As President of the Federation of Private Educational Institutions and Director General of a College very focused on the practice of sport and the arts, I wish to express on behalf of several of our members our misunderstanding and our disagreement with the news. directives from the Ministry of Education endangering school sport, as well as artistic and cultural extracurricular activities in Quebec, while the practice of civil sport and these cultural activities is permitted in a civil and municipal framework.
First of all, let us mention that the very existence of such programs in schools is based not only on healthy lifestyles, but also on motivation and school perseverance. The objective of school sport, for example, is to support the school perseverance of young athletes who might be tempted to drop out if the practice of sport was not possible. Cooperation between coaches, teachers and school administrators is a winning condition to encourage young people to make a sustained effort academically.
In such a context, we do not understand how the practice of sport and school cultural activities could be treated differently from what is offered to civilians and municipalities. For example, the young people of a school team all come from the same school and are supervised by animators, coaches and professionals who ensure that the instructions of the health rules imposed on the various sports federations and artistic circles are respected. If an outbreak were to take place within a school team, for example, we could easily identify contacts and confine the team as needed. If an outbreak were to take place in a civilian team, with players possibly from five to ten different schools, the situation could prove to be more problematic. In addition, it is important to understand that the prohibition of sporting and cultural activities at school will push athletes and artists towards the civilian world in greater numbers, increasing the risk of outbreaks over a larger territory.
We ask Ministers Charest and Roberge to allow school cultural and sports activities to move forward, while respecting the health rules imposed by the public health department. Not only will the risk of an outbreak be reduced there, but the motivation and school perseverance of our children are at stake in a context already weakened by the pandemic.