March 19, 2020
Since our last communication on March 15th, there have been some important developments on the spread of COVID-19 in Quebec. As of today, there are 121 cases in Quebec with unfortunately one fatality. The Premier along with Santé Publique continue to remind us of the importance of washing our hands and practicing social distancing as the main ways to, protect ourselves, our loved ones and to help stop the spread of the virus.
Youth and Social Distancing
One message that was very clear from Dr. Arruda, Director of Quebec’s Public Health, is that all people stop public and private gatherings. His message was particularly directed towards youth, who were still gathering in groups, going out to public places and hanging out with friends. Although it may seem like a drastic measure to our youth, who are not a high risk group for the complications from the disease, we must stress the importance to them of protecting their family and community members that are susceptible to complications from COVID-19. Please take a few minutes to talk with your teen and stress the importance of social distancing for everyone’s sake.
Along with the school closures, all our daycare services are also closed, therefore the government has suspended daycare fees during this time. That is to say that effective Monday March 16th until otherwise advised, you will not have to pay daycare fees to your local school.
Case of COVID-19 in a School
As you know all schools were closed as of Monday, March 16th and as of now, we are very pleased to say that we have not had a case of COVID-19 confirmed in one of our schools. In the event that a case of COVID-19 was confirmed in a school/centre or the risk that there was a close contact, the department of Santé Publique would inform the school board first and then a plan would be put in place in collaboration with the school principal/centre director.
Support to talk with your children
We also realize that the current situation can be very stressful and children may not fully understand what is going on, or may feel afraid and insecure. It is important to recognize their concerns and talk with them. Below you will find some links to websites that can help you talk to your child about what is going on.
Online Support for Learning
On March 13th when the announcement of school closures was made, the Education Minister was clear that this 2 week closure was viewed as time off for students. We realize that many students and parents are concerned that these 2 weeks off will have an impact on students’ success. We understand your concerns and encourage those who want to, to catch up on homework. Some teachers may or have already been in contact to send work that students can do, but at this time this work cannot be mandatory and cannot be new material that they have not covered. In the meantime, we are preparing a webpage where you will be able to access resources and websites with ideas of learning activities you can do at home.
We are following the government announcements closely and are already looking at ways in which we can support student learning in the event that our schools and centres must remain closed.
As always we want to thank you for your cooperation, patience and understanding during this very difficult time. We will do our best to keep you informed with timely and accurate information. We will continue to send emails to all parents, as well as post on our website under the COVID-19 page and breaking news on our Facebook page, to try and reach all parents as effectively as possible. We also invite you to visit the Quebec Government’s site on COVID-19, where you can access various topics including a Q & A section.
Please follow the recommendations from public health, and stay healthy and safe. Together we can make a difference and stay strong.
ETSB, Interim Director General