October 17, 2021

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Returning to school in danger

Concerns are high at CEGEPs and universities, while it is no longer possible for Quebec to reach the 100% immunization rate set at the beginning of the school year.

• read more: The WHO recommends school-based testing to avoid distance education

As of July 1, 67% of 18-29 year olds had received the first dose of the vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health.

However, obtaining a high vaccination rate at the beginning of the school year seems practically impossible, as a gap of at least eight weeks is required between two injections.

In most CEGEPs, return to class is scheduled for the week of August 23, i.e. seven weeks. The start of the academic year takes place a week later.

In late May, Quebec announced that it would be normal for 75% of 16-29 year olds to return to campus by the end of the summer if they had received two doses of the vaccine.

The vaccination rate for 16-17 year olds after a single dose, which is higher than for 18-29 year olds, will help increase the vaccination rate, but the second dose in mid-summer is much harder than the first, Bernard Tremblay, president and CEO of the Federation des Shecheps, underlined.

“I clearly worry, this is not a small challenge,” he says.

Flexibility was requested

In the Federation of College Students, Quebec is asked to put in place “measures to guarantee a face-to-face return.” “There has been a lot of flexibility in all areas, and it would seem reasonable to reconsider the conditions to get a face-to-face start in the fall,” said Samuel Wylancourt, president of the Federation d’Toys Collegiate.

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In the office of Higher Education Minister Daniel McCann, there are reportedly “constant discussions” with public health. The update will be made in early August as announced at the end of May.

As noted at the end of May, the Ministry of Health is pleased to note that “the public year school explores different scenarios for school start”.

Vaccination on campus

Quebec will ask companies to “plan vaccination activities in CEGEPs and universities at the beginning of the fall,” said its spokeswoman Nomi VanHuerswizn.

“Although the summer has begun, public health has not slowed down and is continuing its analysis of the situation. Additional relaxations will be announced as soon as they are considered possible,” he explains.

Until then the college network is holding its breath. “We hope we all get back to school, otherwise it will be a huge disappointment for everyone, especially the students,” Mr. Says Tremble.

Areas where 18-29 year olds are most vaccinated

  • Montreal: 71.7%
  • Capital-National: 70.8%
  • Montreux: 69.1%

Minimum vaccinated areas for 18-29 year olds

  • Outdoors: 60.4%
  • Morrissey and Center-to-Quebec: 60.5%
  • ABTP-Demiscamming: 61.5%

Source: INSPQ, data as of July 1

Aimed at 12-17 year olds

Elementary and middle school students can look at the beginning of the school year with more confidence because 75% of 12-17 year olds have already received the first dose of the vaccine.

Achieving this vaccination rate for this age group has been identified by Quebec as one of the conditions that will allow this fall in the school network to return to normal in the classroom.

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Young people have openly responded to the call. Many were able to get vaccinated during their school day, “during the school trip” to one of the nearby vaccination centers or directly at some places, even at school.

A dose for teens?

The Ministry of Health says adolescents may only need one injection to be sufficiently immune to COVID-19.

“Some studies suggest that a single dose of vaccine is sufficient for this age group. So we are waiting for additional data to recommend 2e Immunizations for this age group before the start of the fall school year, ”said spokeswoman Nomi Van Hoorswijn.

This explains why it is currently not possible for 12-17 year olds to expect an appointment for a second dose on the Click Sande portal.

Selected display

At the Ministry of Health, the selected scenario for the start of the school year, which will be confirmed in early August, will take into account not only the vaccination rate, but also the epidemiological situation.