Covid-19 letter sent to directors and partners in the education network

coronovirus (covid-19) frequently asked questions

Quebec, March 26, 2020


To Directors and Partners in the Education Network



Sirs,
Madames,

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.

Ministerial exams
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.

Vulnerable students
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.


Best regards,


The Minister of Education and Higher Education
Jean-François Roberge

(Translated from the original MEES French document found here) DOC5

Parent focused FAQ’s

coronovirus (covid-19) frequently asked questions

Quebec City, March 25, 2020

To Directors of Institutions of Higher Learning and to Education Partners

(extract from translated document found here) – DOC1

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION

The government announced the closure of the education system (elementary and secondary schools, training centers, private schools, cégeps, colleges and universities) from March 16 to May 1 inclusive.
Is this measure only for pupils and students?


For the public and private school network

All schools and centers are closed.

The staff usually assigned to these schools and centers must not, subject to exceptional measures, be present on site until May 1 inclusive.

Administrative centers provide essential and strategic services, ideally by teleworking, when possible (tasks must allow it and tools must be available). This means that essential and strategic functions such as payroll management, payments to suppliers, building maintenance and security, and other similar activities, must be fulfilled.

However, considering the exceptional nature of the situation, the personnel may be required at any time for emergency measures, for example, for the extraordinary opening of a temporary daycare service , for the processing of pay, or for a preventive building inspection.

Post-secondary network

We would like your next internal communications to state that “Cégep campuses, colleges and universities are closed until May 1, inclusive. In the case of colleges and universities, this is intended for students and staff members, while considering all the instructions sent. Thus, for the period from March 14 to May 1 inclusive, all unnecessary teaching and research activities are suspended in the physical premises of universities, cégeps and colleges.”

We remind you that for these activities, as for the other activities related to necessary or essential services, it is for directors to take the necessary decisions to minimize the physical presence in schools and on campuses. Telework should be encouraged. Related activities such as rental of premises as well as sports and cultural activities are also affected by the closure. Staff must continue to perform work functions. Alternative solutions such as teleworking are encouraged, where possible.

What is a necessary or essential service?

It is up to each organization to define its plan for maintaining the necessary or essential services. As for the presence of personnel assigned to essential activities, refer to the answer to Question 1. You can also consult the following address: https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/az/coronavirus-2019/fermeture- places-publics-stores-services-covid19 /

Can construction or renovation work continue?

Until April 13, 2020, only two (2) types of work are authorized:

construction firms for emergency repair or for security purposes;
electricians, plumbers and other tradespersons required for emergency services.

Since the majority of schools have closed and maintenance staff (workers, janitors, etc.) are required only for essential services, are there plans to take measures to ensure the continuity of the work already planned in the buildings (lead testing, cleaning, painting, repairs, monitoring of renovation work, preventive and restoration maintenance, etc.)? 

Until April 13, 2020, the instruction that all activities carried out in the workplace must be suspended also applies to this type of work. The situation will be reassessed in due course.
However, those stages of projects that can be done at a distance can continue (e.g. production of plans and specifications).

Is it possible for pupils, students or staff to return to their educational establishment to collect personal effects? Can school directors provide accommodation measures in this regard?

The parents of preschool, elementary and secondary students may retrieve their child’s school material at the school according to an established schedule, to avoid gatherings, once the Santé publique will be permitted to put measures in place. This will be done according to very specific instructions and no initiative should be taken until then. It is important that parents wait for instructions from their child's school before going to the school.

Can public and private establishments offer online courses during this period?

Initiatives which can be taken in order to use means other than in-person learning to offer courses or remote support are not prohibited if technological solutions are available. These initiatives can be proposed, but they cannot be demanded.

The MEES will make educational material available to students on the Web and the digital tools that schools possess. Public and private institutions will be invited to transfer or enhance these for the benefit of their clientele. However, use of the tools made available to parents and students is optional and does not constitute an obligation. Work is also ongoing with Télé-Quebec for the dissemination of educational content.

The MEES has encouraged institutions to develop distance learning. How will MEES remedy the situation in the case of establishments and fields of study that cannot use this option? 

As of March 30, 2020, parents and students of preschool, elementary and secondary will gradually have access to educational videos broadcast on public television, an online resource kit developed by partners (e.g. educational applications) and optional educational activities offered by schools. Starting April 6, 2020, activity suggestions will be offered to families, adapted to the age of the children, and by subject.

Can the MEES award diplomas to any cohort of students who have not taken their final exams, including ministerial exams?

The Minister may, when the circumstances so require, cancel the test and retain the marks obtained by the educational establishments as the final result. The current exceptional circumstances mean that the administration of ministerial examinations will be cancelled, and that the results of educational establishments will be considered for obtaining diplomas. The passage of students to the next level will be made according to the professional judgment made by teachers, according to results obtained beforehand by the students.

Will you implement consultation measures within the network?

Yes. This consultation mechanism is already in place. Regular conference calls will continue to ensure efficient transmission of information and to discuss the needs that may emerge.

Will students have to resume suspended school time during the summer?

No. There is no question of extending the school year during the summer.

Will the government compensate losses incurred for the cancellation of school trips?

Currently, no compensation is planned. School boards must document all expenses caused by the current situation.

Can a teacher assign homework to students?

Non-compulsory local measures may indeed have been put in place by certain schools or school boards. Moreover, teachers have room to maneuver under collective agreements and can therefore implement various initiatives.

