The head of the implementation of rapid screening tests in schools, Daniel Paré, plans to have equipped all establishments in Quebec “fairly quickly” this fall. Discussions with Ottawa, which provides the screening equipment, focus on an amount sufficient to perform “one test per class per day.”
“It will unfold fairly quickly during the fall,” explained Daniel Paré in an interview with To have to. Responsible for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, he was entrusted on Tuesday with a new mission by the Legault government: that of putting the implementation of rapid screening tests in schools back on track, which began on a wrong note this week.
School principals deplored the “chaotic” arrival of the tests, with instructions received at the last minute, missing equipment and a shortage of staff to do the tests. Daniel Paré and ministers Christian Dubé (Health) and Jean-François Roberge (Education) assured Tuesday that they intend to make all the necessary adjustments to the implementation of tests in schools.
It’s going to roll out pretty quickly over the course of the fall
These rapid tests, the results of which are available in 15 minutes, are done by inserting a cotton swab into both nostrils. Only students with symptoms of COVID-19 are tested. The goal is to limit class closures and the number of students sent home: only those with a positive test are placed in isolation.
A new “mess”
The appointment of Daniel Paré was all in all well received in the school network. The opposition parties in Quebec, however, deplore the laborious beginnings of rapid tests, which they consider to be a new “mess” in education. This controversy is added to those surrounding ventilation in schools, 4-year-old kindergartens established in the midst of a staff shortage and the reform of school boards.
“The last few years have shown us that the Ministry of Education is too big a responsibility for Jean-François Roberge. I don’t think he has the necessary leadership to take on that role, ”said MP Christine Labrie, of Solidarity Quebec.
Véronique Hivon, from Quebec Party, believes that the ball is in the court of the Prime Minister, Francois Legault, who must stop defending his protege, according to her. “Whenever there is something to implement in schools, it is systematically improvised, disorganized, it is chaos. It is Mr. Legault himself who must answer for that, ”she said.
Liberal education critic Marwah Rizqy is also very critical of Minister Roberge and the government. “We have been saying for a year that we need rapid tests in schools. It is needed everywhere in society. We need to provide it to parents so that they can test their children at home, ”she said.
Minister Roberge defended his record in a message on Twitter : “We are proud to have taken all measures to keep our schools open while protecting the health of students and staff. We are staying the course, listening to the people on the ground and making the necessary adjustments. We do it for our children. “