Montreal parents, teachers question protocols as high school deals with COVID-19 outbreak

Click to play video: 'Parents and teachers calling for more coherent COVID-19 protocols in Quebec schools'
Parents and teachers calling for more coherent COVID-19 protocols in Quebec schools
WATCH: As schools across the province continue to deal with COVID-19 cases and outbreaks, parents and teachers are speaking out about the protocols put in place by the province. Global’s Felicia Parrillo explains – Sep 16, 2020

Students in five homeroom classes at Herzliah high school are in quarantine after an outbreak of COVID-19.

There are reports that 11 students and one staff member have tested positive, though the school would not confirm the number.

In a statement to Global News, the school said on Friday, Sept. 11, public health held a targeted one-day screening clinic at Herzliah high school.

READ MORE: Quebec raises coronavirus alert level for Montreal, other regions as situation becomes ‘critical’

“Students from several classes and their families were tested for COVID-19, while the remainder of the school’s students accessed their classes through our Online Learning Platform.”

“This week, the majority of our students are back in school, however five homerooms remain in quarantine and those students will be learning from home until the end of their isolation period.”

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On Wednesday, the government reported at least 410 coronavirus cases at 237 schools across Quebec.

Those rising numbers are weighing heavily on the minds of both teachers and parents.

READ MORE: Quebec teachers’ union suing government for info on coronavirus back-to-school plan

“Parents are on edge and they have been frankly even before the school year started,” said Katherine Korakakis, English Parents Committee Association.

Korakakis says one protocol that would lessen parents’ anxieties, is if they were allowed to know more information about the COVID cases in their children’s school.

“We know because of privacy issues, we can’t know the name of the student and rightfully so,” she said. “However, if parents could know the grade or cycle level — because let’s say it’s someone in sixth grade — well a sixth grader isn’t playing with someone in kindergarten.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Quebec students head back to school amid coronavirus worries

Meanwhile, the Quebec Provincial Teachers’ Association (QPAT) said there are conflicting directives on the ground.

“Each time a principal calls a health authority, that health authority person is going to give a specific directive and it depends on where your school is located, it depends on the agent that you talk too,” said Heidi Yetman, of QPAT. ”

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“So it’s inconsistent from school to school, and when there’s inconsistency and uncertainty — that creates anxiety as well.”

A recent and ongoing survey from the teachers’ association shows that almost half of their teachers are unhappy with the government’s COVID-19 protocols.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal-area parent, teacher call for mandatory masks in Quebec classrooms

“About 45 per cent of teachers don’t feel like the protocols in place are adequate — and that’s a lot.”

Global News reached out to the education ministry for comment, but have not heard back.

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