Montreal resident Ritika Malini says her seven-year-old son is enjoying online school, but he’s been missing out by not being in the classroom.

“He’s learning, yes, but he’s not getting an experience — he’s not experiencing learning,” she said. “If he goes out, there’s more exposure.”

Premier François Legault plans to have primary and high school students back in class on Jan. 17. That’s less than a week away. The government’s plan to reopen schools is expected to be revealed Thursday.

The head of the Montreal teachers’ association, Lori Newton, said more safety measures are needed before schools reopen. For example, she said, teachers should be prioritized for PCR tests, as health-care workers are.

“What we would like to see is that any school personnel that would like to have an N95 mask, be able to get that,” Newton said.

“We need to see that teachers can get access to rapid testing kits like the elementary and preschool students can have.”

Sabrina Jafralie, a teacher at Westmount High School, said she’s concerned about returning to the classroom, given the epidemiological situation.

She’s worried teachers and students could catch the virus and put further pressure on the health-care system.

Westmount High School teacher Sabrina Jafralie worries students and teachers will be exposed to the highly contagious Omicron variant. (Submitted by Sabrina Jafralie)

She said while online learning can be an effective means of educating students, not enough has been done to upgrade upgrading the available online learning resources.

When classes do resume in person, Jafralie said she plans to wear an N95 mask.

Daniel Gauthier, the head of the Syndicat de l’enseignement de la région de Québec, which represents teachers in the Quebec City area, is among those worried that no new protective measures have been announced to prevent outbreaks.

“When we reopen without increasing the measures, we close for longer a few weeks later,” he said. “We have to make different choices.”

Like many others, Gauthier is concerned about the lack of ventilation in classrooms and cafeterias. Even if students wear a mask in class, they are allowed to remove their masks to dine together, he said.

“There are obvious risks of spread and there is no change in current procedures,” Gauthier said.

Clearly it’s better for students to be in class, but “on the other hand, we always have concerns,” said Simon Mainville, principal of the La Courvilloise high school in Quebec City.

He said one of the biggest headaches will be replacing teachers who contract COVID-19 or have to go into isolation as a preventive measure due to exposure.

But Mainville, despite his concerns, said he will be ready to welcome the students as soon as the Legault government gives the green light.

“Despite the difficulties, we roll up our sleeves, we do whatever it takes to provide good service,” he said.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)



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