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Quebec nixes fall report card in elementary and high schools due to coronavirus

A student is greeted at the Philippe-Labarre Elementary School in Montreal, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020.
A student is greeted at the Philippe-Labarre Elementary School in Montreal, on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Elementary and high school students in Quebec will only receive two report cards instead of three this academic year due to the novel coronavirus health crisis.

The province’s education ministry announced the decision Thursday to drop the fall report card, saying the goal is to lighten the workload of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic and offer more support to students in need.

Under the plan, there will no report card in November but parents will receive an update on their child’s progress by Nov. 20.

The first report card is due by Jan. 22, 2021 and the last will be distributed to students no later than July 10, 2021.

Parent-teacher meetings can still go ahead as planned in November — but how that happens depends on the public health measures in place. A second meeting should be held in the spring, between the two report cards, according to the ministry.

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READ MORE: Quebec makes masks mandatory for high school students in coronavirus red zones

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“It is essential to allow quality exchanges and feedback that will promote learning that consolidates school-family collaboration,” the ministry said in a statement.

The province’s changes also mean that ministry exams for elementary school students and high school students in cycle one (grades 7 and 8) will count for 10 per cent, instead of 20.

Quebec’s decision to reduce the number of report cards come as new sanitary measures took effect Thursday for high schools in designated red zones, including Montreal and Quebec City.

In those areas, masks are now required on school grounds and classrooms to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Changes to report cards welcomed by teachers’ union

The Fédération autonome de l’enseignement (FAE), a union federation which represents about 49,000 teachers across the province, is pleased with the decision to suspend the fall report card.

It says that teachers are facing “unprecedented pressure” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including applying health measures and helping students who are pursing remote learning.

Nixing the fall report card will also help students as they navigate learning during the health crisis, according to the union.

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“Eliminating the first report card will allow many students to make up for some of the backlog and allow teachers to focus on their primary mission, which is to teach while adapting to the new realities they are facing,” said FAE vice-president Nathalie Morel in a statement.

The federation, however, says that changing the worth of ministry exams does not reduce teachers’ workloads. It says that 55 per cent of teachers it has surveyed want ministry exams to be cancelled for the school year in the context of the pandemic.

Click to play video 'Mandatory mask-wearing in Quebec high schools comes into effect Thursday' Mandatory mask-wearing in Quebec high schools comes into effect Thursday
Mandatory mask-wearing in Quebec high schools comes into effect Thursday – Oct 8, 2020