Quebec students who are in Grade 5 and above will be required to wear masks outside of the classroom as they head back to school amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The updated plan unveiled by the province’s education minister Monday comes as parents and teachers expressed concerns as the academic year looms.
“It’s crucial to reopen our schools for our children and our teenagers,” said Education Minister Jean-François Roberge.
Under the plan, masks will not be mandatory in the classroom. They will be obligatory in common areas and hallways in schools for students who are in Grade 5 and above.
The revised measures also mean Quebec students will not be separated into small bubbles within their classes as was previously announced by the government.
They will not have to practise physical distancing in class, but they must remain at least two metres apart from one another in common spaces.
“This is an exceptional situation,” Roberge said.
Health Minister Christian Dubé said the updated plan comes as the government is “actively preparing for a second wave” of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
“I want to reassure our parents, our children that we will follow the situation closely as we have over the past weeks and months,” he said.
As the summer draws to an end, parents and teachers have been pushing the provincial government to provide an update on its plan for the new school year.
Quebec is the province with the highest number of cases and deaths attributed to the respiratory illness. As of Sunday, authorities reported 104 new cases, bringing the total to 60,471.
There have been 5,695 deaths since the pandemic began.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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