Q&A on Deconfinement – Update

21 May 2020

We have just received an update of the questions and answers on the deconfinement process produced by the MÉES. Here are the new and modified elements most relevant to school support staff.

Emergency daycares open until June 30 (Q12 modified)

Emergency daycares on the territory of the Montreal Metropolitan Community (MMC) and the metropolitan region of Joliette will be open until June 30.  There will be no emergency daycares in other regions.

Disinfection of water fountains (Q50 new)

The Institut national de santé publique (INSPQ) has provided answers related to this question. The CNESST has produced a daily checklist  for frequently touched surfaces.

Physical barrier between groups in a large room (Q62 new)

15 students per room remains the maximum number permitted.  There is an exception for very large spaces such as gymnasiums or others.  However, the space dedicated to each group must be separated by a physical barrier and no circulation between the groups is permitted.

School buses (Q118 to Q120 new)

Siblings are permitted to sit on the same bench, while respecting distancing from others.  The driver’s area must be cleaned and disinfected after every shift or when changing drivers.  Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected daily.

Refusal to work or request to telework due to the health conditions of a loved one (Q128 modified)

There are no exemption rules that apply to the health of loved ones.

However, school boards are encouraged to take these requests into consideration when assigning tasks, if possible, taking into account the fact that certain functions require presence in a classroom, while other tasks, such as assisting students who have remained home, can be performed very well remotely by telework.   For any time taken off work, employees must use the leaves provided for in their working conditions (e.g., vacation, leave without pay).  However, the use of sick-leave is not permitted and should be reserved for situations involving disability.

Refusal to work to care for a child with special needs (Q130 modified)

School boards must assess each situation based on its specific circumstances and are encouraged to analyze the possibility of allowing the employee to work from home.  If the situation is out of the employee’s control and the inability to return to work is justified, minimum salary will be maintained based on the established work schedule agreed to in the employment contract.

Refusal to work due to a lack of daycare spaces (Q149 modified)

School boards can consider the possibility of letting these people work from home.  The employee must provide a supporting document, for example, a letter from the school daycare. The Famille Québec Ministry refers to a list of resources.

Cyclical staff layoffs (Q152 new)

During the shutdown that began in March, given the uncertainty regarding the organization of work for the rest of the school year, the tendency was to grant compensation to employees based on already scheduled working hours (known and agreed to schedules).

Now that there are no more unknowns regarding school organization for the rest of the school year, human resource needs must now be assessed based on the services that must be provided, all this in compliance with the collective agreement.  So, school boards must manage their employment contracts based on their needs; which means that if collective agreements permit, hours of work and pay can be reduced and layoffs imposed.

People 70 years old or older who want to work (Q153 new)

School boards must assess the risk for the employee, the impact on essential services for the public and whether it is possible to ensure the protection of the worker.

Procedure to follow for those who cannot or refuse to attend school (Q154 new)

This procedure comprises various elements already published.  Please refer to the table in the document.

To view the 194 questions and answers