• editor834

Letter to the editor 4, Dec. 10, 2020

Clean air in schools

Dear Editor,

A few weeks ago the Lester B. Pearson School Board announced it was spending half a million dollars to purchase and install ventilators for every classroom in schools with natural ventilation and upgrade the filtration systems to Merv-13 in schools with mechanical ventilation. This was in response to the CAQ government's lack of response to this issue. The board made the decision regardless of the fact that it may not get paid back but the health and safety of the students and staff was paramount. 400 units will be purchased.

Just this week, the English Montreal School Board made a similar decision, perhaps a little late, but still the right decision. Due to the fact that its buildings are considerably older the EMSB will have to spend about $1.5 million and purchase 800 units. It too is not sure if it will be reimbursed but again the health and safety of their population came first. Thus the two school boards are purchasing 1200 units and spending about $2 million.

Contrast this with the Francophone Service Centres. They do not have elected commissioners who are responsible to the local community. To this point they have ordered zero units for their students and staff and are still waiting for the minister to give them directions. Even if they decide in the next few weeks to purchase them, and that's a big ‘if’ considering the government's lack of concern on this subject, the units wouldn't be installed until the end of the coldest part of the winter. I guess the Service Centres think it's fine for their students and staff to freeze with the windows open all winter.

Had Bill 40 been allowed to pass the Anglophone Service Centres would now be in place and a similar fate would have befallen our students and staff. That is why, when the school board elections resume in the spring, it is of paramount importance for everyone to go vote. School boards are the last line of defense when dealing with a government that either doesn't care or is too indecisive to act. Please remember this in the spring.

Danny Olivenstein

Commissioner, Ward 11


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