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Quebec teachers ask provincial government for more information about volunteering efforts

Teachers and parents are circulating a petition demanding Quebec change its history curriculum, Tuesday, May 2, 2017.
Quebec teachers are asking the government to provide more information regarding its call for teachers to volunteer as the coronavirus crisis deepens in the province.  Monday April 20, 2020. Global News

Quebec teachers are asking the provincial government to provide more information regarding its call for teachers to volunteer as the coronavirus crisis deepens in the province.

When the CAQ government called upon teachers in health sciences and nursing to lend a helping hand in the health sector, some educators were alarmed.

“A lot of teachers have left the health sector because they have a medical conditions or they were fed up with the health sector,” said Heidi Yetman, the president of the Quebec Provincial Teacher’s Association (QPTA).

“Will they lose their job if they don’t volunteer?” Yetman said teachers were asking.

READ MORE: Quebec premier calls for help to staff nursing homes as coronavirus death toll climbs

One of the answers they do have is that it’s not an ultimatum.

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“The initial fear was that this would be a full redeployment, but I am happy to see that it remains strictly voluntary,” said Matt Wilson, the president of the Pearson Teacher’s Union.

However, many other questions remain, Yetman said.

“There’s no clarity in terms of what the government wants — there doesn’t seem to be much communication between the ministers,” she said.

Yetman said she has asked several questions of the government, but no answers have been provided.

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The lack of information is even tougher for the English-speaking community, she says.

“One of the biggest problems is that the directives are not translated [from French to English],” Yetman said.
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READ MORE: Quebec schools won’t reopen on May 4 amid coronavirus pandemic: François Legault

Yetman says the issue boils doing to the fact that each board is translating and interpreting directives differently.

“This is an emergency situation and we need that the directives are clear.” Yetman argued.

“We’re not all hearing the same message.”

Yetman says she’s had to write several blog posts and publish videos to reassure teachers.

READ MORE: Pre-existing staff shortages exacerbating situation in Quebec long-term care homes

As far as Yetman and Wilson know, there haven’t been any deployments of teachers to the health care sector, except for those teachers who already held part-time positions. According to Yetman, they are now working full-time.

Global News reached out to Quebec’s education ministry but at the time of publishing is yet to hear a response.

Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec nearing 20,000 cases of COVID-19 province-wide
Coronavirus outbreak: Quebec nearing 20,000 cases of COVID-19 province-wide