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Quebec unions say they don’t have time to help students’ brush teeth

Quebec’s teachers say they don’t have time to supervise children brushing their teeth every day.

Teachers unions say their members have high enough workloads and that now is not the time to be saddling them with the responsibility of making sure their students’ mouths are clean.

The unions are reacting to a program that is slowly rolling out across the province, in which teachers are required to ensure students brush their teeth for two minutes every day.

Josee Scalabrini, president of the Federation des syndicats de l’enseignement, which represents 87,000 teachers, says the program is a good idea but entirely unrealistic.

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Another union, Federation autonome de l’enseignement, which counts more than 60,000 members, says the requirements for the program are completely disconnected from the reality in schools.

The program –for daycares and primary schools– was developed by the Health Department in 2017 but was slow to be implemented because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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