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Quebec’s updated back to school plan – What every parent needs to know

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Quebec’s updated back to school plan was released at a press conference today, Quebec revealed their updated back-to-school plan. As schools scramble to get ready for their reopening in just three weeks from now, parents have also been preparing themselves – with much uncertainty towards it. The province’s plan may sit comfortably with some, but surely not for all. Unlike the Federal or Ontario guidelines that go much further, Quebec has chosen to make their own rules.

Jean-Francois Roberge, the province’s Education Minister first addressed the issue of wearing masks.

Students in Grade 5 and up will be required to wear masks. It will be mandatory in hallways, common areas, amphitheaters and on school buses – but it will not be mandatory in the classrooms or outdoors during recess. Parents will be required to supply masks for their children, however teachers will be provided with them. For parents who need financial support, Roberge said they could reach out to community organizations for help, as the cost of masks can add up. “Our children and our health are our most precious things, our government does not intend to compromise on these issues… closing schools is not protecting children,” he said, in line with Public Health Director Dr. Arruda’s statement ‘that keeping children out of schools has more negative consequences than the virus itself’. Sanitary measures already in place: washing hands with soap and frequent cleaning of classrooms will be maintained.

The idea of keeping students in ‘bubbles’ from their first plan last June has been dropped and instead, “The bubble is the class,” Roberge explained. “A class will have to stay as one unit and there will be no social distancing between classmates”. However, students from different classes will be required to keep apart from one another.

Exceptions for will be made for students with serious health concerns and who are at risk, or for children who have family members with serious health issues – and a doctor’s note will be be required to confirm it. School boards and service centres will then have to offer remote learning options to the children. A guide will soon be sent out to help parents with the new back-to-school protocols and will be available in English and French. As well, schools will receive guides within the next couple of weeks, with details on the measures that should be taken if a student presents symptoms of the virus or if someone at the school tested positive.  The government said they wanted ‘to be transparent about COVID-19 cases in schools, promising that parents would be informed of cases in their children’s classes or in their schools’. If you have any questions, you can visit the government’s website or call 1-877-844-4545.

Please let us know what you think of Quebec’s updated back to school plan by info@mtltimes.ca or in the comments below

By: Bonnie Wurst – info@mtltimes.ca

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