online education

French-speaking colleges are additionally affected by absenteeism attributable to respiratory viruses

It started slowly and suddenly it was a big boom. In early October it started to rise quickly, the students had flu, gastrointestinal illnesses and lately it’s the respiratory viruses that are coming back in force and the kids seem to be sick longerdescribes Lyne Bacon, deputy director general for human resources at the FrancoSud school board.

So are they sicker? That’s what we hear from parents, but it may be that with the pandemic, they may be more aware of staying away from others when they’re sick. Maybe it’s a mix of bothShe adds.

She believes that the situation remains manageable despite the absences. Absenteeism is high but not tragic. [En fonction] Schools, we’re like 13 or 15% and it’s not necessarily in one class, usually it’s a little bit everywhere, it’s more in the family so it affects different classes or levels so it’s manageable at the momentShe says.

School authorities must report their absences to the Ministry of Health on a daily basis. When the rate exceeds 10%, the ministry investigates and may declare an outbreak status in a school. A letter will be sent to the parentsexplains Lyne Bacon. They also ask us to recommend parents to increase hygiene measures.

We are increasing the handwashing requirement in schools, we have returned hygiene liquid and masks to schools, measures recommended by the ministryadds Lyne Bacon.

No mandatory return of the mask in class

Because reporting an outbreak status can take a few days, schools usually take additional measures beforehand. There is a deadline. It is up to us to implement the measures as soon as we see absenteeism increasing. Every day we see the rate of absenteeism in schools, and when we see an increase in a school, we immediately encourage action to be taken.says Lyne Bacon.

Education Secretary Adriana LaGrange reiterated last week that the government has no plans to reintroduce mask-wearing in schools. Every family makes their choice and we respect that choice. If they wear it, it will be greeted with respectsays Lyne Bacon.

These high levels of absenteeism are nevertheless forcing the school authorities to make adjustments. At FrancoSud, some classes were paired when no replacement was available. No school went online, but we merged classes because we ran out of substitutes, we merged two small classes. In admin team times we will be discussing in the coming weeks what would be the extreme measures that we should already have ready if we need to put them in place.

It disrupts the regularity of the class, so maybe it slows down the process. If it’s short term and we can catch up, I think it will be fine. If the little virus lasts very long, I think we could see an impact there that is on top of that of COVID-19.

Parents are divided on the solutions to be provided

Calgary parents are split over a possible return of measures. While some of them might be ok with a temporary return to masks, many oppose homeschooling. In my opinion, the mask should remain a personal preference for methinks Christine Coco.

It could be a good thing because kids have been getting sick lately. I have four and there are sick ones, says Pierre Daba. On the other hand, he resists returning from school to his homeland, even if only temporarily. On the other hand, no, it’s complicated with my workhe adds.

Emmanuelle Touma is categorical. She doesn’t want online classes. No, no, school is in school. This is how we learn best. Learning for students happens in person, at school with a teacher, with friends, at recessShe says.

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