The Minister of Education and Higher Education has asked the school network to quickly provide educational activities accessible through public television, the Web and digital tools available to schools. Use of the tools made available to parents and students is optional and does not constitute an obligation.

Can children with learning difficulties continue with their Individualized Education Plans (e.g. telephone, virtual tools, etc.)?

Whenever possible, it is recommended that the Individualized Education Plan be revised to adjust to this new school reality, prioritizing students with the greatest need. Remember that school administrators are responsible for developing Individualized Education Plans and monitoring them.

Is there a measure planned to meet the nutritional needs of children who need it?

Yes. The MEES is currently working on the implementation of universal food aid in collaboration with various departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Health and Social Services, food banks and the Club des petits déjeuners, with which MEES has a partnership since 2018-2019.

How do we report a situation that does not respect the approach prioritized by authorities?

The authorities prioritize collaboration and cooperation of the population with government measures taken in connection with COVID-19.
•The respect of civic mindedness and instructions issued by the government continues to be the most effective measure to counter the emergence of new cases.
•No decree or recourse to legal provisions obliges the police to punish (e.g. issuance of statements of offense or arrest) citizens violating government orders.
•Police remain vigilant and will continue to intervene according to the powers and duties framing their functions, as well as the intervention priorities that fall under the responsibility of the police force.
•Citizens are asked to not overwhelm the telephone lines of 911 emergency centers and the COG (Centre des opérations gouvernementales) to denounce gatherings. The lines must be free for emergencies.
•Information requests regarding COVID-19 should be addressed to 1-877 644-6565.
•The police services must prioritize their activities and use their resources efficiently in the function of the powers granted to them in the context of a health emergency. They may intervene in exceptional situations in support of the public security authorities as part of their mission.

What actions will the MEES take to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health and social services network, as well as in essential services?

The current emergency childcare services will continue to be open and maintain a good capacity to receive.

I would like my private establishment to offer emergency childcare services for the children of health network and essential services personnel. Is it possible?

No, the schools authorized to open their doors for emergency childcare have already been identified. Other establishments are not requested at the moment.

Who are school emergency childcare services for ? 

In a context where Quebecers are preparing for prolonged isolation, the Government of Quebec has expanded the list of occupations deemed essential that allow access to emergency childcare services.

The essential jobs and services that will allow access to emergency childcare as of March 18, 2020, are as follows:

•supply and distribution of drugs and pharmaceutical goods
•food inspection
•home services for seniors
•garbage collectors (waste collection)
•sanitary services (water treatment plants)
•government aviation services
•Ministry of Public Security (civil security and coroners)
•suicide prevention centers
•client communication center of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity
•Héma-Québec
•Transplant-Québec
•Red Cross
•Institut national de santé publique du Québec
•Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec

Here is the list of essential jobs and services for which access to childcare services emergency is already granted:

•all professions in the health and social services network
•pre-hospital emergency services (ambulance technicians, dispatchers)
•private offices of professional resources (healthcare network)
•community pharmacies
•intermediate resources and private residences for seniors
•providers of home services to seniors and who work for social economy enterprises providing home care
•employees of 811 and 911
•police
•firefighters
•correctional officers
•special constables
•educators and support staff of the emergency childcare services

Occupations are targeted by virtue of their direct and immediate impact on the safety and health of Quebecers. Access to the network of childcare services remains restricted to help ensure consistency with all government actions. The measure is put in place to allow you to work during the period during which educational establishments and childcare services will be closed.

Do school daycare staff have access to childcare services (0-5 years)?

These services are also available for staff responsible for providing emergency daycare.

Children under the age of four (4) can attend an educational childcare service. Children who do not occupy a place in a recognized childcare service will be able to obtain a place in a childcare service for the period covered by the state of health emergency. Children who already attend a daycare service can continue to attend it according to the usual schedule and conditions. More information is available at Quebec.ca.

For children aged four (4) who are not usually enrolled in school, they are accepted in emergency school daycare services. This is an exceptional service offered to those people who would have no alternative.
When in doubt, if the person comes to school to receive the service, the instruction given to school board directors is to not refuse anybody.

Should distance measures be put in place if there are several groups in a school?

Yes, you are invited to respect the government guidelines regarding distancing.

Will children in emergency childcare have access to educational services, such as children who are at home because of the closure of educational institutions?

The tools that will be made available to parents and students will also be available to these children. However, their use remains optional and does not constitute an obligation.

Can't find the answer to your question?

Submit it to us at: faqcovid@education.gouv.qc.ca.

COVID- 19 General FAQ’s

coronovirus (covid-19) frequently asked questions

Quebec City, March 25, 2020

To Directors of Institutions of Higher Learning and to Education Partners

(translation of original French document found here) insert DOC2

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND HIGHER EDUCATION


1. The government announced the closure of the education system (elementary and secondary schools, training centers, private schools, cégeps, colleges and universities) from March 16 to May 1 inclusive.

Is this measure only for pupils and students?


For the public and private school network

- All schools and centers are closed.
- The staff usually assigned to these schools and centers must not, subject to exceptional measures, be present on site until May 1 inclusive.

- Administrative centers provide essential and strategic services, ideally by teleworking, when possible (tasks must allow it and tools must be available). This means that essential and strategic functions such as payroll management, payments to suppliers, building maintenance and security, and other similar activities, must be fulfilled.

