Quebec teachers’ union cautious about returning to the classroom

By Michael Boriero - Local Journalism Initiative
Quebec teachers’ union cautious about returning to the classroom

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge assured Quebecers last week during a press conference that schools are on track to reopen Jan. 17, but teachers’ unions have expressed concerns about the government’s return plan.

Quebec Provincial Association Of Teachers (QPAT) President Heidi Yetman told The Record that there are many issues the government has yet to address properly throughout the entire pandemic. She remains dumbfounded by the lack of action over air quality in schools.

“It’s really the whole thing about ventilation that has just become almost a joke to me. The fact that we haven’t done anything, it’s been almost two years, we really haven’t made any improvements, I don’t think, in schools in terms of ventilation,” said Yetman.

According to Roberge, 50,000 carbon dioxide detectors were distributed to schools last week, with another 40,000 coming in January and February. There are also hundreds of air exchangers available upon request. But Yetman wonders if detectors are really helpful.

“I was just talking to a union leader this morning and teachers are starting to take pictures of their carbon dioxide indicators in their classroom to show that it’s way above 1,000 PPM, so what are we doing about it? A detector doesn’t change the ventilation issue,” she said.

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