COVID-19 Schools and Winter Tires


0427_armstrong
GlobalTV

The government of Quebec has announced that it will reopen Montreal pre-schools and elementary schools on May 19. At the same time, they are still reporting daily statistics of the effects (i.e. cases, deaths, and hospitalizations) of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Education Minister has stated that there are still two or three weeks to come up with a final plan for the reopening. The mayor of Montreal is calling for people to wear masks when out. Montreal is, sadly. the epicentre of Canada’s COVID-19 ordeal.

It is no less safe to drive with summer tires during a snowfall on March 23 than on February sixth. Some things just can’t be tied to the calendar

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between this calendar-driven decision to open schools and the annual winter tire season. In Quebec, it is mandatory to have winter tires on your vehicle, regardless of weather conditions, from December 1 to March 15.

You might think that there is a proviso such that if winter conditions exist outside of the snow tire season, it would be illegal to drive without snow tires. It is no less safe to drive with summer tires during a snowfall on March 23 than on February sixth. Some things just can’t be tied to the calendar.

Yet without being able to show a significant reduction in the threat of COVID-19 the government has decreed that May 19 is the day. Secondary school through University has been scrapped until September, but the younger kids are to return for a month.

Teachers, administrators, and school bus drivers of these children are stunned at the decision. From getting the kids to school on buses to figuring out lunches and classroom space – all while expecting rambunctious youngsters to observe proper physical distancing – this concept is a recipe for disaster.

SCHOOLS-BACK
Montreal Gazette

The recall has been deemed optional for parents and students; but not so for teachers. Clearly what the government wants these teachers to do is act as babysitters so parents can drop off their kids and return to work, thereby prodding the economy back to life.

So why not just say so? Why not come clean and say we need people to keep an eye on these little ones so their parents can return to work and will no longer have to make do with a laptop on the dining room table?

It seems to me that if a government still calls for physical distancing to reduce the potential spread of the virus, it’s too early to allow schools, businesses, and houses of worship to return to normal

More importantly, does this decision put teachers (and custodians, and administrators, and cafeteria staff) in danger? Although young children don’t appear to have been hit by the virus, can they carry it?

I’m all in favour of a booming economy, but at what cost? It seems to me that if a government still calls for physical distancing to reduce the potential spread of the virus, it’s too early to allow schools, businesses, and houses of worship to return to normal.

Published by DCMontreal

DCMontreal - Deegan Charles Stubbs - is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

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