7 May 2020
The government has (quietly) modified the school daycare ratio from one educator per ten students (1:10) to one educator per fifteen students (1:15), and the Fédération du personnel de soutien scolaire (FPSS-CSQ) is demanding an explanation.
“Yesterday morning we were told it was important to respect the 1:10 ratio to ensure the safety of children and staff. Last night, five children were added to each group because Public Health now says it’s OK?” says FPSS-CSQ President Éric Pronovost.
“With schools presently closed, we are already having trouble enforcing distancing in the emergency daycares with a ratio of 1:10. Imagine what it will be like with a 1:15 ratio in a half-full school. But above all, we want to know on what basis did Public Health decide to change these guidelines,” says Pronovost.
This is why the FPSS-CSQ is urging the government to make public the studies and data which Public Health is using to justify the change in daycare ratios.
“If they don’t make this data public, Public Health will once again be asking us to take their word for it. After several flip-flops from the government and two months into this crisis, it is time they provide evidence to back up what they are saying. The health of staff and children is at stake. Especially since this change comes two days before the reopening of schools, magically solving the manpower shortage the government is faced with. It’s safe to say we are entitled to ask questions,” says Pronovost.
It should be understood that the context of a class is not at all the same as that of a school daycare service, where children are expected to move, play and be more spontaneous. “If we are not reassured about the merits of these modifications and everyone’s safety, I do not see how we can continue to reassure and encourage our members to collaborate,” says Éric Pronovost.