COVID-19 in schools and daycares: 48 hours for a response from Public Health in Quebec

Overwhelmed, the Direction de santé publique de Québec is struggling to respond within a short time to schools and daycares struggling with cases of COVID-19, which sometimes have to wait up to 48 hours before having the procedure to follow.

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There is fried food on the direct and yet priority telephone line reserved for the directors of schools and early childhood care services in the Capitale-Nationale.

Earlier this week, parents in Quebec were faced with the heartbreaking choice of sending their little one to daycare after an educator had tested positive for the virus, but without public health investigating.

Unable, Sunday, to reach anyone through the quick access line transmitted by the Ministry of the Family, the management of the Jardin Bleu Quebec childcare centers and the Maison des Enfants had to give temporary advice to parents.

“I didn’t have the chance to speak to a doctor on call at the Public Health investigation. I have to leave messages and I was not called back, specifies the principal, Nancy Drolet, in an email to the parents. At this time, I cannot prevent any child from attending the CPE. It is your personal decision to keep your child or to bring him back to participate in educational activities. ”

It was not until late Tuesday evening that the parents of the toddlers who attend the two daycare centers were able to be informed by the authorities. A second educator was placed in administrative segregation. Public Health explained to management that “a high number of investigations in the capital region” explains the delays.

It should be noted that the document sent to parents even contains errors, making numerous references to the school network. “The Public Health Department of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale confirms the presence of cases of COVID-19 at the school your child attends”, we can read.

The situation also affects schools. Informed last Thursday of a case of COVID-19 in a classroom, the management of the Séminaire Saint-François (SSF) asked the students in the group to stay at home preventively until “the situation can be assessed by the team of the Directorate of Public Health ”.

It was not until Sunday that the private high school received the procedure and passed it on to the parents. SSF leadership declined to comment on this.

The CIUSSS ensures that the protection of schools and daycare services is one of the priorities of Public Health.

“Given the high volume of screening results delivered these days, however, managers may be informed [par un parent ou un employé] of a positive case even before Public Health has obtained the information ”, however agrees the spokesperson, Mathieu Boivin.

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