The arrival and departure of dozens of young Quebeckers and foreigners for cultural exchanges raise eyebrows in the midst of a pandemic when travel is not recommended and reconfigurations are being organized around the world.
“In public health, regardless of government laws, it is recommended that only essential travel be taken. […] For high school students, it’s a great experience, but not essential at all, ”recalls Marie-France Raynault, head of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the CHUM in Montreal.
Since January 9 and until next week, about twenty young Europeans land in Quebec to begin an “intercultural” internship with the AFS Canada organization.
These high school students will be living with families from across the province.
“They did a test before arriving and must respect their quarantine plan. They will be confined to a room for two weeks. They will have to eat their meals there. If they do not have a dedicated bathroom, they will have to follow a protocol to clean it, ”explains AFS Canada’s Executive Director, Anisara Creary.
“Quarantine conditions like that can be very risky. I’m afraid teenagers will break the rules. We just don’t need that. We really have too many cases. People die every day ”, estimates the Dre Raynault.
Another “issue” pointed out by the researcher at the School of Public Health of the University of Montreal Roxanne Borgès Da Silva is “the possibility of importing any variant of COVID”, detected in the United Kingdom, in South Africa. South and Japan.
“At present, community contamination is very, very strong in Quebec,” adds the specialist.
On October 20, the federal government reopened its borders to international students.
Édouard Bossé, 19, left Montreal at the end of August for a student exchange in Denmark when Quebec had not yet entered its second wave.
In all, about twenty young people from here have flown abroad since the fall, confirms the Executive Director of AFS Canada.
“I was tested three days before my departure. I received my result on my trip to Copenhagen and as I was negative, I did not need to do quarantine, ”says Édouard Bossé, from his boarding school in the town of Brenderup, in the south of the country.
Her school is scheduled to reopen on January 18, for now. “AFS told us that no matter what happened, we were not going to be repatriated. […] I normally have to come back in June, ”he said.