Though mostly smooth, the start of the Quebec school year hasn't been without challenges. Parents, teachers, and medical professionals have criticized the government for its reentry plan, which calls for class-groups where students don't need to wear masks or practice social distancing. And already, schools and regional health authorities have reported a number of COVID-19 cases among students and staff that have led to the at-home isolation of dozens of people.

It's this information that one Montreal father is trying to centralize in an online resource.

Covid Écoles Québec cobbles together media and citizen reports of cases at schools across the province.

Parents, teachers, and service centre workers are invited to submit to the site to share knowledge of new cases.

Site owner Olivier Drouin, parent of two high school-age children in Verdun, told MTL Blog that he's critical of education minister Jean-François Roberge's "current plan and its implementation" but "takes to heart the success of the return to school for our children."

Despite his scepticism of the school plan, Drouin says his goal is apolitical: to create an online inventory in the absence of government data.

The website states that it "aims to quantify the collateral damage caused by the Roberge Plan."

In a statement, Quebec's ministry of health confirmed that though it "has always made sure to disclose information about the pandemic" it "has not yet released official data on outbreaks in school settings."  

The ministry also would not validate the information on Covid Écoles Québec.

As of September 1, Drouin's site has recorded a total of 24 schools where cases have been reported.* The oldest report is from May.

A map on the website shows that the reported cases are concentrated in Gatineau, Montreal, Quebec City, and Sherbooke, with one reported case in the region of Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

A list of reports includes links to media reports and screenshots of emails from schools confirming local cases.

The ministry of health said that it does plan on publishing information on cases in school environments but did not state when that might happen.


*This article has been updated.


This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.

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