The Quebec government is reporting that there are now 1,936 schools across the province with at least one positive COVID-19 case.
The numbers unveiled by the province’s education board consist of pre-school, elementary, high school, and trade schools throughout Quebec.
According to Quebec’s Réseau scolaire public et privé, as of January 20, there are currently 1,549 active cases among students across the province and 387 among staff members.
The majority of cases have been in public schools, with 1,330 and 219 in the private sector.
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If a case is identified, the school is expected to notify students’ parents with health guidelines and instructions on whether the student in question should stay home.
Since the start of the school year, there have been 21,410 “reported cases” — 14,929 in public schools and 2,443 in the private school sector.
As a result, 448 classes have been cancelled across the province since the start of the new year and three Quebec schools have closed entirely.
Quebec public health says it is committed to providing daily updates on school infections.
“We understand parents’ concerns, and we want to be there to reassure them,” said Health Minister Christian Dubé at the start of the school year. “We hope this tool will allow the population, and more particularly parents, to get a current portrait of the entire situation.”
The government reports that 1,075 students and staff have fully recovered from the virus and returned to class since school started back again at the beginning of January.
The full list of infected Quebec schools can be found online.
At the beginning of January, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said the government implemented a “new wave of protocols” across the province’s schools 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.”
Besides delaying report cards, high school students and faculty members are given two government-mandated masks per day in an attempt to minimize viral transmission.