Marwah Rizqy: put an end to procrastination in schools
“Stop not closing the door and open it!”: The liberal Marwah Rizqy is impatient in front of the procrastination of the Minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge.
Share October 2, 2020 Updated on October 3, 2020 at 6:34 am Share Marwah Rizqy: ending procrastination in schools
Olivier Bossé Le Soleil POLITICS IN QUESTIONS / Every Saturday, we shine the spotlight on hot political issues that have come under the magnifying glass of actors in the community or informed observers.
With more than one in five Quebec schools with at least one active COVID-19 case among its students or staff, tension is mounting especially in schools located in the red zone. A fierce and seasoned critic in education, Liberal MP Marwah Rizqy has been following Minister Jean-François Roberge relentlessly since the start of the school year, and even well before.
Q How do you assess the situation in the schools and do you fear another generalized closure?
A In the red areas, the situation is starting to be critical. I don't want to relive the school closure scenario.
We are still at 20% of schools that have a confirmed case of COVID, we have thousands of students who are already deprived of classroom instruction. When I compare to Ontario, their rate of confirmed COVID cases in schools is 5%. We are four times higher.
I hope the minister will take our suggestions, most of those I have made are based on the Ontario plan. They applied the school health corridor. The mobile screening clinic, a health team dedicated to the school network. They really prioritized the education network and went further in their measures to better equip schools.
Q Without a recommendation from Public Health to this effect, the Legault government does not force students to wear masks in class, whereas it is done elsewhere. What is your position?
A Not only Ontario requires it (from grade 4), but also Alberta and Manitoba, without color coding the regions. I have asked several times to understand why, in the environment of outbreaks in the red zone, Public Health does not ask. I still don't have an answer.
In August, when I asked to wear a mask at school when walking in the corridors, Jean-François Roberge and Dr (Horacio) Arruda (national director of public health) had said that it was not was not indicated. When I raised the contradiction that children aged 12 and over were asked to do so in closed public places, but not at school, a few days later, Christian Dubé (Minister of Health) and Dr Arruda had rectified the shooting.
At this point, it seems to me that Public Health should explain to us why other public health departments have gone as far as we do, when we have the worst record in Canada and our schools are the number one sign. in terms of infection, we have not taken such important measures for our schools, especially in the red zone and in the event of an outbreak.
Q Dr Arruda mentions problems with the transmission of the virus outside of classrooms, due to student gatherings at lunchtime or after school. Would it be wise to impose other restrictive measures related to schools and, if so, which ones?
A They responded to our request for better ventilation, better late than never.
When I look at the images, the mask is not often worn by the pupils outside even if the 2 m is not respected. If outdoor gatherings are a problem, make sure the mask is worn at this point and make sure to provide one if there is ever a problem with mask distribution.
And above all, the teachers, the school staff, are all overwhelmed. It takes more people in our schools just for disinfection. It's something that we keep asking for, support to clean our schools. You can't do this with one concierge per school. Ask teachers and speech therapists to be loaned to disinfection? No.
Q The teacher shortage existed before the pandemic. The government hopes to alleviate this shortage of personnel by soliciting retirees and is studying the idea of a general call for volunteering such as “I contribute”. Is it sufficient?
A It would be a great start, but they have to stop procrastinating! We made several suggestions. I say “we” because I am talking about the education trio of the three opposition parties (with Christine Labrie from Québec solidaire and Véronique Hivon from the Parti Québécois).
In April and May, we asked to do work-study groups and educational camps. The minister finally said yes, but five weeks later in the Maritimes. He said yes, but it was too late and the school principals cannot turn on a dime! It took too long before he said yes.
There, I contribute, it's a super good idea! Everyone is in agreement. School principals agree, teachers agree, even the minister says it's a good idea, “I'm not closing the door”. Stop not closing the door and open it!
I would even go further. We should have a dedicated team for online education. Retirees, generally in their sixties, are the population most at risk. I would invite them to be in support. We saw Alloprof overwhelmed with questions from students and parents during the first wave. Those who are more afraid of coming back to class because of COVID-19, ask them for online and phone support. Because we have remedial education and young people who need help after school to answer their homework questions.
Q You were the only one of the 28 elected Liberals to support a candidate other than Dominique Anglade in the leadership race of the PLQ. Since her appointment, Ms. Anglade has confirmed you in your teaching responsibilities, in addition to adding the Conseil du trésor to your files. Have you made peace or Madame Anglade prefers to keep her enemies even closer than her friends?
A For both of us, the race is more than over and our relationship is going very well. It's true that in other leadership races, it can continue after the end of the race. But not with us. I am quite frank and can assure you that it is over. I also benefit from a great deal of confidence (from the boss) in my files, no one is watching me or playing chaperone with me.
Q What about your own aspirations to one day become a chef?
R Dominique is here for a while, so we'll see later.