Quebec, March 26, 2020
To Directors and Partners in the Education Network
Last Sunday, the Government of Quebec announced the extension of the closure of all educational institutions in Quebec until May 1 inclusive, due to contagion risks related to COVID-19.
Following communications already sent to you, I want to offer some clarifications for the period commencing March 30.
Obviously, I am aware that other precision's will be required in the face of this unprecedented situation for Quebec’s education network. Other updates will be sent to you so that we can all have the clearest guidelines and adapt as required.
First, I want to remind you that given the situation, all ministerial exams for the 2019-2020 year are cancelled. I would also note that the 2019-2020 school year is not compromised, even if circumstances demand school closures beyond May 1.
The professional judgment of teachers based on assessments made before the closure will enable them to prepare the final report cards.
More detailed procedures for the preparation of these report cards may be communicated to you later.
I remind you that the activities that will be made available will aim, above all, to consolidate student learning during the closure period, and that they remain optional. While important, the content is optional and can in no case serve as a basis for evaluation.
Educational content and school continuity
As you know, beginning March 30, optional pedagogical activities will gradually be offered from online platforms and public television, in order to continue to stimulate student learning. We invite you to make these services known to parents in your territory.
Also, the Ministère de l'Éducation de l'Enseignement supérieur will send you, as of April 6, weekly turnkey packages of pedagogical activities, which we will ask you to transmit to school directors in your territory. The latter will then be able to transmit the whole to their school team.
The kit will contain suggestions for pedagogical activities for all levels of preschool, primary and secondary. They can also be improved or adapted if desired, before being sent to parents.
Directors-general and school administrators are also called upon to mobilize all their staff, so that all can participate in the necessary psychological and pedagogical support for students, by demonstrating flexibility and taking into account each individual’s personal situation.
School staff, supported by their administration, are also invited to carry out personalized weekly follow-ups with their students, prioritizing those they consider to be the most vulnerable, either by telephone or various technological means allowing direct contact (video-messaging services, etc.) If recourse to these options proves impossible, an email can be sent to parents, prompting them to contact resource personnel.
In the same spirit, we invite the professionals and the technical support employees who accompany students to maintain the link with people under their responsibility before the closure on March 13, and to coordinate their interventions with students in conjunction with teachers and school-team members. These follow-ups may be carried out in the same manner as those applicable by the teaching staff.
Access to schools
Until May 1, only directors can enter their school, for example, to retrieve tools to support their team and to coordinate everyone’s efforts from a distance. Otherwise, establishments will remain closed to staff and the public.
School directors (public and private) must prepare the operation for recovery of necessary personal and academic materials, taking into account strict hygiene rules. This activity should be spread out over time and be coordinated to eliminate contact and proximity between people.
Invitations sent to parents should include reminders about the instructions of Santé publique related to traveling in the social distancing context.
We must also ensure that the necessary sanitary measures, notably the cleaning of visitors’ hands, are systematically observed. This process should be an opportunity to lend computer equipment to families by prioritizing students with special needs or living in disadvantaged socio-economic environments. This operation should ideally be completed no later than April 17.
It is always desirable that the school’s teaching materials be made available to parents who request them. We invite you to begin making an inventory of the different resources available (laptops, tablets, textbooks, etc.)
Public sector working conditions
As mentioned earlier, we ask all staff to refrain from going on school premises and to work remotely.
I would also like to clarify that the remuneration of all regular staff is maintained.
Remuneration is also maintained for temporary employees based on hours already known and scheduled until May 1.
Vocational and adult training
We are aware of specific challenges in regard to general adult education and vocational training.
In this context, we invite you to show flexibility and promote, whenever possible, the
recognition of achievements to award diplomas, certificates and certifications, while offering the benefit of distance learning initiatives.
Status of administrative centers
Administrative centers are considered to carry out essential activities. In this regard they remain open until May 1. However, it is requested that staff work remotely to the extent possible.
As mentioned above, I am aware that additional details are required. If you have not already done so, I invite you to submit to us any questions. We will endeavor to respond as soon as possible.
In closing, I want to sincerely thank you for your extraordinary collaboration. Your mobilization is inspiring and should be recognized. Together, we will overcome this crisis.
The Minister of Education and Higher Education
(Translated from the original MEES French document found here) DOC5