Unions representing teachers and bus drivers in Quebec are concerned over the government’s plan to send young students and children back to elementary schools and daycares in May as the province’s novel coronavirus cases continue to climb.
The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement, which oversees nine unions and represents more than 45,000 teachers, said that staff members will not return to work without adequate personal protective equipment.
Sylvain Mallette, president of the federation, claims that teachers were not consulted about the strategy and accused the government of using schools to build herd immunity to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
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“We will not accept that the teachers are not protected and that they will be on the front lines without armour,” he said in a statement.
The provincial government announced on Monday that elementary schools and daycares will gradually reopen starting on May 11 in most regions. The Greater Montreal area, which is where roughly half of the cases are located, will follow suit on May 19.
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Quebec Premier François Legault said that young children are not at high risk for the disease and the province’s decision was made in line with public health authorities.