- However, considering the exceptional nature of the situation, the personnel may be required at any time for emergency measures, for example, for the extraordinary opening of a temporary daycare service , for the processing of pay, or for a preventive building inspection.

Post-secondary network

We would like your next internal communications to state that “Cégep campuses, colleges and universities are closed until May 1, inclusive. In the case of colleges and universities, this is intended for students and staff members, while considering all the instructions sent. Thus, for the period from March 14 to May 1 inclusive, all unnecessary teaching and research activities are suspended in the physical premises of universities, cégeps and colleges.”

We remind you that for these activities, as for the other activities related to necessary or essential services, it is for directors to take the necessary decisions to minimize the physical presence in schools and on campuses. Telework should be encouraged. Related activities such as rental of premises as well as sports and cultural activities are also affected by the closure. Staff must continue to perform work functions. Alternative solutions such as teleworking are encouraged, where possible.

2. What is a necessary or essential service?

It is up to each organization to define its plan for maintaining the necessary or essential services. As for the presence of personnel assigned to essential activities, refer to the answer to Question 1. You can also consult the following address: https://www.quebec.ca/sante/problemes-de-sante/az/coronavirus-2019/fermeture- places-publics-stores-services-covid19 /

3. Can construction or renovation work continue?

Until April 13, 2020, only two (2) types of work are authorized:

construction firms for emergency repair or for security purposes;
electricians, plumbers and other trades-persons required for emergency services.

4. Since the majority of schools have closed and maintenance staff (workers, janitors, etc.) are required only for essential services, are there plans to take measures to ensure the continuity of the work already planned in the buildings (lead testing, cleaning, painting, repairs, monitoring of renovation work, preventive and restoration maintenance, etc.)?

Until April 13, 2020, the instruction that all activities carried out in the workplace must be suspended also applies to this type of work. The situation will be reassessed in due course.
However, those stages of projects that can be done at a distance can continue (e.g. production of plans and specifications).

5. Do we have to pay our staff?

Yes. The salary is maintained for all staff with an employment contract.

For daycare services, refer to the ministerial decree 2020-004 by the Minister of Health and Social Services available at Quebec.ca/coronavirus.

6. Is it possible for pupils, students or staff to return to their educational establishment to collect personal effects? Can school directors provide accommodation measures in this regard?

The parents of preschool, elementary and secondary students may retrieve their child’s school material at the school according to an established schedule, to avoid gatherings, once the Santé publique will be permitted to put measures in place. This will be done according to very specific instructions and no initiative should be taken until then. It is important that parents wait for instructions from their child's school before going to the school.

7. Can public and private establishments offer online courses during this period?

Initiatives which can be taken in order to use means other than in-person learning to offer courses or remote support are not prohibited if technological solutions are available. These initiatives can be proposed, but they cannot be demanded.

The MEES will make educational material available to students on the Web and the digital tools that schools possess. Public and private institutions will be invited to transfer or enhance these for the benefit of their clientele. However, use of the tools made available to parents and students is optional and does not constitute an obligation. Work is also ongoing with Télé-Quebec for the dissemination of educational content.

8. The MEES has encouraged institutions to develop distance learning. How will MEES remedy the situation in the case of establishments and fields of study that cannot use this option?

As of March 30, 2020, parents and students of preschool, elementary and secondary will gradually have access to educational videos broadcast on public television, an online resource kit developed by partners (e.g. educational applications) and optional educational activities offered by schools. Starting April 6, 2020, activity suggestions will be offered to families, adapted to the age of the children, and by subject.

9. Can the MEES award diplomas to any cohort of students who have not taken their final exams, including ministerial exams?

The Minister may, when the circumstances so require, cancel the test and retain the marks obtained by the educational establishments as the final result. The current exceptional circumstances mean that the administration of ministerial examinations will be cancelled, and that the results of educational establishments will be considered for obtaining diplomas. The passage of students to the next level will be made according to the professional judgment made by teachers, according to results obtained beforehand by the students.

10. Will Emploi-Québec assume the costs related to cancelled activities (e.g. payment of instructors)?

This concern will be transmitted to the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Solidarity in order to know the modalities that will be applied for these grants.

11. Will you implement consultation measures within the network?

Yes. This consultation mechanism is already in place. Regular conference calls will continue to ensure efficient transmission of information and to discuss the needs that may emerge.

12. How do we govern ourselves in the management of gradual returns that were in progress or that are planned? For example, how should the remuneration of a teacher who was to be gradually returned next week at two days be applied ? Two days at 100% and three days at 85%?

In the context of the prevailing, exceptional situation, we are of the opinion that the person should receive the remuneration that they would have received, had it not been for the closure of the schools. That is, they receive 100% of their salary for the days they would have worked, and salary insurance benefits for the days they would not have worked. The planned gradual returns raise different issues (e.g. re-qualification period in the context where the employer cannot assess whether the employee is fit for work). The MEES is awaiting recommendations from the Treasury Board Secretariat on common guidelines for different sectors.

13. Will students have to resume suspended school time during the summer?

No. There is no question of extending the school year during the summer.

14. Will the government compensate losses incurred for the cancellation of school trips?

Currently, no compensation is planned. School boards must document all expenses caused by the current situation.

