Montreal

Quebec teachers' unions take province to court over air quality in classrooms

The Fédération autonome de l'enseignement says a government report on air quality in schools released in January didn't accurately measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in classrooms.

FAE worries poor ventilation puts students, staff at risk

The FAE wants the province to do more to ensure the quality of the air in classrooms. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

A federation representing several Quebec teachers' unions is seeking a court order that would require the provincial government to retest air quality in schools.

The Fédération autonome de l'enseignement says a government report on air quality in schools released in January didn't accurately measure the concentration of carbon dioxide in classrooms.

That data is crucial because "the higher the CO2 level, the more it encourages the spread of the virus," federation president Sylvain Mallette said in an interview Tuesday.

The federation — which commissioned a report from engineering firm EXP criticizing the government's air quality study — said it's worried poor ventilation puts students and teachers at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Mallette said the federation wants air quality in schools to be tested using criteria set out in the EXP report and for the government to create a timeline to address air quality issues in schools and to share the results of the new tests with the federation.

Quebec reported 650 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday and 12 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including four within the previous 24 hours. Health officials said hospitalizations dropped by 14, to 576, and 110 people were in intensive care, a rise of two.

Officials said 16,357 doses of vaccine were administered Monday for a total of 581,028.  

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