School information, important communications, MEES Press Releases, and useful links for parents and our community.
August 12, 2020
At a press conference held in Montréal on August 10th, the Minister of Education, Mr. Jean-François Roberge, announced the government’s “Return-to-School” plan. He was accompanied by Minister Christian Dubé and Dr. Horacio Arruda.
Dr. Arruda reminded everyone that the virus is still active and there may be a second wave of the pandemic. All must continue to respect and follow the health and safety guidelines. Furthermore, as of August 10th, children aged 10 and over will also be obligated to wear a “face covering” when using public transport or in public spaces.
Letter from Minister of Education
Back-to-School & COVID-19
The ABCs of a Safe Start of the Year in Preschool and Elementary School
The ABCs of a Safe Start of the Year in Secondary School
All information related to the “Return-to-School” plan can be found on the following link: https://www.quebec.ca/en/education/back-to-school-plan-fall-covid-19/
EXEMPTIONS ALLOWING FOR DISTANCE EDUCATION
According to Ministry directives, in order to be eligible for distance education, your child must have a medical note exempting them from physically attending school. This medical note must make direct reference to your child, naming them and stating that they cannot be present at school. The medical note cannot solely state a parent’s medical condition, for instance. If you have not already submitted it, the medical note must be sent by email to email@example.com as soon as possible.
Guide de la rentrée du CHU Sainte-Justine (French only)
Riverside Q & A
- Does my child have to wear a mask to take the bus? Santé publique recommends that all students wear a mask. However, it will be mandatory for Grade 5 & 6 and high school students only.
- Do the bus drivers have to wear a mask or visor in order to protect my child? The bus drivers that have a Plexiglas or dividing wall on their busses will not need to wear a mask or a visor. Bus drivers of busses that do not have Plexiglas or dividing wall will have to wear a mask or visor.
- Is there a Plexiglas between the driver and the students? Some busses will have and some busses will not. It depends on the transportation company. Bus drivers of busses that do not have Plexiglas or dividing walls will wear a mask or a visor.
- Will there be hand sanitizer available on the busses? Yes, but we are asking parents to make sure their children’s hands are washed before taking the bus.
- Will my child be refused if he or she forgets to wear his or her mask? Bus drivers will have disposable masks available on their bus (for first time oversight/exceptions only).
- When will I receive the Transportation Notice? This week. For your child’s bus number, stop, and time, the information can be found on Mozaïk Portail Parents, under the transportation tab.
- Will the desks be 1,5m apart in the classroom? No. Public Health is not requiring social distancing in the classroom itself. The student will be in the same class grouping every day. Students in the same class grouping are considered as brothers and sisters at home.
- Will my child keep his mask all day long? Once the students are in their classrooms, elementary school students (Kindergarten to Grade 4) may remove their masks. Students who want to keep their mask on all day long will be able to do so. Grade 5 & 6 students in elementary and high school students need to keep their masks all day.
- Will Plexiglas be installed on the students’ desks? No, but if parents want to purchase one, on their own, for their child, they may do so. Riverside will not sell or loan dividers as they are not mandatory or recommended by Santé publique. Please note that it will be the student’s responsibility to install and clean their portable divider. (The dividers cannot be anchored in any way, only placed on the desk).
- Will teachers be teaching with a mask on? Teachers will wear a mask in class if in proximity to a student. Otherwise, the teacher will keep the 2m distance with students and will not be required to wear a mask to teach. Some teachers may decide to wear a mask all day, but it will be their personal choice or for a specific reason (age, vulnerable people living with them, etc.)
- More information regarding wearing a mask or a face covering.
- What will happen if my child is in a special program? The class grouping will be respected. For sports programs, we will respect every sports organization’s directives (there are directives for each Sports Federation).
- Will the cafeteria be open? Depending on the schools and if possible, hot lunches will be available for students and will be delivered in their class. Depending on the school, some cafeteria may be open when social distancing is possible. Your children’s school will inform you.
- Can my child use the microwave? No. We ask parents & students to bring cold lunches, as microwaves will not be available.
- Can my child leave school premises to have lunch or go outside? Depending on the school and if possible, yes, secondary 4 & 5 students will be able to leave (mask on when leaving and entering the classroom). Your children’s school will inform you.
- Will there be garbage bins available in the classrooms? Ideally, students should bring back wrappers, juice boxes, plastic bags, etc. with them in their lunch boxes at the end of the day.
- Will students be able to have a gym class? How will this work? Students will have gym class outside as much as possible. Different activities will be coordinated for different classes. Gyms & equipment will be disinfected every day and after every group. Schools will inform parents about the specificities.
