Quebec won’t rule out temporarily closing schools as coronavirus cases, deaths climb

Quebec is looking at the possibility of closing schools as the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths climb during the second wave of the pandemic.

Premier François Legault admitted Thursday that more than 300 classrooms had to be closed in the last two days, but he stressed that the last thing the government wants is to shutter schools and send students home.

“It’s a situation that is worrying,” he said.

As the second wave continues to take hold, he said the province is looking at closures for a limited period of time to stem the tide of COVID-19. This could be close to the Christmas holidays.

“Schools are a place of transmission. It is why we’re evaluating the possibility of closing the schools for a limited period of time,” he said. “And as I’ve said before, that is our last solution.”

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The province is in discussion with unions to see if classes could continue into summer 2021 if necessary, he added.

Legault said the government has not yet made a decision, but he says “it would be unthinkable not to consider all scenarios.”

Quebec has seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalizations in recent days. The province reported 1,365 new cases and 42 additional deaths Thursday.

The coming weeks will be critical, according to Legault.

“The next few weeks will be difficult,” he said.

With files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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