15. Should adult student internships be postponed?

For vocational training centers

Considering that training services are suspended, the training centers are not able to supervise work placements, and internships must therefore be suspended until further notice. Some will be declared complete and others will have to be completed.

For higher education

When the training settings have confirmed continuity, that students can progress in an environment where Santé publique instructions are respected, and that the students can carry out their training, for example by using teleworking, internships are possible. However, no student can be penalized for failing to meet requirements.

16. Should we expect paid planning time?

The paid planning time for childcare services provided for in the working conditions must be maintained.

17. Regarding the management of salary insurance, how do we deal with absences? Do we suspend the disability to pay 100% of the salary? If not, do we continue to request medical information as usual? 

Employees on disability must continue to receive salary insurance benefits during the closure period. If a return was scheduled on a date preceding the reopening of establishments, the person must receive their regular remuneration from that date.

18. Can a teacher assign homework to students?

Non-compulsory local measures may indeed have been put in place by certain schools or school boards. Moreover, teachers have room to maneuver under collective agreements and can therefore implement various initiatives.

The Minister of Education and Higher Education has asked the school network to quickly provide educational activities accessible through public television, the Web and digital tools available to schools. Use of the tools made available to parents and students is optional and does not constitute an obligation.

19. How do we govern in relation to the deadlines set out in the collective agreements (e.g. deadlines linked to the placement office)?

It is recommended to maintain the deadlines set out in the collective agreements. In special cases where maintaining a deadline proves unrealistic given the current situation, a flexible application can be considered subject to agreement with union associations.

20. What treatment should be applied for temporary employees ?

The general principle should apply to all temporary employees: provide temporary employees with remuneration based on hours already scheduled (known and agreed schedule) for the period from March 12 to May 1, 2020.

21. Will a substitute be paid?

The general principle should apply to all temporary employees: provide temporary employees with pay based on hours already scheduled (known and agreed schedule) for the period from March 12 to May 1, 2020.

22. Does the government plans to slow down or delay payment of subsidies indicated in the budgetary rules for private educational institutions accredited for purposes of subsidies?

No. The MEES will maintain payments according to schedule.

23. Can children with learning difficulties continue with their Individualized Education Plans (e.g. telephone, virtual tools, etc.)?

Whenever possible, it is recommended that the Individualized Education Plan be revised to adjust to this new school reality, prioritizing students with the greatest need. Remember that school administrators are responsible for developing Individualized Education Plans and monitoring them.

24. Is there a measure planned to meet the nutritional needs of children who need it?

Yes. The MEES is currently working on the implementation of universal food aid in collaboration with various departments and agencies, including the Ministry of Health and Social Services, food banks and the Club des petits déjeuners, with which MEES has a partnership since 2018-2019.

25. We assume that expenses related to COVID-19 are covered by budgetary envelopes announced by MEES, but we also know that enrollments for 2020-2021 will be considerably lower than expected from the summer session (which may even be cancelled entirely). What support will be given to institutions to continue their activities with this sharp drop in income (especially international students)?

For the moment, the funding granted by the MEES is based on the enrolment numbers. The MEES is working to ensure that payments are made in the coming months. In the meantime, if necessary, the MEES can authorize increases in the lines of credit for institutions. Note that MEES is currently analyzing the situation. Instructions are forthcoming.


HIGHER EDUCATION

26. What adjustments will be made to the student financial assistance program in relation to the crisis?

For the moment, no modification has been made to the student financial assistance program: the planned payments are maintained.

27. With regard to student reimbursement requests, do colleges have to respond to the request? Will the government help us in these cases? 

At this time no course is cancelled. The funding rules are maintained as planned. MEES is assessing the situation.

28. Can rapid adjustments be made to financial aid concerning the calculation of the aid currently paid to consider the reduction in income of beneficiaries following the crisis and job losses?

The income considered in the calculation of the 2019-2020 year is that of the 2019 calendar year. Thus, the fluctuations of the income of students in 2020 will be not considered for 2019-2020. They will, however, have repercussions in the calculation of 2020-2021, as the case may be.
However, the government has announced a suspension of all payments of loans taken out under the Loans and Bursaries Program and Loan program for part-time studies, for a duration of six (6) months.

29. How do we report a situation that does not respect the approach prioritized by authorities?

- The authorities prioritize collaboration and cooperation of the population with government measures taken in connection with COVID-19.
-The respect of civic mindedness and instructions issued by the government continues to be the most effective measure to counter the emergence of new cases.
- No decree or recourse to legal provisions obliges the police to punish (e.g. issuance of statements of offense or arrest) citizens violating government orders.
- Police remain vigilant and will continue to intervene according to the powers and duties framing their functions, as well as the intervention priorities that fall under the responsibility of the police force.
- Citizens are asked to not overwhelm the telephone lines of 911 emergency centers and the COG (Centre des opérations gouvernementales) to denounce gatherings. The lines must be free for emergencies.
- Information requests regarding COVID-19 should be addressed to 1-877 644-6565.
- The police services must prioritize their activities and use their resources efficiently in the function of the powers granted to them in the context of a health emergency. They may intervene in exceptional situations in support of the public security authorities as part of their mission.

30. Regarding the directives addressed to post-secondary institutions concerning the possibility of maintaining certain teaching and research activities, what is meant by "certain teaching and research activities?”

Some activities for training related to health care services can be maintained to ensure the provision of care, including nursing internships, externships and medical residencies, etc. Teaching activities, including grading, can also be done remotely.

