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Reopening of schools in Quebec starts sowing confusion and fear among the parents

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Published on April 29, 2020 with No Comments

Elementary schools will open again next month, but not everyone plans to send their kids.

For weeks, parents in Quebec have been told to keep their kids close to home, off the playground and away from their friends.

Now, they find themselves adjusting to the idea of sending their children back to school in May.

The province’s decision to open elementary schools and daycares next month has left parents filled with questions, and divided on whether to send their kids back.

Starting May 11, parents living outside of the greater Montreal area will be able to send their children back to elementary school and daycare. Elementary schools and daycares in the Montreal area are set to open the following week.

All other schools — high schools, colleges and universities — won’t physically reopen until late August.

Patricia Clermont, who lives in Montreal’s Hochelaga-Maisonneuve district, said her children, ages seven and 11, are eager to return to class. But she’s nervous about the province’s plan and hasn’t made a decision yet.

“If we don’t succeed with this reopening, it would mean we have done this confinement for nothing, and it would be a major feeling of failing,” said Clermont.

Playgrounds have been quiet since last month, when Quebec put in place restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. (Ivanoh Demers/CBC)

Shelley Reuter is more definitive. She won’t be sending her son, who is in Grade 4, back to school until September.

She said the government’s reopening plan is not well-thought-out, and is especially unfair to teachers.

“Laying this pretty heavy responsibility of making sure the students are physically distancing, that they’re washing their hands all the time, I think that’s already too much on top of what teachers are already doing,” Reuter said.

Jennifer Bento, a Grade 3 teacher in LaSalle and a parent herself, echoed that perspective.

Outside the Montreal area, the prospect of sending their children back to school in two weeks took many by surprise.

“The overwhelming reaction was fear. Why is the government using our kids as guinea pigs?” said Karen Sampson, who lives in Mont-Tremblant.

 

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