The government has announced a plan to gradually reopen daycares and elementary schools but some residents are pushing back. A petition on Change.org asks officials to delay all Quebec school openings to September. It has already garnered over 250,000 signatures.
A September opening for primary schools would put them on the same schedule as high schools, cégeps, and universities, which will not welcome students back until the beginning of the fall semester.
"It would be unacceptable to endanger the lives of children and young people by opening daycare centres and schools in May," the petition states.
"Let us make the Government of Quebec realize that opening schools and daycare centres in May is unrealistic and dangerous for children, families, and their caregivers."
At the announcement of the gradual reopening, however, Legault stated that his government is moving forward with the knowledge that "serious consequences for children, even for those under 60, are limited."
Attendance will also not be mandatory.
The Premier previously stated that "it would not be a good idea to wait until September 1 to return 1 million children to schools at the same time" and risk a second outbreak wave.
But petitioners argue that "we must contain the curve and wait until the situation has improved."
"Since children are vectors of the disease (very often asymptomatic), they will bring the virus home and infect the parents, who will, in turn, infect other adults!"
On rouvre les écoles et les services de garde pour des raisons sociales et parce que la situation est sous contrôle… https://t.co/BVMrxWupVM— François Legault (@François Legault) 1588020436.0
They also say the "rules of distancing in schools are almost impossible to respect."
"Economic pressure should in no way take precedence over health," they conclude.
Teachers' unions in Quebec have also expressed reservations about the government's plan to reopen in May.
The Fédération Autonome de l'Enseignment (FAE) has outright denounced the decision, citing a lack of consultation with educators.
A Message From QPAT President Heidi Yetman: Monday April 27, 2020 https://t.co/Q7XnwvX2fZ https://t.co/pkupJeao2j— QPAT/APEQ (@QPAT/APEQ) 1588040012.0
Both Legault and his deputy Geneviève Guilbault have made clear that the government is prepared to intervene and postpone openings if evidence shows that it has a negative impact on the health of the population.
Closing schools for covid-19 does lifelong harm and widens inequality https://t.co/munTPMisn5— François Legault (@François Legault) 1588109211.0
Stay tuned for more news.