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“Shedding” envisaged in Quebec schools

Due to a “very large number” of anticipated absences from the school network, Quebec suggests that schools use “volunteer parents” to supervise groups of students and considers the “shedding” of certain services.

• Read also: Back to class on Monday: the mask at all times at school

The Ministry of Education on Thursday sent the school network “guidelines” on which school service centers and private schools must be based to develop a “contingency plan”, while the return to class has been confirmed for Monday, January 17.

The “very large number” of absences anticipated by Quebec because of the virus could “potentially lead to breakdowns of services in certain environments or compromise the maintenance of childcare services as they are”, we can read.

“The goal is to keep students in school safely, despite the high rate of anticipated absenteeism among school staff,” says one.

Schools are invited to identify “resource people” who could be called in as needed, such as “volunteer parents able to support students in class in their learning during the physical absence of the teacher”.

“Shedding”

Schools must also identify the students to be supported as a priority (eg: those in difficulty, first cycle students before those of the third cycle) as well as the complementary services which may be temporarily suspended, such as “remedial education, speech therapy, educational support ”.

Teachers, such as resource teachers, could also be freed from certain student support tasks “with the aim of proceeding with a possible load shedding”, we can read.

However, this “load shedding” operation only targets “additional services. No subject should be removed from the students’ timetable, it is specified.

The school network must also analyze the possibility of a teacher taking care of two different groups of students at the same time, with the help of another member of the staff who would move from one room to another.

A teacher in isolation could also give distance lessons to students in the classroom, who would then be supervised by another adult.

Distance education “for the whole class if necessary” would be reserved for “exceptional situations”.

In childcare services, parents could also be called upon to take charge of groups and opening hours could be reduced.

The Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, must take stock of the start of the school year during a press briefing scheduled for 3 p.m. this afternoon.

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