Home Schooling

No more virtual school for students at risk of COVID-19

The Ministry of Education is ending virtual education, which was offered for two years to hundreds of students at risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus. Quebec is relying on the end of the state of health emergency to justify the return to class of all elementary and secondary school students, even those with chronic illnesses or weakened immune systems.

This decision was handed over to the school service centers last week by the Deputy Minister of Education, Alain Sans Cartier. The directive repeals a ministerial order from May 2022 that, among other things, ordered schools to teach remotely students whose “health condition or the condition of the person they live with puts them at risk of serious complications if they contract the virus. COVID-19”. A doctoral paper was required for virtual teaching.

The Ministry of Education considers it in the children’s best interest to return to school, our sources say. Pupils come to class not only to learn, but also to socialize. In some cases, the school is also a rescue social network that can detect children in difficult situations at home.

If I were the parent of a vulnerable child, I would be concerned. I need to calm down.

This obligation to return to the classroom remains unknown in the school network – the start of the school year will take place in the next few days – but concerns the Federation of Parents’ Committees of Quebec (FCPQ), which is demanding an explanation from the Ministry of Education.

“If I were a parent of a vulnerable child, I would be worried. I need to be reassured,” declared Kévin Roy, president of FCPQ. Parents have a right to wonder why distance learning was appropriate for two years for children at risk of COVID-19, but class attendance is now becoming mandatory, he says.

Protective measures

Kévin Roy says virtual school guidelines are “not clear”. It calls for a policy that would regulate distance learning by considering the advantages and disadvantages for all students. He would be reassured if the Public Health Service recommended the end of virtual classes for students at risk of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MSSS) responded to this Have to that the public health service has not developed a specific opinion on the termination of distance education. Robert Maranda, a spokesperson for the MSSS, referred us to a page with guidelines for “people with chronic illness  or with weakened immune systems, including children as well as their loved ones.”

These vulnerable people “must always take care to follow basic health guidelines; minimize contact; avoid public places; otherwise, wear a mask or face covering,” says the MSSS.

“Regardless of age, additional protective measures may be necessary for workers with chronic illness or weakened immune systems. For example, support for remote work from home or consistent application of specific preventive measures at some workplaces if remote work is not possible,” adds the Ministry of Health.

Exempt staff

Students must return to class, but school staff may still be excused from attending school for health reasons confirmed by a doctor.

“It is up to the school service centers to determine the conditions that apply to personnel at risk of COVID-19, in accordance with the current recommendations of the Direction générale de santé publique, Institut national de santé publique du Québec (INSPQ). and the Commission on Standards, Fairness, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST),” said Bryan St-Louis, spokesman for the Department of Education.

The INSPQ describes health problems that make people susceptible to infection with the COVID-19 virus (chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular and respiratory disease, liver, kidney, heart or lung transplant, cancer, and many others).

“It is important to emphasize that this notice is intended to serve as a reference tool to support clinicians in assessing an individual’s vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 and the additional protective measures recommended in the workplace. The attending physician’s judgment about the patient’s vulnerability therefore remains fundamental and should take precedence,” states INSPQ.

Another change from last school year: the measure that stipulated the closure of a class if 60% of its students tested positive for COVID-19 was abolished. In the network, we expect details of everything related to closing classes and monitoring the learning of isolated students in case of infection.

Additional criteria for virtual

The Ministry of Education explains that virtual school remains possible for some students, but only as part of a pilot project that runs from September 2021 to June 2024. This type of distance education is not aimed at students exempted for health reasons, but rather at children. who do not fit into the normal form” of the school.

According to the latest reports, 3,500 students have participated in this project, which is part of the Legault government’s digital action plan. Parents must demonstrate that a virtual school is the best solution for their children due to several circumstances: bullying, severe anxiety, behavioral or learning disabilities, autism, giftedness, distance from major centers, or participation in sports or arts study programs. requiring regular absence from classes.

See in the video

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button