As for that which concerns research activities, it is up to each institution to determine whether an activity is necessary or essential. For example, certain research activities could be maintained if the personnel and equipment made it possible to accompany or support health care services. This could also involve projects involving care of animals or plants, as well as cell culture.

31. Must the CEGEP compensate an employee (unionized or not) who refuses to appear on the
workplaces by invoking voluntary isolation?


If an employee informs you that they must isolate themselves voluntarily, you must:

- Question them on the risk factors at the origin of the isolation requirement and ask if this voluntary isolation has been instructed by a competent authority.
- If it is a personal decision not supported by a recommendation from a competent authority, but the risk factors seem serious to you, ask them to contact a competent authority to objectively assess their situation.
If the situation of voluntary isolation is not recognized by a competent authority, inform them that they must report for work. The personnel could be assigned to a place other than their usual location, namely their domicile. Alternative solutions such as telework are encouraged when possible. Naturally, the tasks must allow it and the tools must be available.
If the employee refuses to comply, they should be told that they will be subject to administrative or disciplinary measures.

32. Do we have to remunerate employees with special status (e.g. lecturers, occasional staff, personnel on replacement or for extra work, time-sheet workers, contract staff for non-credit training )?

The general principle should apply to all temporary employees: grant temporary employees pay based on hours already scheduled in (time known and agreed) for the period from March 12 to May 1, 2020.

33. Must a cégep pay an employee in compulsory isolation for 14 days who would otherwise have been required to perform work functions and departed for a trip abroad after March 16?

The Quebec government recommends cancelling non-essential trips. In addition, the federal government has announced the closure of Canada's borders, as have several other countries, including the United States. In the circumstances, few people are likely to find themselves in this situation.

If necessary, the situation should be managed on a case-by-case basis, always considering the recommendations in force, particularly in relation to the possibility of teleworking.

34. Does the suspension of courses apply to assignment submissions? Can teachers continue to request submissions, especially if these require access to laboratories or equipment present on campus?

Colleges are responsible for learning and evaluating training activities. In all cases, students should not be penalized because during that period they could not achieve what is expected or follow the changes in in teaching methods.

35. Are salaries maintained for lecturers even if no teaching is education is provided?

Contracts must be honoured, so salaries are maintained for teachers and lecturers.

36. With the announcement of the closure of the universities, will there be deadlines for the declaration of the 2019 fall quarter and the various amendments? Does Gestion des données sur l’effectif universitaire team intend to send instructions in this regard?

The MEES grants a delay until April 14, 2020, for the end of regular amendments for the 2018-2019 academic year and the end date for the Fall 2019 collection. For more information write to Gdeu-Pilotage@education.gouv.qc.ca.

37. Will the declaration of student enrollments for fall 2019 be postponed by a few days or weeks, compared to the date of March 31 initially planned?

The MEES grants a delay until April 14, 2020, for the end of regular amendments for the 2018-2019 academic year and the end date for the Fall 2019 collection. For more information write to Gdeu-Pilotage@education.gouv.qc.ca.

38. Will tuition fees be reimbursed for the period when the student would not have been present (ACS, private college)?

For the moment, the year has not yet been canceled. A response is therefore premature. Recall that, according to the present circumstances, the measures taken by the government concerning the cessation of activities of institutions in the education and higher education networks will end on May 1, inclusive. We will follow developments closely and inform you of the guidelines on a regular basis.

39. Should I continue to repay my student loan?

No, the government has announced a suspension of payment on all loans taken out under the Loans and Bursaries Program and the Loans Program for Part-Time Studies for a period of six (6) months. Interest will be assumed by the government.

No payment is expected during this period. There is no procedure to follow or justification to provide to take advantage of this exceptional measure, since it will automatically apply to everyone who has contracted a debt with Aide financière aux études.

40. We are concerned about the situation of international students on the territory. They are not eligible for loans and bursaries and will see their part-time work income decrease. We are verifying their eligibility for worker assistance programs, but are there any measures or directives to support them during this period? Are they covered for medical expenses to be incurred if they become sick?

For that which concerns the coverage of foreign students who are currently in Quebec, it is the responsibility of their jurisdiction of origin, as Quebec is responsible for Quebec students who are currently abroad. Nevertheless, Quebec is following the evolution of their situation with the help of the institutions.

41. As schools are closed, students in education (and in arts education) will not be able to complete their training sessions. Some courses will continue, but we fear that teachers who supervise the internships are not able to be present to assess the trainees.

The MEES is in discussion with the Association des doyens, doyennes et directeurs, directrices pour l’étude et la recherche en éducation au Québec (ADÉREQ) regarding the situation of students in education in order to find solutions.

42. Some members of our research staff (postdoctoral researchers, professionals, scholarship students) are remunerated by funds from granting agencies as well as from private sources. In many cases, these personnel need the infrastructure (laboratory, specialized equipment) to carry out their work. Does the MEES provide financial compensation to cover the costs incurred by the researchers who assume these research expenses ?

It is up to the institution to determine whether research activities are essential. More directions will follow.

43. What actions will the MEES take to continue to offer childcare services to parents who work in the health and social services network, as well as in essential services?

The current emergency childcare services will continue to be open and maintain a good capacity to receive.

44. What will be the remuneration of the staff? 

Refer to Ministerial Order 2020-008 of the Minister of Health and Social Services available at Québec.ca/coronavirus.

