What is Normal? A response to the Quebec Government’s Back To School in 2021 plan

Montreal, Wednesday, June 2, 2021 — It is with reservations that the English Parents’ Committee Association (EPCA) receives the government's announcement today of the measures to be put in place for the start of the next school year. EPCA is very concerned about what this means for the children in the English-language school system given that it doesn’t appear to address all parental concerns about back to school.

“Getting to a new ‘normal’ is what everyone wants, but this should not be done without due consideration of all variables. There are no plans in place for vaccinations of students under the age of 12. What the Minister announced today is a full return to what was considered normal before the pandemic, which is problematic and unachievable in the near future,” explains Katherine Korakakis President of EPCA.

Although it is good news that high school student would return to normal if a 75% vaccinations rate are achieved, the province’s plan does not reflect significant concerns is lacking an achievable plan for students under 12, taking into consideration the fact that vaccinations for this age group have not yet been approved. The fact that this is not addressed leaves parents feeling like there is no strategy for this group other than to hope that all goes well. The thought of going back to the improvised decision-making by the government that we have had to endure for the previous fifteen months is deeply troubling. “Parents have had a hard fifteen months filled with anxiety. The uncertainty inherent in this plan, particularly the fact that there is no specific consideration for unvaccinated students under 12, does not help ease that anxiety,” concludes Ms. Korakakis. 

EPCA learned about these new provisions for the start of the 2021 school year from the media (in contradiction to what the Minister claimed this morning). As such, EPCA now calls upon the government to exercise caution and not to forget about the past fifteen months and return to schools as if the pandemic did not happen. Experiences over the past fifteen months must be considered and precise plans need to be put in place that consider all of the variables and possibilities. EPCA will continue to remain vigilant and work with parents and the educational system to ensure Anglophone children – and those looking after them in schools – remain safe.

For more information or for media contacts: 
Email: President@epcaquebec.org | Cell phone: 514 668-8672