Ministerial decree: “It does not affect teachers”
School boards stirred the uproar on Wednesday evening by issuing a ministerial decree stipulating that any employee in the education sector could be called upon to perform tasks other than those provided for in collective agreements.
But for the president of the Haute-Yamaska Teaching Union, which represents the teachers of the Val-des-Cerfs school board, there is nothing to worry about.
“Logically, it doesn’t affect teachers,” says Sophie Veilleux. The goal is not to make the teachers plumb or send them to the CHSLDs! ”
The goal is to “ensure that we can set up adequate childcare for people working in essential services” such as nurses, pharmacists and police, she said.
If there is a shortage of child care workers, the teachers could be called in as reinforcements because “the priority is to maintain services”.
Ms. Veilleux acknowledges that the measure “could possibly apply to teachers”, if there is a lack of educators, but they “would be used as a last resort” and first on a voluntary basis.
The situation is still “worrying” in the eyes of Eric Plourde, president of the Haut-Richelieu Teaching Union, which represents the teachers of the Hautes-Rivières school board, because collective agreements are in one suddenly changed.
“Without our collective agreements or our social safety net, what do we do? “, he asks.
Back to school … virtual?
With regard to the continuation of school activities, the question of possible courses given via the internet is also discussed in Quebec, as is the outright cancellation of the school year.
“Right now, there are a lot of hypothetical situations,” said Paméla Blouin, communications coordinator at the Val-des-Cerfs school board, by email. We prepare under different scenarios. However, we must wait for the next ministerial directives to confirm our actions. ”
She adds: “Our energies are currently deployed to ensure the functioning of emergency measures and essential services, including school emergency childcare services. The educational services and school administrators are also considering online educational resources which could be suggested to parents in the event that the closure of educational establishments is prolonged. ”
Val-des-Cerfs does not give a telephone interview, writes Ms. Blouin, since “the situations are still hypothetical with regard to the events after March 27”.
The SEHY president deplores the fact that the school board cut communication channels during these times of coronavirus crisis.
“I am answered, but to tell me that there is no answer,” says Sophie Veilleux.
She noted that several teachers are supply teachers, on a contract or supernumerary basis and that they are worried about knowing the rest of things since they are not currently paid.
“I am told that there are more urgent things to deal with. But they also have bills to pay. ”
All educational institutions in Quebec are closed at least until March 27; full-time teachers remain paid.