45. I would like my private establishment to offer emergency childcare services for the children of health network and essential services personnel. Is it possible? 

No, the schools authorized to open their doors for emergency childcare have already been identified. Other establishments are not requested at the moment.

46. Who are school emergency childcare services for ?

In a context where Quebecers are preparing for prolonged isolation, the Government of Quebec has expanded the list of occupations deemed essential that allow access to emergency childcare services.

The essential jobs and services that will allow access to emergency childcare as of March 18, 2020, are as follows:

- supply and distribution of drugs and pharmaceutical goods
- food inspection
- home services for seniors
- garbage collectors (waste collection)
- sanitary services (water treatment plants)
- government aviation services
- Ministry of Public Security (civil security and coroners)
- suicide prevention centers
- client communication center of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity
- Héma-Québec
- Transplant-Québec
- Red Cross
- Institut national de santé publique du Québec
- Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec

Here is the list of essential jobs and services for which access to childcare services emergency is already granted:

- all professions in the health and social services network
- pre-hospital emergency services (ambulance technicians, dispatchers)
- private offices of professional resources (healthcare network)
- community pharmacies
- intermediate resources and private residences for seniors
- providers of home services to seniors and who work for social economy enterprises providing home care
- employees of 811 and 911
- police
- firefighters
- correctional officers
- special constables
- educators and support staff of the emergency childcare services

Occupations are targeted by virtue of their direct and immediate impact on the safety and health of Quebecers. Access to the network of childcare services remains restricted to help ensure consistency with all government actions. The measure is put in place to allow you to work during the period during which educational establishments and childcare services will be closed.

47. Do school daycare staff have access to childcare services (0-5 years)?

These services are also available for staff responsible for providing emergency daycare.

Children under the age of four (4) can attend an educational childcare service. Children who do not occupy a place in a recognized childcare service will be able to obtain a place in a childcare service for the period covered by the state of health emergency. Children who already attend a daycare service can continue to attend it according to the usual schedule and conditions. More information is available at Quebec.ca.

For children aged four (4) who are not usually enrolled in school, they are accepted in emergency school daycare services. This is an exceptional service offered to those people who would have no alternative.
When in doubt, if the person comes to school to receive the service, the instruction given to school board directors is to not refuse anybody.

48. For childcare staff, what will be the working conditions? Remuneration? Seniority? Obligation?

- Remuneration: Refer to ministerial decree 2020-008
- Seniority: As provided for in collective agreements
- Obligation: Refer to ministerial decree 2020-008 of the Minister of Health and Social Services available at Québec.ca/coronavirus.

It is not intended to offer evening, night and weekend services, as parents of these children have already planned for these time periods.

49. Will school directors receive health files for the children who do not come from the childcare service?

When registering online, parents must specify whether the child has special needs and explain them briefly. They must also specify if the child has allergies, and which ones, if any. On the control sheet provided by the MEES and made available by the directors-general, a space is provided for staff to add these details if necessary. In addition, upon arrival at the emergency childcare service, parents are informed that they must provide their child's health insurance number, and a place is provided to indicate this on the control sheet.

50. Should distance measures be put in place if there are several groups in a school?

Yes, you are invited to respect the government guidelines regarding distancing.

51. Will children in emergency childcare have access to educational services, such as children who are at home because of the closure of educational institutions?

The tools that will be made available to parents and students will also be available to these children. However, their use remains optional and does not constitute an obligation.

52. Can't find the answer to your question?

Submit it to us at: faqcovid@education.gouv.qc.ca.

Quebec Schools to remain closed until May 1


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
 

Quebec Schools to remain closed until May 1
Parents understand the priority is the health of our students

Québec, March 22, 2020 — The Federation of Quebec Parents' Committees (FCPQ) and the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) welcome the government's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus in Quebec and understand the decision to extend the closure of schools.

“We have always prioritized academic success, but we are currently living in an exceptional situation during which everyone's priority must be the health and safety of our fellow citizens. Parents must contribute to the effort and follow the instructions of the public health department and the government, " said Kévin Roy, President of FCPQ.

"We appreciate working with the Minister, the ministry and education partners, during this tumultuous period of time, to find solutions to reduce the anxiety levels of our children and parents," said Katherine Korakakis, President of EPCA.

Facts:
   • Schools will be closed, minimally, until May 1, 2020.
   • The end of year ministerial exams are canceled and the missed school period will not be taken over.
   • Tools and details will be announced ahead of March 30 to allow parents to help their children maintain their skills. There will be no new
      learning during school closings and activities will be optional.

“The ministry has ensured EPCA that English educational tools will also be put in place to help support parents whose children attend English language schools,” said Katherine Korakakis.

“We are committed to relay parents' concerns and recommendations and ensure that the measures in place are accessible and equitable for all, and for students with special needs in particular," concluded Kévin Roy.

The FCPQ and EPCA offer their full collaboration to continue to work with their partners in the Education sector as well as with the Minister and the ministry of Education.

Profil de la Fédération des comités de parents du Québec (FCPQ)
La FCPQ regroupe, depuis 45 ans, les comités de parents des commissions scolaires du Québec et soutient les parents bénévoles soucieux de la participation parentale au sein des écoles publiques primaires et secondaires dans le but d’assurer la qualité de l’éducation offerte aux enfants.

