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Parents in court demanding Quebec offer remote learning option for all who want it

Students enter the Philippe-Labarre Elementary School in Montreal, on Thursday, August 27, 2020. Thousands of Quebec students return to class in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL — A lawyer representing a group of Quebec parents is in court today trying to compel the province’s Education Department to provide an online learning option for all families who want it.

Only children with serious medical conditions or who live with someone at risk of severe complications from COVID-19 are able to get an exemption from physically attending elementary and high school classes.

Human rights lawyer Julius Grey told Quebec Superior Court Justice Frederic Bachand the decision to send one’s child to class during the COVID-19 pandemic is an extremely private and personal one.

He’s asking for a safeguard order allowing parents access to online courses for their children immediately, before the case is argued on its merits at a later date.

Grey says the measure would not be difficult to implement, since the government is already offering online courses for students with a medical exemption.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault responded to the lawsuit today, saying the province is facing a teacher shortage and doesn’t have enough educators to offer online learning for all those who want that service.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press