The spread of COVID-19 is reaching new heights in the school system. The virus is now present in one in three schools, and the number of closed groups continues to climb.
These figures contrast with the more positive portrait drawn up yesterday by Prime Minister François Legault, who believes that Quebec is winning the battle against the second wave of COVID-19.
Mr. Legault said the situation was on the way to stabilize, including in schools. “We are talking about thirty classes that have been added today, that too, that is stabilizing,” he said.
However, the virus is now present in 1,018 schools in the province out of a total of 2,994 schools, according to the daily report of November 16, which represents a proportion of 34%.
Over the past week in Quebec, the number of closed groups has steadily increased, from 1,174 to 1,332.
The proportion of active outbreaks originating from the school system also increased from 27% to 29% in one week.
These figures, however, do not surprise Chantal Sauvageau, medical consultant at the National Institute of Public Health. “It is often a reflection of community transmission,” she says.
Balance difficult to maintain
The situation worries the school administrators, who must juggle a difficult balance to maintain.
“It’s a new peak and it’s still worrying, that’s for sure. But we are also very worried about the absence of our students, says Nicolas Prévost, president of the Quebec Federation of Educational Institutions (FQDE). We have to find a compromise to try to miss as little school as possible and control the pandemic. “
So far, the virus has mostly infiltrated high schools, says Prévost.
According to figures from the Ministry of Education sent to the FQDE, around 60% of active cases are found in these establishments, compared to 20% in primary schools and 20% in vocational training and adult education centers.
The situation also varies greatly from one region to another, adds Mr. Prévost, who pleads for “variable geometry” solutions for the Christmas holidays in order to allow as many students as possible to be in class the most. long possible.
Quebec plans to extend the school holidays to January to create a quarantine period after the Holidays, said François Legault yesterday.
Meanwhile in Ontario
For its part, Ontario has active cases of COVID-19 in 14% of its schools, a much lower proportion than in Quebec.
The Dr Sauvageau points out, however, that community transmission is also lower there, even though the spread of the virus has accelerated recently.
The pandemic in schools
- Schools with active COVID-19 cases: 34%, is 1018 schools
- Number of closed classes: 1332
- Proportion of outbreaks originating from the school network: 29%
- Number of schools closed or partially closed: 9
- Schools with active COVID-19 cases: 14%, is 670 schools