Online Education

Universities are defying Quebec by planning a return to the present for February

The return to school should theoretically be completed by Monday, January 31. However, some institutions have announced this week that they intend to keep their distance learning courses open until February.

This is the case of Concordia University in Montreal. The institution announced on its website on Thursday that the start of the school year will not take place until Thursday, February 3, three days after the deadline set by Quebec.

Similarly, students and professors at the University of Quebec at Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT) should not return to class until mid-February. On its website,UQAT he even writes that distance education will be preferred until 75% of students receive a booster dose against COVID-19.

Campus Rouyn-Noranda University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

Photo: Radio-Canada / Andrei Audet

Additionally, at least one college, the Cégep regional de Lanaudière, has confirmed in recent days that it intends to delay its return. Therefore, classes will resume on February 7 in attendance. Until then, there will be no distance learning courses; the calendar simply shifted.

Quebec asks facilities for this to comply

However, Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann’s office has planned a “transition period” of two weeks to allow CEGEP and universities to reconnect with classroom hours after Monday 17 January – a date originally set by Premier Legault on 30 December.

This postponement was ordered on January 7 after some institutions, such as the University of Montreal and UQAM, announced a return to visitation on Monday, January 24, or even the following Monday, January 31.

Legault’s government wanted to revoke the rules of the game on Friday night. In an announcement sent to Radio-Canada, Minister McCann’s office urged reluctant facilities to do so to comply with the directives communicated to them on December 30.

Close-up of Danielle McCann at a press conference.

Quebec Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann

Photo: Radio-Canada / Sylvain Roy Roussel

The return to presence on the campuses must take place from January 17he recalled and emphasized that he had already shown flexibility by providing CEGEP and universities the possibility to fill out this return until January 31.

Interview in the show midday info, at the ICI Premiere, Minister McCann was recalled earlier in the day that she represented on January 31 deadline reconnect with students’ return to the classroom at postsecondary institutions.

Students want to return to the classroom

Postponing the return to school from week to week in attendance at CEGEP and university is not pleasing to everyone.

For example, in Abitibi, an open letter with a question started circulating on FridayUQAT reverse and start personal return between January 17 and 31because many students would much rather experience a return to the classroom than government measures allow.

Specifically, the action requiredUQAT aiming for 75% vaccination coverage for the third dose […] would prevent full cohorts from in-person instruction for several more weeksits authors write, adding that Quebec he never mentioned such an extreme measure.

Not to mention thatit is clearaccording to them, that the quality of education obtained online is not equal to the quality of face-to-face classes.

For some students, college careers are coming to an end. Unfortunately, they have only had two full face-to-face sessions over the last three years of this year, which greatly affects the quality of training they have received. It is quite heartbreaking to come out with a diploma and a degree but without all the skills that should have been developed during that training. »

Quote from Excerpt from an open letter from the University of Quebec in Abitibi-Témiscamingue

More than 70 students signed the letter on Friday evening, according to its authors. They form a common front against the official positionAGEUQATlocal student union, which said on Facebook this week that the measure seemed satisfactory.

L’UQAT and Concordia explain themselves

L’UQAT she apologized in an email Friday night, pointing out that many of his research activities […] they continued face to face without any interruption a the return of face-to-face teaching will begin on January 24, starting with courses that include a practical or experiential component.

further access to campuses and centers is possible if health measures are observed a student services, including psychosocial support, success assistance and techno-pedagogical support, are available in person or remotelyargued the university’s communications director, Stéphanie Duchesne.

She also reminded that representatives of the so-calledAGEUQAT and four university departments were consulted. Moreover, the ministry is aware of the orientations they have adoptedUQATassures Mrs. Duchesne.

Concordia University, for its part, said in an email Friday night that it has a winter semester [avait] it started on January 6, i.e. Thursdayand, for planning reasons, [était] to resume teaching in person on Thursday more consistently in order facilitate course structure.

Personal return is therefore planned for the week of January 31.argued his spokeswoman Vannina Maestracciová.

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