Irresponsible To Reopen Elementary Schools


As predicted, in an effort to stem the rapid spread of the anticipated second wave of COVID-19, Quebec announced a ‘shock treatment’ lockdown yesterday . The lockdown comes with a new twist – a curfew. In the original lockdown people could come and go – outside – at will. Starting this Saturday a curfew will be in effect from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. Stay off the streets!

Not surprisingly there is some pushback to the curfew

Not surprisingly there is some pushback to the curfew. How do dog owners convince their furry pals to hold on until morning? No problem, dogs can be walked at any time within a kilometre of home. Stores must close at 7:30 pm to allow staff a chance to get home before the curfew comes into effect.

Other precautions include the cancellation of services at houses of worship with the exception of funerals which will be limited to ten attendees. But an odd move involves the opening of elementary schools.

The reopening of high schools has been bumped by a week, to January 18, 2021. Until then classes will be held online. However, elementary schools will open, as planned, on January 11, 2021. Premier Legault explained in his news conference that few children suffer from the virus. Masks will be mandatory in many circumstances within the schools. Extensive precautions, such as desks being turned into Plexiglas cubicles, are already in effect.

What about kids passing on the virus to teachers? Other than the social aspect of going to school, which will not be allowed under the restrictions anyway, there is really no reason children could not continue to attend classes via Zoom.

The Premier then added that it would be a good idea to keep these young students away from older folks, including grandparents, as it has been a concern that although kids don’t suffer from COVID-19, they can be carriers of the virus.

Which brings us to the question of teachers. In full transparency, I will point out that my wife is an elementary school teacher.

What about kids passing on the virus to teachers? Other than the social aspect of going to school, which will not be allowed under the restrictions anyway, there is really no reason children could not continue to attend classes via Zoom.

I admit that I don’t know much about home schooling, but it always seemed to me that those people who opted, in a pre-COVID world, to school their child at home deprived them of important social interaction. I have no problem with the three Rs of early education – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic – being taught at home. But the social aspect is another issue.

Notwithstanding the importance of social interaction, opening schools during a pandemic induced lockdown seems like an irresponsible course of action.

Yet now, while dealing with a pandemic, I believe it is a wise move to limit this social interaction in everyone’s interest: teachers, parents and grandparents. Many children have been home schooled and gone on to be fine members of society. Notwithstanding the importance of social interaction, opening schools during a pandemic induced lockdown seems like an irresponsible course of action.

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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