Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has outlined the province’s plan for all students returning to school in the fall of 2020.
Roberge’s announcement comes on the heels of the government loosening physical distancing restrictions and increasing the amount of people allowed together indoors.
Schools across the province were abruptly closed halfway through March over concerns about COVID-19. While primary schools reopened as of May 11 (excluding those in the Montreal metropolitan area), students and teachers have been wondering how Quebec schools will look in fall with the possibility of the virus’ second wave looming.
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According to Roberge, Quebec schools will be going ahead just like any other September, except this time with a few minor guidelines to be followed.
The education minister says primary, secondary, training schools, CEGEP, and universities will continue as planned.
“Today, we have a game plan which is the first of many exchanges,” he said. “I am confirming that as of September, all school establishments in Quebec will reopen their doors.”
Roberge thanked teachers, students, and faculty for “facing the pandemic head-on,” and says Quebecers “rallied” throughout the pandemic.
“It seems so normal to announce that schools will be reopening in the fall but I consider this a victory in itself,” said Roberge, in French from Quebec City. “It’s a message of hope that will motivate our students all of our teams, perseverance and the success of our students is very important.”
En rencontre ce matin avec les dirigeants des réseaux scolaire, collégial et universitaire, qui sont avec nous pour la présentation du plan de match de la rentrée automnale. De bonnes nouvelles à venir pour les étudiants, les élèves, leurs parents et le personnel! #Assnat #CAQ pic.twitter.com/AU74fLBm9Z
— Jean-F. Roberge (@jfrobergeQc) June 16, 2020
Roberge says the COVID-19 measures implemented in May proved that students were a “lot more mature than some grown ups and quite capable of adhering to strict guidelines.”
He continued to say that rules will be “evolved” for the upcoming fall semester and outlined that students in pre-school to secondary 3 will be broken off into sub-groups of six students. Within those groups, no distancing measures will be required. Roberge likened the sub-groups to be “just like our siblings.”
Between each collection of sub-groups, there will be a one-metre physical distance rule in place. Between teachers and students, the regularly mandated distancing will be in effect.
Roberge stressed September’s back to school will be mandatory for Quebec students age six to 16 unless there is a “very specific medical condition.”
Students who are older than 16 will have to adhere to the 1.5-metre physical distancing which is the new Quebec norm.
“With what we all experienced this winter, this is a great jump forward,” concluded Roberge. “From CEGEP, university, and trade course students — bravo.”