As schools prepare to move to the red zone measures in Trois-Rivières and Center-du-Québec, the Saint-Joseph Seminary, which welcomes students from Secondary 1 to 5, must deal with multiple case of COVID-19 within its walls.
Since the start of the school year, seven of the establishment’s 23 classes have had to be temporarily closed, said Dany Dallaire, director of the institution in Trois-Rivières.
While outbreaks are raging in 13 schools in the region, it is the uproar in other schools. As of Wednesday, the group-class concept will gain in importance, the wearing of a mask will become permanent for high school students and extracurricular activities will be canceled. Secondary 4 and 5 students will also have to take their courses remotely, every other day.
If the students concede that the new measures undermine an already undermined motivation, the teachers deplore that the directives again arrive in a sense of urgency characteristic of this extraordinary school year. Claudia Cousin, president of the Vielles-Forges Teaching Union, which represents 1,900 teachers in the Mauricie, said that a teaching day or two would have been welcome, in order to adjust to new ways of doing things.
Moreover, if the measures that come into force on Wednesday pose their share of challenges, the Minister of Education would not have fully relied on the recommendations of Public Health to develop his directives. Dr. Chantal Sauvageau, of the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, in fact related that the orientations were more in the direction of classes cut in half, rather than a schedule reduced by 50%. The option chosen by the ministry does not solve the problem of crowded classrooms, she stressed.
Small consolation in the circumstances, teachers will not have to produce a report card before January. They are many to say that with the current rate of absenteeism, assessing students in the short term would have been difficult.