As of Monday, students in Grade 9 in secondary schools across the province shifted to join Grade 10 and 11 students already working with a hybrid learning model in an attempt to reduce the number of students physically attending classes as the number of cases and outbreaks in schools continues to rise in Quebec. The move comes as families of students attending Chateauguay Valley Regional High School in Ormstown received letters on Nov. 1 explaining that someone who had been inside the school tested positive for COVID-19. The parents of students determined to be at a moderate risk of exposure were notified in a second communication issued by the school later in the day. The administration is now monitoring the situation closely in collaboration with the regional public health authority.
Stressful time for teachers
“I think all teachers and staff are finding it challenging,” says New Frontiers School Board Director General Rob Buttars. “We are aware and are trying to get more supports in for teachers.” The government also responded last week to the building demands on teachers by adjusting the 2020-21 school calendar to add three new pedagogical days to allow teachers extra time for planning and training. “We are doing well as a board,” says Buttars, “but the changes that are happening and the anticipation of change is a stressor.”
Preventive measures at Maison Russet
Employees at Maison Russet in Huntingdon were all tested for COVID-19 starting on Oct. 29, after a number of workers were reported to have tested positive for the virus. “There is no outbreak,” says Claudie Bonhomme, the culture and organization senior director for the company, which specializes in the production of sweet potato products for private labels.
Bonhomme says management with the company contacted the regional public health authority and it was determined the risk to employees was minimal and that there was no reason to consider shutting down operations due in large part to strict sanitary measures already in place. The employees who tested positive were all workers hired through an agency that come to work from outside the area. The individuals had only worked a few shifts in the days leading up to their diagnosis.
“We did not want to take any chances,” she says, explaining the decision to bring in the services of The Biron Group, a private medical laboratory, to test employees on site as a preventive measure. “Everything is under control here,” she insists, saying it was worth the expense to offer testing to all employees to be able to reassure everyone who works at the plant that the company is monitoring the situation very closely.
Outbreak over at CHCH
The outbreak at the Huntingdon Residential and Long-term Care Centre is now over and the hot zone closed.
According to an email sent on Oct. 27 to all residents and family members by Linda Ingenito, the director of the Soutien à l’autonomie des personnes agées program with the CISSSMO, all 12 residents and nine staff members infected by the virus have now recovered. The medical equipment and facilities in the designated hot zone have also now been cleaned and disinfected. A total of three residents died during the course of the outbreak, which started on Sept. 23.