English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) profile
EPCA is a coalition of parent committees from English-language school boards across Quebec, representing nearly 100,000 students in the English language youth sector.

Sources :

FCPQ
Stéphanie Rochon
Responsable des communications
Cell : (581) 985-7137
Email : communications@fcpq.qc.ca

EPCA
Katherine Korakakis
President
Cell : (514) 668-8672
Email : president@epcaquebec.org 

News resources

The Suburban -Parent leadership welcomes announcement of extended closure 

Appele Press Conference – EPCA President’s Speech

English Parents Committee Quebec

APPELE-Québec Proposes Path for Breaking Impasse on Bill 40

(February 3, 2020) – Montreal, QC

Appele Press Conference - EPCA President's Speech

Good morning everyone, let me first start by explaining who we are. The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) is a corporation funded by the government of Quebec. It represents all parents in Quebec whose children attend schools in Anglophone school boards. There is a clear consensus among those parents that the priority in education is about student outcomes: to prepare our children so that they will be ready to meet the challenges ahead.

Let's be clear! We at EPCA are representing the ones who have the most vested interest in the success of our students. Do we represent teachers, administrators, bureaucrats or school commissioners?

The answer is No! We represent the voice of the parents.

The 16 EPCA directors are elected from the Parents' Committees at eight of the nine English-language school boards in Quebec. Their opposition to aspects of Bill 40 is clear, and EPCA adds its voice to call for a comprehensive consultation as a prerequisite to any substantial educational reform.

For too long, the consumer has walked in the store ready to purchase bread, the store owner has taken the money and given the consumer a bag of chips. The consumer is then told that it’s more nutritious.

Are parents truly getting their money’s worth with regards to the education of their children?

EPCA asserts that parents want a high-quality bilingual educational system that will ensure its graduates flourish in Quebec and maintains that improved student outcomes should always be the focus of any reform regardless of language and election cycle.

We do commend the government for seeing the importance and necessity of returning greater control to the consumer, who are the parents.
We are however concerned about the transition and the resources to enable the parents to succeed in these new roles.
Other concerns are the students with special needs and of course students found in remote locations.

Change is good. Change is needed. However, it must emerge under the right conditions. We know that the many other stakeholders in the educational system also have views on how to improve it. Certainly, the most central player, the Ministère de l’Éducation, has a critical role in any reform. But we believe the proposed Bill 40 fails to go beyond the Ministère and its perspective on the system. Many of the needs for educational reform are not as evident on the Grande Allée as they are on Rue Principale. We urge the government to be courageous and open this process to all stakeholders across the province. The future of our educational system is far too important to be left solely in the hands of the bureaucracy.

All too often history bears witness against the practice of rushing policy.

Should this be done without critical thought by all involved, the cost will be heavy, the majority of which will be absorbed, not by the law makers, but on the children themselves and the ones with the most vested interest: the parents.

Resources
Appele press conference link
https://appelequebec.org/2020/02/03/appele-quebec-proposes-path-for-breaking-impasse-on-bill-40/

EPCA Press Release 01-15-2020

English Parents Committee Quebec

For Immediate Release

EPCA elects new leadership

(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722



(January 15, 2020) – Montreal, QC

The English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) elected a new executive during its Annual General Assembly last Saturday in Montreal.

Board members representing their respective school board Parent Committees elected outgoing Vice-President and English Montreal School Board delegate Katherine Korakakis as President, and Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board delegate Ailsa Pehi as Vice-President. Pierre Masson, Central Quebec School Board, was elected Treasurer.

Korakakis succeeds Rhonda Boucher who served as President for four years, thanking her fellow directors for their confidence. “I look forward to meeting the challenges that lie ahead and working with the diverse and dedicated board members who are the voice of parent stakeholders in Quebec’s English public education network.”

For 10 years, Korakakis has been responsible for the development of entrepreneurial initiatives and projects under the auspices of the Quebec government’s Quebec Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge
program. She has authored and co-authored guidebooks on entrepreneurship education and served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations. Serving as vice-president of PME MTL Centre-Ouest and on the investment committees of PME MTL Centre and PME MTL Centre-Ouest..

Pehi is a former Sir Wilfrid Laurier school commissioner and currently serves as Vice-President of the Sir Wilfrid Laurier Foundation, and board Vice-President of the non-profit Centre d’Activités Récréatives et Educatives which serves adults with physical disabilities.

With 16 delegates elected from eight English school board Parent Committees, EPCA has worked with Quebec organizations and associations helping support parent committees with their mandates since 2009. EPCA also helps train Parent Committees and represents stakeholders’ interests to the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur.

For more information contact: Katherine Korakakis (514) 778-3722

Press Release November 22, 2019 Bill 40

Montreal, November 22, 2019
The English Parents Committee Association (EPCA) is denouncing the paraphrasing used by the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge in the National Assembly yesterday on the comments made by EPCA Vice-President Katherine Korakakis during the parliamentary commission on Bill 40.

The Minister of Education used Ms. Korakakis’s statement in his own context. “The Minister of Education used my name to try and promote his bill in the National Assembly in the wrong context,” said Vice-President Katherine Korakakis.

“EPCA is not in favour of Bill 40 and if he had listened through the entire proceeding he would have understood our position as clearly as the other Members of the National Assembly on the Culture and Education Committee.

