Quebec parents in court to fight required in-class attendance amid COVID-19 crisis

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A group of Quebec parents are in court Thursday, fighting for access to an online learning option for all students in the province’s schools during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

They are seeking an injunction for families who don’t want their children to physically attend school to be able to keep them at home without a medical exemption.

The challenge, which includes a motion for a safeguard order, was filed by prominent human rights lawyer Julius Grey nearly two weeks ago in Quebec Superior Court.

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READ MORE: Quebec parents file legal challenge against province over back-to-school plan

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Requiring children to attend classes in person violates their parents’ charter rights to make decisions that affect their health and safety, according to Grey.

Quebec’s most recent back-to-school plan only offers an online learning option to children with a medical exemption — although some parents say they have had a hard time securing notes for their kids.

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The services are only offered if a child or someone in the household has a medical condition that puts them at risk of health complications due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

In Quebec, thousands of students started heading back to school in late August and early September. There are health measures in place, but the parents at the heart of the legal challenge say they don’t go far enough to protect children.

— With files from Global News’ Olivia O’Malley and the Canadian Press

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