Even more so now that wearing masks in class won’t be mandatory.
“Basically, they’re putting the semester of students at risk.”
The ministry says it will be installing 90,000 CO2 readers in schools to measure air quality, but they won’t be ready when students head back to the classroom in a couple of weeks.
They will only be installed between September and December this year.
The province recently put out a call for tenders.
“For over a year, Mr. Roberge argued with us that COVID-19 was not airborne. For over a year we asked him to buy the CO2 detectors and air purifiers with HEPA filters and he said ‘nope.’ And finally, May 27, he just woke up and said, You know what? I’m going to buy a CO2 detector,” said Marwah Rizqy, Quebec’s Liberal Party’s education critic.
Rizqy suggests the minister took too long placing the call for tenders.
“The call for tenders was five weeks later and the due date to close that call for tenders is Aug. 16, seven days before the back-to-school. So, no, he wasn’t ready for the back-to-school.”
In a press conference Wednesday, Quebec education minister Jean-Francois Roberge said schools are safe and that “it’s time to stop fear campaigns.”
Roberge says they’ve worked on improving ventilation systems this summer, made efforts to clean and renovate systems, to fix windows and install air exchangers where needed.
The debate over air quality in schools has been going on for months in Quebec.
Back in January, Quebec’s health ministry released the results of studies looking into how ventilation affects the transmission of COVID-19.
Around three per cent of classrooms tested showed problems and around two-thirds of schools in Quebec don’t have mechanical ventilation systems.
It means they rely on opening windows for proper circulation, which was an issue during the winter.
Some school boards purchased and installed their own air purifiers.
Roberge says that Quebec is in a better position now than we were in last year.
“We will have those CO2 tools to measure the rate. We have the vaccine and we have the experience,” Roberge said. “We are able to adjust if we have to do so, to follow some new recommendations coming from public health.”