and the school system are not ready. We need to ensure the health and safety of our students and the adults that care for them. The Quebec government must reconsider its decision and delay the re-opening of schools until we are certain that the necessary conditions for this are in place”, concluded Yetman.
QPAT will continue to demand a better response from the MEES to carry out school re-opening in a more careful and considered way to be sure that schools are safe for everyone. QPAT also remains committed to working constructively to support student learning at home that is equitable for all students and that is sensitive to their needs.

Published in the Monday, May 4 edition of The Record.

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