The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), representing nine unions with close to 44,000 teachers, from seven regions in the province including Montreal, Laval, Quebec, as well as the Laurentians, Estrie, Outaouais and Montérégie – is filing a lawsuit in Superior Court. The goal of the lawsuit is to have the Quebec government provide them with the full details and protocols of their Covid-19 Back-To-School plan.
There have also been concerns expressed by many of the students’ parents that the Legault government has not been fully transparent about their plan since the school openings.
Based on a report by epidemiologist Dr. Nima Machouf, the FAE’s demands in the lawsuit contend that Quebec’s plan is ‘flawed when it comes to allowing students to attend classes unmasked’ and then allowing students who are kept in what they call ‘bubble’ classes to not have to physically distance themselves from others students. The report also questions the ‘efficiency of ventilation systems in school classrooms’ and notes that ‘the coronavirus is airborne’ and that the ‘Quebec Education Ministry has established that ventilation in only 46% of school buildings is (what the government considers) satisfactory’.
They also want the province ‘to put in place an accelerated and efficient screening mechanism to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the school system’ – and that Christian Dubé, Quebec’s Health Minister who promised on August 10th to establish such a testing system, has not since provided ‘any information on its nature or operations’. They also note that ‘with COVID-19 cases being reported in 246 schools over the past three weeks, the need for the government to act openly and quickly was essential’.
For several weeks, the FAE has been asking the government to provide them with the detailed information, showing the number of COVID-19 infections reported in the schools system and who is being infected. “It is out of the question that we blindly rely on the government. We want to see these documents and to do so quickly,” Sylvain Mallette, President of the FAE, said in a statement released on Monday September 14th.