Opening of exceptional daycare services and specialized schools

31 December 2021

The FPSS-CSQ is imploring the government to give more consideration to school support staff

The day after the Caquist government announced new measures to counter the outbreak of the Omicron variant, the (FPSS-CSQ) is imploring the government to implement everything possible to “ensure the safety of personnel being asked to work in exceptional daycare services and specialized schools.

“Since 5 p.m. yesterday, we have received hundreds of messages from our members.  To say that they are worried and desperate is an understatement.  The situation is so critical that many are telling us they are questioning the rest of their career,” laments FPSS-CSQ President Éric Pronovost.  We need to listen to them!  For the past two years, they are the ones who have been at the forefront when the situation became critical in our schools.  The low salaries they endure in addition to working conditions that are more difficult than ever have contributed to a general malaise,” he adds.

School support staff working in Quebec earn an average annual salary of only $28,000.  “The shortage of qualified personnel was already hitting us hard in recent years… The longer the pandemic continues, the more people resign because the situation on the ground is unsustainable.  Our youth are more anxious and violent than ever.  The psychological distress is acute, and we don’t have the resources to help them.  Since it is school support staff who are called upon to manage each crisis, our members are exhausted,” says Pronovost.

Very concrete solutions

Within the context of the January opening of specialized schools and exceptional daycare services, the FPSS-CSQ is asking for three very specific measures to prevent a worsening of the breakdown of the services provided by school support staff.

  • Offer COVID bonuses to all school support staff who will be asked to work face-to-face, both in specialized schools and exceptional daycares.
  • Provide full protective equipment to all classroom support staff returning to work, including N-95 masks.
  • Prohibit students who do not have two parents considered to be essential workers from attending specialized schools and exceptional daycares.

“We have always supported recommended public health measures, but for us to continue to provide the services required of us, we need to be given the tools to do so.  We believe these three very simple measures could help,” says Éric Pronovost.