- How will the students change into their gym uniforms? We ask that students wear their gym uniforms on the day they have a gym class. Changing rooms might not be available.
- For more information: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/answers-questions-coronavirus-covid19/gatherings-activities-covid-19/#c58763
- Will my child be able to use the school library? No. The library may be used by some schools/classes for educational activities, but will not be open for students to use directly. We would remind you that all students have access to SORA, our Riverside digital library.
- Who will provide distance education for my child who is medically exempt from physically attending school? Distance education will be provided centrally rather than by individual schools. Teachers assigned to distance education will follow the Québec Education Program (QEP) as for all other students.
- What are the medical exemptions that will allow my child to be provided with distance learning? Students whose health is such that a physician has determined it would be too great a risk for them to attend school, or for whom a parent is considered at high risk. Doctors have received directives from the Ministry regarding exemptions from physically attending school. Contact your doctor to get more details.
- What should the note state? According to Ministry Directives, in order to be eligible for distance education, your child must have a medical note exempting them from physically attending school. This medical note must make direct reference to your child, naming them and stating that they cannot be present at school. The medical note cannot solely state a parent’s medical condition, for instance. If you have not already submitted it, the medical note must be sent by email to Lori O’Flaherty (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible.
- Can I decide to homeschool my child? Yes. It is a decision that parents can make for their children. An application is made to the Ministry. Homeschooling means that parents are choosing to remove their children from the school system. Homeschooled students are not supported by the teachers within the school they were attending and do not maintain their place in that school. Parents of homeschooled children are making a decision to find alternate means for teaching and learning, and are ultimately responsible for their child’s education.
More information: http://www.education.gouv.qc.ca/en/school-boards/support-and-assistance/homeschooling/
- Will we be informed in case there is a COVID-19 positive case in a school? In the event that a school is informed of a confirmed COVID-19 case in their school, Santé publique will accompany the confirmed person and their family as well as the school team on the appropriate steps to be taken. In preparation for this, Santé publique has prepared thirteen letters to respond to various scenarios that could occur in a school context. They will provide schools with the appropriate letter to inform the afflicted members of the schools. In the spirits of transparency, the goal of these 13 letters is to keep our parents and our community well informed. Schools will not control the communication; they will be accompanied and directed by Santé publique in all matters related to communicating with the population. In the case of a confirmed case in a school, Santé publique will work in collaboration with the school to analyze the situation. They will remain involved with the school team for approximately one month covering the afflicted person’s quarantine period and for two weeks following their return.
- Why can’t Riverside offer the choice of distance learning to all students? According to la Santé Publique, being kept at home has a higher negative impact on the children than being exposed to COVID-19. That is why, at this point, the government is only allowing school boards to offer distance learning to students with a medical exemption.
- Why can’t Riverside make masks mandatory in class for the safety of our children? Regarding health matters, we have to follow the directives of la Santé Publique and CNESST. We do not have the authority to go beyond their directives. We can recommend it, but we cannot impose it.
- Is the air quality in our school safe for our children? At RSB, we understand the importance of ensuring good indoor air quality in school buildings to guarantee the safety of users by providing adequate ventilation in occupied spaces. In that respect, we are complying with the guidelines in the reference document regarding air quality in educational institutions in Québec as well as the guidelines in the Guide d’entretien des systèmes de ventilation en milieu scolaire, responsabilités et bonnes pratiques, issued by the MEES.
Adequate ventilation of indoor environments is an effective management measure for indoor air contaminants. RSB is putting forward the INSPQ (Institut national de santé publique Québec) and CNESST recommendations in increasing the fresh air intake volume of mechanical systems and having them operate 24 / 7 instead of only when the schools are occupied.
The maintenance of the systems, namely the filter replacement, will also be increased from twice a year to a minimum of three times in the school year.
For the naturally ventilated classrooms, the RSB procedure is to open windows for 15 minutes, 5 times per day. That procedure is higher than the suggested minimum ventilation rate of three times per day recommended by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). It is also appropriate to mention that the windows of our schools are in good working order and attended to when in need of repair.
For more details, you will find the INSPQ site link for the Q&A on COVID-19 indoor ventilation as well as the MEES documentations.
Public Health Directives
Anyone returning from a stay outside Canada, including cruise passengers, must self-isolate for 14 days. Such isolation covers both travelers who are sick or display symptoms and those who do not have symptoms and are in perfect health. All individuals who are returning from outside Canada and are in self-isolation at home must abide by the instructions on returning home from abroad. More info here