Monday marks the first day of in-class learning of the new year for thousands of high school students across Quebec as new COVID-19 protocols go into effect throughout schools.
High school students and staff are now being given two government-mandated disposable face masks per day, which are to be worn by everyone inside the facility at all times.
Students will be removed from class if a member of their bubble has symptoms or is awaiting test results. If a student shows any symptoms of COVID-19, they will be tested immediately.
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The announcements were made earlier this month by Education Minister Jean-François Roberge as the latest wave of protocols put in place to stem the rising numbers of infections across Quebec.
Roberge says Quebec has always “prioritized student attendance in the classroom,” in favour of remote learning.
The education minister says all schools in Quebec now have the proper equipment in place to ensure all students across the province can work and study “from a distance.”
Roberge said he understands parents’ concerns about the reopening of schools but stressed that “for most students, the best place to be is in school.” He says the new measures will be implemented as a way to navigate the remainder of the school year during the pandemic. The minister says Quebec has entered “hard times” and acknowledged that the education system has to do things “differently.”
All ministerial exams up until the end of the year have been cancelled for secondary school students across the province, and the first report card of the year — initially due on January 22 — has been pushed back to February 5.
The school year’s second report card will be worth more than the first, giving students who have struggled during the pandemic the opportunity to catch up during the spring.
Last week, elementary school students returned to classrooms.
On Sunday, health officials reported Quebec’s lowest daily case increase of 2021 with 1,744 new cases.