EPCA sees no added value to student success or to our community with this bill. It should be withdrawn and all education stakeholders should have a voice in the future of our extremely successful public education system,” concluded the Vice-President.

Annual General Assembly

Notice

English Parents' Committee Association

Annual General Assembly

(This event is by Invitation-only)


Date: Saturday, November 30th, 2019
Location: 2599 Blvd Alfred Nobel, Saint Laurent, QC H4S 0A9
9:00am Meet and Greet Breakfast
10:00am Annual General Assembly
12:30 Lunch
14:00 Strategic Development Session
On the needs of Parents’ Committees of Québec

A Vital Task for the National Assembly

Notes for remarks by

The English Parents Committee Association

Regarding Bill 40

To the

Committee on Culture and Education

National Assembly of Québec

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

The English Parents Committee Association demands high performance from our schools, teachers and administrators. As parents, our two prime concerns about any given education policy come down to:

1. Will it increase the graduation rate of Quebec schools?

2. Will it make our graduates better equipped to deal with the world?

EPCA is disheartened to see that the government put all its attention and resources into producing a bill that targets neither the quality of education nor the graduation rate in Quebec.

We have, however, taken note of what the government hopes to achieve with this bill, and we would like to offer some comments about these goals, as well as suggestions that might make this bill more effective at achieving its stated goals. In this process we hope that the bill may be amended to make improve educational outcomes.

1. Regarding the government’s goal of providing autonomy for schools and proximity to the community in decision-making: we appreciate and applaud the minister in wanting to bring the parents closer to the decision-making process. However, there are several aspects of the new model that raise concerns and problems for us, and may indeed undermine the stated intention of proximity to the community:

a. The new model provides no specifics regarding representation on the service centre Board of Directors of special needs, elementary, high school and vocational communities. Each of these sectors has its own characteristics and distinct needs and should be represented by parents involved with them. We believe the bill would be more effective if it is amended to specify this aspect of representation on the Board. At a minimum, it is urgent to ensure that a parent of a special needs student is included on the Board.

b. The new model, by contrast, provides very specific criteria for the community representatives who will replace the existing elected commissioners (i.e. one each from the financial sector, sports and leisure, human resources, etc.). We see it as highly unlikely that the people with these backgrounds are likely to step forward spontaneously to run for these positions, particularly in rural areas. Better that the criteria for community representatives be made less specific, and that these representatives be vetted and nominated by the community they serve.

c. For community representatives, there is also no provision for the cost of running a campaign, which will limit the pool of candidates to those who can afford this cost. Better that there should be clear provisions for reimbursement of campaign costs. This way, the diverse range of a community’s interests can be reflected in its representatives.

d. The parents in the territory of a service centre should form the electorate for the parent members of the service centre Board of Directors.

e. The parent members of the Board must also be members of the parent committee of the service centre. While other Board members are supported by their respective organizations and associations, parent representatives are lone agents in this new model. However, as members of parent committees, parent representatives would benefit (in terms of communications, proximity to other parents), and be able to provide more effective representation. 

2. Regarding the government’s intention to reduce bureaucracy, we fear that the outcome will be more likely a hollowing-out of the education system. This bill removes intermediaries between parents and the ministry that have helped us in the past to refine and play a more effective role in the governance of our schools. When there is consultation on new decrees by the ministry, it will fall to the Governing Board to do much more of this work, to go through documentation and articulate their responses. We believe it is important to maintain the existing consultative process through parents committees, as well as Governing Boards. Both parents committees and Governing Boards are being put in a position to fail, asked to do more without the resources or compensation to do this work effectively. 

3. Regarding the government’s intention to remove politics from education, we see the likely outcome as removing democracy from education.

a. While the English sector retains elections at large for community representatives to the service centre Board of Directors, this electoral process is enfeebled and attenuated. The school electoral list for the English minority previously used for this vote must be maintained, and it should be easy to get onto this list; a matter of showing up, identifying and voting.

b.We would have hoped to see the elections integrated with municipal elections, for example, and otherwise reinforced and helped to reach out to the community, rather than narrowing the base of the electorate and limiting the representativeness and legitimacy of these bodies. It is not too late for this Assembly to modify these details of the bill to retain and reinforce the community outreach of this electoral process that has historically been an important event in the English-speaking community. 

4. We come now to the government’s intention to save $45 million over the next four years. In our view, this saving is on the back of parents. The elimination of school commissioners and elections to make these savings will mean more responsibilities for Governing Boards, for example, but there is little recognition of what this means for the individuals in this volunteer ecosystem. We are all working in the system that educates Quebec children, from the Minister to the rookie parent on the local parent committee; but I ask you who are here today at this committee: how many of you could do your jobs effectively if you were working on a volunteer basis and paying your own expenses, your own babysitting costs? If you expect more from this part of the system, you must provide it with adequate resources and compensation.

To conclude, we note that this bill has not emerged from any white paper or clear intention to improve education in Quebec. It offers no metrics that matter to us, such as improving the graduation rate and the quality of education.

The existing School Board system is a community-based intermediary between the school and the Education Ministry, and an important institutional support to parents; and we see the new service centres proposed to replace them as having uncertain legal status, with leadership clearly answerable to the ministry before parents, teachers or administrators. Without amendment, this bill is a disaster for our schools and the communities they support.

We encourage this Assembly to look long and hard at this bill, and to be ready to amend it in the interest of the quality of education in Quebec. 

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