As with primary and secondary schools, Quebec expects CEGEP and university students to return to campuses from January 17, but allows them to remain in distance learning until the end of the month. However, uncertainty persists for many students and teachers.
Published on January 7th
The Ministry of Higher Education reiterated this on Friday in a report sent to CEGEP and the universities: “in accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Public Health, everyone will be able to be in the classroom on 17 January.
But like universities that have already announced postponing their return to school for weeks (including the University of Montreal and Laval University), the government is planning higher education institutions that want a “transition period” that will allow them to stay in distance learning at the latest. until 31 January.
This ministerial slogan does not detract from the complexity of the situation at CEGEP, says Lucie Piché, President of the Federation of Teachers CEGEP (FEC-CSQ). There is “uncertainty” among the teachers preparing for their meeting.
We are in the same situation as the school network: no matter how much they tell us to prepare for January 17, people have trouble believing it because there is an explosion of COVID-19 cases.
Lucie Piché, President of the Federation of Cegep Teachers
Samuel Vaillancourt, president of the Quebec Collegiate Student Federation (FECQ), believes it is time for Secretary Danielle McCann to address the students.
“We have been told at the moment that it will be like last autumn, but we see that it is not adapted to the number of cases we observe each day. It’s very disturbing. How do we make campuses safer than they were last semester? asks Mr Vaillancourt, who is awaiting “concrete” announcements.
The government could use “very strong support” from CEGEP students to vaccinate to offer a third dose on campus or even hand out quick tests to students, he says. As a large part of the population, most of them have none in their hands.
Teachers also have “pragmatic considerations, such as the third dose and quick tests,” a few days before the start of the school year, says Lucie Piché.
“Few and controlled” outbreaks
The Ministry of Higher Education says it does not plan to introduce a vaccination passport to attend classes at CEGEP and universities, and recalls that last autumn there were “few and controlled” outbreaks in these facilities.
It’s true, says Samuel Vaillancourt, but the contagion of the Omicron variant changes the game. What are the plans for students who will have to isolate in larger numbers for 5 or 10 days due to symptoms? Are we planning anything for them? asks the president of the FECQ.
We want to avoid having a student who has symptoms or who is waiting for a test put pressure on them to go to their campus.
Samuel Vaillancourt, President of the Quebec Collegiate Student Federation
The start date varies depending on CEGEP in the province, but most will welcome their students by January 24 at the latest.
If the Fédération des cégeps indicated that Press that the “CEGEPs are preparing to restore presence” according to plan, the Regroupement des cégeps de Montréal notes that those scheduled to begin on January 17 plan to do so remotely.
CEGEPs and the University of Montreal meet regularly with the Montreal Regional Department of Public Health. The last meeting took place on Wednesday. We’ll have another in two weeks, “said Nathalie Vallée, president of the Regroupement des cégeps de Montreal. According to her, these meetings allow us to discuss case management in facilities.
Some CEGEPs have already informed their community that a “back-up plan” could be activated quickly to allow them to return to school remotely first. This is the case of Cégep de Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, where the start of the school year is scheduled for 24 January. In Cégep de Sherbrooke, we are preparing to return to the present from January 17.
In any case, some students have not been able to withstand the uncertainty caused by this new wave of COVID-19. In the face of fear of a new meeting that would be completely distant, some have already decided to cancel their courses, we say FECQ.
Number of public CEGEPs in Quebec
Number of CEGEP students in mainstream education
Source: Federation of CEGEPs