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Teacher at Montreal’s Vanguard School dies after contracting COVID-19

A source at the school confirmed Yvan Trépanier had died after contracting the coronavirus.
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Students and staff at Vanguard School in Montreal are in mourning after a teacher died after contracting COVID-19. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Jan 29, 2021

A teacher at Vanguard School, a private institution in the Saint-Laurent borough of Montreal, has died after contracting COVID-19, sources tell Global News.

In a letter, the school’s director-general Carolyn Coffin-Caputo informed parents of the death of Yvan Trépanier, who taught French, math, science and geography in the school’s French-language secondary division. Vanguard closed it doors for a last-minute pedagogical day Friday.

The letter did not directly address how Trépanier died, but a staff member at the school confirmed that he passed away after contracting the novel coronavirus.

The staff member indicated that Trépanier had pre-existing health conditions worsened after he became ill with the virus.

READ MORE: Quebec Superior Court begins hearing final arguments in trial over at-home learning

The same staff member said that it is believed Trépanier contracted COVID-19 outside of school and that the teacher had not been on campus since winter break began in December, something confirmed as well by another source familiar with the circumstances who spoke with Global News.

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Grief counsellors are being made available to students in both language divisions of the school.

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In a statement on its website, Coffin-Caputo says the school administration will not be commenting publicly about Trépanier’s death and did not address the circumstances surrounding his passing.

“The priority at the moment is to accompany our staff, our students and their families through these difficult times,” she wrote.

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said in a statement Friday afternoon that the ministry was informed “that it was not COVID-19 that led to Mr. Trépanier’s hospitalization” but not did provide more details.

“However, we have lost a member of the school system today and I am deeply saddened,” he said. “I take this opportunity to offer my sincere condolences to the family, loved ones, and colleagues of Mr. Trépanier.”

READ MORE: Quebec premier warns most lockdown measures to continue

Trépanier’s death, however, has raised concerns among educators in the province, which has been hard hit by the pandemic.

Heidi Yetman, president of the Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers, told Global News it shows there is the  possibility that a teacher can die from the virus.

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“Every teacher is a part of the big family,” she said. “And I know teachers across this province will be devastated to hear this news.”

Yetman said she hopes the Quebec government will look into Trépanier’s death and implement stricter public health guidelines in schools to protect teachers, staff and students alike.

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