Parents and students in Quebec are preparing to head back to school in one week amid a wave of Omicron cases.
Adding to that stress, some parents of 12- and 13 year-old students say that, when it comes to the distribution of rapid test kits, they’ve fallen through the cracks.
“I feel like what’s happened since mid-December to now is like a raging inferno and it’s just adding more fuel to the fire unnecessarily, creating more stress unnecessarily,” said Katherine Korakakis, the president of the English Parents Committee Association (EPCA).
Once students head back to school on Jan. 17, the province’s education ministry will be distributing testing kits but for elementary students only.
Students aged 14 years and older can get them at a pharmacy like everyone else.
But those aged 12 and 13 years old who don’t fall in those two categories are in a sort of limbo. “In the lurch,” said Korakakis.
“Maybe it was a mistake, maybe it’s an oversight, whatever it is they should be remedied. These are easy fixes.”
Korakakis said she reached out to the Education Ministry but was disappointed with the response she received, that they could get tests at the pharmacy.
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“It would have been preferable that the government made an announcement so the public could know what to do when they had 13 year-olds,” said Korakakis, who says parents have been contacting her to ask what to do.
Pharmacies have also run out of tests.
A spokesperson for the education minister told Global News parents should claim their own test kits at the pharmacy and share them with their children.
“The priority is 5-11 year-olds who don’t have full vaccination,” said Florent Tanlet. “We don’t see a problem. Parents can go and claim their tests and share them. There’s nothing to correct.”
The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB) told Global News they will make sure anyone eligible to get rapid tests will get them but can’t do much more.
“We’re not the decision makers,” said Darren Becker, the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s spokesperson.
Becker encourages those who have a problem with the test distribution to write to the education ministry.
The Quebec Order of Pharmacists referred Global News to Quebec’s health ministry.