Is Quebec ready to reopen schools?

The association representing Quebec’s English school boards say they’ll decide if and when their schools reopen – after Premier Legault announced the deadlines of May 11 in Quebec and May 19 in Montreal. Sharon Yonan-Renold reports.

By Sharon Yonan-Renold and CityNews staff

MONTREAL (CITYNEWS) – Some of Quebec’s elementary schools might not fill up by May 11 or May 19. The association representing the nine English school boards across the province say they will decide if and when each school will reopen, despite the Quebec Government’s directives.

“If we’re going to be essentially babysitters so the economy can reopen, we want to be assured that we have the necessary protections to feel safe,” said Michael Silcoff, Teacher at Westmount Park Elementary.

Premier Francois Legault announced Monday elementary schools would reopen on May 11 around the province and May 19 in the Montreal area.

RELATED: ‘What do we do with the kids?’ Experts say child care needed in reopening plans

The association representing Quebec’s English school boards said Friday they aren’t rushing to that deadline. “This hastily announced plan by the government has had the effect of significantly raising anxiety and stress levels among teachers and parents in particular, as well as the general population. We believe that local school boards are best placed to determine when and under what conditions schools and centres should open.”

A statemen that has come as a relief to school staff like Michael Silcoff, who teaches of special needs children. “Many kids need to be fed or they need for example, to be helped out of a sweater. Keeping a two meter distance is Frankly impossible under those circumstances.”

Many parents and school staff voiced opposition to the May deadline set by the government, with over 280-thousand signing a petition demanding schools remain closed until September.

Immunization expert Dr. Jorg Fritz says the fear shared is backed by science. “A German study tracked in almost about 4000 people, their viral count. It shows in this study that as soon as children have the virus, it can replicate reproduce. It raises the possibility that children as soon as they are out in the population maybe can infect other people.”

A risk that is weighing heavy on the minds of staff getting ready to go back to school. “We’re still seeing outbreaks. We don’t have the situation in the nursing homes under control yet. Quebec isn’t there yet,” said Silcoff.

The plan to reopen schools will follow the provinces’ plan to reopen retail, construction and manufacturing businesses early next week.

Top Stories

Top Stories