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Quebec adds 3 pedagogical days to school calendar due to COVID-19 pandemic

Click to play video 'Quebec government adds three more pedagogical days to school calendar' Quebec government adds three more pedagogical days to school calendar
WATCH: Between now and the end of the school year, Quebec teachers will have three additional days dedicated to planning and training as the covid19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc. As Global's Felicia Parrillo explains, the added days come as welcome news to elementary and high school teachers across the province. – Oct 29, 2020

Quebec is adjusting the school calendar for the year to add three pedagogical days that will give elementary and secondary teachers time for training and planning.

This decision was made “with the aim of promoting the academic success of students in the context of the pandemic,” said Education Minister Jean-François Roberge in a statement issued Thursday.

“I wish we had had them at the beginning of the school year, to give teachers more time, but it does give teachers more time to plan and catch up,” said Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers (QPAT).

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The government says school staff will be able to use these days to improve their skills in new teaching methods as well as acquiring new skills needed for technological tools and distance learning.

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“We decided to give three days of training to the teachers in order for them to be better trained, using not only teams and zoom but also having exchanges with students that are at home,” said Quebec Premier François Legault.

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The province says it will also give teachers time to plan the months to come “in a context where distance education services are part integral part of the current educational landscape.”

Though the extra time is good news for teachers, they feel like the government is backpedaling.

The extra days was something unions called for before the school year began.

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“I think the government, the education ministry, is finally hearing what teachers have been saying all along,” said Matt Wilson, president of the Pearson Teachers Union. “And instead of acting proactively, as we had asked them to do, they’re acting reactively.”

The English Parents’ Committee Association is also welcoming the news. They believe if teachers are being given time to improve their skills that can only be beneficial for students.

“There’s too many discrepancies right now with teachers’ abilities online,” said Katherine Korakakis, president of the English Parents’ Committee Association. “So if we could just get everybody up to speed with the same type of knowledge, then it’s just going to benefit everybody.”

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School service centres and schools will be able to use these pedagogical days at the time of their choice and according to their respective needs, according to the province.

In order not to penalize parents, daycare services for these three days will be offered free of charge to all preschool and elementary-age children who usually attend daycare.

These three days must take place by the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise and Felicia Parrillo.