Better School Conditions

Better School Conditions

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Hailey Zaltzman started this petition to François Legault and

During this stressful time of the global pandemic, school is the only social time that students are able to have. At our school, Villa Maria, we currently have 2 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Villa Maria is a great school. Students are shocked and feeling overwhelmed with the poor protocol standards to prevent an outbreak. We as students dont feel in a safe environment, which we're sure most schools across Quebec are experiencing as well. 

Villa Maria has a large amount of students. We have roughly 34 students per class. Even though this class is our so called “bubble” there is no social distancing happening in class . There is also no AC in the old side of the school which is where majority of the students are located throughout the day. Although these classrooms do have windows which can help with air circulation, we can’t keep them open all year. Therefore there will be no air circulation for the upcoming months of fall and winter . Some classes are located in the new part of the school (the science labs). These classrooms have no windows. As you can see these are terrible conditions for the students health during this global pandemic. Anyone can understand how wearing a mask all day in class can be extremely uncomfortable and unhealthy. 

Regarding the “bubbles “ One may think this is all fine, especially since we aren’t mixing bubbles. Or are we? Our school has allowed us to interchange between 2 bubbles. This simply means you are mixing with different students from 2 different classes. Students who are involved in the bubble switching tend to forget to sanitize before and after the desks we’ve worked at. We do understand this is not the norm for anyone and it is our responsibility as well,  but switching bubbles is how more germs spread. 

Our learning strategies at our school has become difficult . Many students have split classes, but we cannot switch due to COVID-19 protocols. Teachers have realized it isn’t ideal to learn from a distancing strategy. Our school has accepted the mixing of two bubbles. In my grade (secondary 3) we have been allowed to switch for a profile classes and french class, but not math. Many students find it very difficult to learn math which is an important subject over a screen while another teacher is in the classroom teaching other students. Also, due to the 'in-class' high volume of online 'split classes', the internet connections have been terrible, making many students missing their Google Meets and falling behind in class. Again, this is not the norm but this is simply unacceptable.

Staying fit is very important which is why we have physical education class. During our class we play sports which include contact. Many students are uncomfortable with the having to touch other students or others touching them to “gain a point” or to “get the ball”. We are allowed to keep our masks on during class or remove if we would like to. We're unsure if it’s mandatory to keep them of starting October 8th 2020 during (physical education) . If it is mandatory, it will be very difficult to breath when running around and sweating. We are also not allowed to drink water during this time period in gym ,so we must go an hour of working out our bodies without hydrating.

Another issue we have noticed at my school is , upon arrival, we must wait outside until about 7:45am when the school doors opens. In the mean time all the students are waiting outside which is considered to be mixing bubbles. Not just before school though, also after. At the end (3:00 pm) the day, the hallways are always crowded. Everyone is touching everyone, some people are wearing masks below their nose. We are certain many schools are having the same issue.

This is not where it stops.
During lunch time, many students like to keep active by playing football or soccer outside on the soccer field. This includes many students playing all together in large groups. None of the students sanitize before playing since they have just eaten lunch outside. The supervisors do not go and tell them to put their mask on because they are playing sports,  although they will tell you to put your mask on after taking a sip of water for example.

It makes us feel unsafe returning back to class knowing that the person I sit next too just spent an hour gathering with many different 'bubbles' without distancing due to hallways, arrivals, departures, changes of class 'bubbles' or outdoor breaks. These 2 reported COVID-19 cases are just the beginning. These conditions and rules do not make sense. The school has not released information of which grade these cases are in. Simply any of us students could have had contact with a positive student and not even know it.In addition, I find it bizarre that grades share a floor. It may seem weird to you but not to us students. In the morning and after school we all walk to class at the same time. If I look around me i’m not with my bubble, nor my grade. I’m crossing paths with secondary 1 and 2 students who have different bubbles. The whole point of a 'bubble' was to avoid contact with other people as much as possible. How come this clearly doesn’t apply before and after the bell? Each grade should be on the same floor to reduce the contact between other students.

We are risking the health of fellow students and staff members of Villa Maria. Not only them but our siblings who attend other schools and our parents who work and have contact with others. It’s a chain reaction, a domino effect. Where does it end? Why risk someone’s health when there are so many ways to stay safe. We would simply like this problem to go away by making a few adjustments to these school rules and prevent Covid-19 from spreading. 

1)  A Choice to distance online learning & alternate days at school for everyone. 

2) A Choice to wear a mask in class but do the required minimum by Health Canada. Outside the 'bubble' class, MASKS should be mandatory and teachers should be montioring that all students are wearing their masks safely. 

3) Have the same Grade on the same floor to avoid less mixing of bubbles. This way MASKS should be optional in class. 

4) Have a system to arrive and leave school without large gatherings.

5) Air Quality - Adding AC to the old sectors.

I also question why the secondary 4 and 5 are having alternating days but not the other grades. Are they simply implying us secondary 1-3 students are less at risk? We all have risks. We as students , as human beings, should be given a choice.

Our mental health is as well impacted . Wearing masks all day in hot classrooms, and being stressed with schoolwork. As well , It does not help that our school has taken away our privilege to use our electronic devices during our free time lunch period indoors. Our phones or Ipads can be a way to escape our hectic life. Our electronic devices help us decompress during these unprecedented times.

We know schools are trying their best, but there are many issues as discussed and they cannot be ignored. By signing this petition your showing that you care about the safety of yourself and others and want to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Please help show that schools across Quebec need safer protocols. One single complaint can not make a difference. That is why I need your help. We are the future. We are all in this together.

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