COVID-19: Guinea Pigs And Lemmings


Today, May 11, 2020, marks the day when the province of Quebec tips its toe in the water of school reopening. As numerous newspaper articles have pointed out, the rest of the country is watching to see how things go. 

It is important to point out that these reopenings are in what is referred to as the “regions” (although everywhere is a region, that is the term used to indicate non-urban areas). In Montreal, Canada’s COVID-19 epicentre, schools will remain closed until May 25th. 

The students returning are doing so to enable their parents to return to work…Teachers will essentially babysit the children

Many of the regions of Quebec have seemingly succeeded in controlling the virus, which hit them much less severely than in large urban areas. Therefore opening the schools there has been deemed a calculated risk worth taking.

The fact that there are but a few weeks left in the school year is irrelevant. The students returning are doing so to enable their parents to return to work. It is entirely optional for parents. Teachers will essentially babysit the children. 

This appears to be a relatively safe gamble, nonetheless, there is an element of the children and teachers being used as guinea pigs. Just the fact that all eyes are on this return would be enough for me to think it is a mistake. Why did the Quebec government decide to go first?

Courtesy Betsy Primes | The Daily Reveille, with edits

Yet last evening on the news many parents in these less-populated areas seemed keen to get their kids back to school. I sure hope that this doesn’t blow up in the face of those who have devised the scheme. These are lives at stake, children, teachers, and those who are in contact with them. 

Watching the news reports I found myself thinking that these trial students and teachers are being used as guinea pigs. But I hope that by advocating what many have termed the premature return to school we are not using them like lemmings. The rush to get back to ‘normal’ may be an expensive, and regrettable, undertaking.

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+

4 thoughts on “COVID-19: Guinea Pigs And Lemmings

    1. I did not mean to leave that link dangling. I know you know that the word ‘lemmings’ can be a metaphor for those who are being destroyed by cruel people or those who destroy themselves for lack of knowledge. I am a teacher also, and I fear for the precious youngsters who may be like little petri dishes to spread disease to other children and their teachers.

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