Community / Press Release

Trustee Marlene Jennings Clarifies EMSB Position Regarding the Reopening of Elementary Schools

Montreal - Friday, May 8, 2020

The English Montreal School Board adopted a resolution on May 6 which stated that it will assess, evaluate and determine, on the recommendation of its senior administration, if elementary schools and vocational centres in its territory can safely - according to recognized and required Quebec Santé Publique specifications- reopen on Monday, May 25.

Some media are inaccurately reporting that EMSB Trustee Marlene Jennings, has said that she will decide when schools will reopen (implying that she is taking an oppositional and political stance against the government). Ms. Jennings maintains this is not at all what she said.

“I stated clearly that the EMSB is working diligently to ensure that our schools will be ready to reopen on the date announced by the government,” Ms. Jennings said emphatically. “I also said that IF, despite our hard work, some of our schools are not in a position to reopen on that day, we would advise the government and provide the reasons to justify such any delay.

“The EMSB has the responsibility first and foremost to ensure the health and safety of all students and staff,” added Ms. Jennings. That truth is not in contradiction to the work being done to cooperate fully with the Ministry of Education.”

Ms. Jennings also wishes to mention that the Education Minister has demonstrated flexibility in recent days since his initial announcement about school reopenings, such that now boards have the ability to reopen progressively over three consecutive days. No decision has been made yet at the EMSB about such a progressive reopening over three days. But the prospect is being given due consideration.

From the outset of this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the provincial government decided to close schools according to the advice from public health authorities. Ms. Jennings is confident they will follow the same procedure for reopenings. And the EMSB will keep the government informed of any difficulties it encounters in being able to meet the May 25 reopening target date.

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