Back to school: “it makes me proud and full of joy,” says the minister Roberge

Rentrée scolaire: «ça me rend fier et plein de joie», affirme le ministre Roberge

 The image of many of the primary students, who were returning to school Monday morning in all regions of Québec except in Montreal, the minister of Education of the province was happy with the conduct of this school year.

The facilitator of LCN Mario Dumont spoke Monday morning with minister Jean-François Roberge in order to know if everything is going as planned.

Mario Dumont: Where are our journalists, it seems to be okay. Have you had small lights yellow on the dashboard? Places where there are problems?

Jean-François Roberge: Not until now. There is a “monitoring” with all of our partners. We look at everything that happens. I am in a position of support and help. If one realizes that in a school, a region, there is something to adjust, we will be at the rendez-vous you can be certain of that.

It was beautiful to see the smiles of the children in the stories that you have presented, it fills me heart with joy. I’m so happy for the kids and proud of the school teams who have worked very hard to make it possible.

M. D.: The children have shown impressive maturity in the face of the rules to follow …

J.-F. R.: I’m not surprised. I have taught in elementary school for a very long time and the kids love the routines and the instructions are clear, they are testing limits a bit sometimes. But they don’t learn it this morning that there is a pandemic and that it should remain at two metres. It’s been weeks that they see their parents change their mode of life, and that they take the steps to the outside and have detours. The instructions that we’re going to ask them to the school, they already meet in their daily lives.

M. D.: do you Have an idea of the percentage of parents who chose to send their children to school in different regions?

J.-F. R.: In the English-speaking network, there is a 20-30% so fewer children are present. In the region of Quebec, it is around 70%. Overall, this is 55% of the parents who have chosen to return to school when it is possible. Therefore, it is a little more than a child over two.

M. D.: This rate is it satisfactory for you?

J.-F. R.: absolutely. We expected between 50% and 70%. We didn’t want to put pressure on the parents, this is an opportunity that is offered to them.

M. D.: The children have seen on television to their friends this morning and it’s happening still, do you think that you will have additional entries?

J.-F. R.: people will see the professionalism of school teams and the creativity of the teachers and support staff to accommodate in this framework, non-standard of a good quality of life and pleasure in spite of everything. It will likely be more and more popular over the next few weeks. Parents are asked, it is important to notify us a week in advance so that we can properly accommodate your child.

If we are successful this morning, is that it took two weeks for preparation and one week from the time we knew how many children we were going to host.

Mr. D.: are you Worried that there are outbreaks of COVID and how will you handle the situation if there are problems?

J.-F. R.: not everyone received an intervention protocol and an emergency kit. If a child has symptoms, it has a local dedicated. The schools are ready. If someone has symptoms, they shall immediately notify the regional public health who will investigate and decide if we are going to close a class or the whole school. It will not be a government decision, but a decision of the public health. We don’t want to take any risk with the health of children. We do not expect that there are outbreaks everywhere, maybe one or two.

M. D.: What are you going to do for Montreal, including the return to school is already delayed to the 25th of may? And will there be a time limit?

J.-F. R.: We use each day to prepare. The fact that we have pushed back the opening of primary schools in Montreal, because it takes into account the spread, gives us the opportunity to be more ready when it will reopen. Until evidence to the contrary, it re-opens on Monday, may 25 in the greater Montreal area.

We’ll see whether he should stay. If you push a week, it would still be three. It is still worthwhile, but the decision is not taken at this time. Two weeks, I am beginning to think that it would not be worthwhile, but three weeks would be worth the trouble.

You can bring a bit of normalcy in the lives of children. It consolidates our learning, we can see the friends, we have an authority figure other than a parent or teacher, it would be worth it. The course is kept, but it is public health who will make the final decision.

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