Elementary and secondary schools will open on Monday, January 17 as planned, as will CEGEPs and universities that wish to do so.
Prime Minister François Legault confirmed the return to class on Wednesday evening from January 17 through a publication on social networks. He will provide an update at a press conference on Thursday at 3 p.m.
The new director of public health, Dr Luc Boileau, gave the green light to the reopening of schools, as wished by the Prime Minister and several pediatricians.
“The vast majority of children are not at significant health risk with Covid. On the other hand, school delays and isolation can cause significant problems. (…) If everyone does their bit, things will go well and the children will regain their joy of living. We owe that to our children, ”said Mr. Legault, who nevertheless said he understood the concerns of parents, school staff and teachers.
When returning to class, students must wear the mask at all times, including school transportation, as was already the case before the holiday break.
CEGEP and university students will also be able to return to class from January 17 (link to other text on the web).
In the school network, N95 masks will also be available for members of the staff of specialized schools who so wish. In these schools, where several outbreaks have been declared in the past few days, several students are unable to wear the mask.
Quebec is also working to extend the availability of N95 masks to other members of school staff and possibly to all those who wish to wear them, according to our information. This measure was demanded by several unions and opposition parties.
Access to rapid tests should also be extended in the school network, in particular for staff members.
A new health protocol will also be implemented in schools. The isolation period for positive cases will be reduced from 10 to 5 days depending on certain conditions (see box below).
Groups of students will no longer be systematically closed even if several cases are declared in the same class. Public health now considers that a child should isolate himself only if he has been in contact with a positive person at home, and not at school, where the risks are considered less important because of the wearing of the mask.
In the school network, however, several questions remain unanswered concerning the concrete application of this new health protocol.
For their part, extracurricular activities will be suspended for “at least two weeks”, one indicates.
Since school sport will not resume immediately, civic sport should also remain on hiatus for now.
On Wednesday evening, the government however expected that the sports-studies and concentration programs which are included in the subject grid would resume on Monday.
Staff shortage apprehended
Quebec is also working on a “contingency plan” in order to plan what measures will be put in place in the school network in the event of a shortage of personnel.
The staff shortage was already causing headaches for principals this fall, long before the appearance of the Omicron variant. In the school network, many fear service breakdowns if a large number of staff members have to be absent because of the virus.
Quebec will provide an update on the return to school at a press conference scheduled for Thursday.
Expanded vaccination passport
Quebec also intends to continue to expand the application of the vaccine passport to more non-essential businesses to tighten the screws again on the unvaccinated.
After the SAQ, the SQDC and hair and beauty salons, proof of vaccination will eventually be required to enter Canadian Tire big-box stores.
Small businesses, which are generally less crowded with customers, would not be affected by this new measure, according to our information.
– With the collaboration of Sébastien Ménard
How will be managed COVID cases at school?
► A student who is positive for COVID-19 should isolate yourself for at least five days at home.
► If the student has not had a fever for at least 24 hours and their symptoms improve, he will be able to take a self-test after this five-day period.
- If the result is positive, he remains at home for an additional five days.
- If the result is negative, he returns to class wearing the mask like his classmates. As much as possible, he should maintain physical distancing from other people.
► These recommendations apply regardless of the child’s immunization status.
No more systematic group closings
Groups of students will no longer be systematically closed even if several cases are declared in the same class. Public Health now considers that a child should isolate himself only if he has been in contact with a positive person at home, and not at school, where the risks are considered less important because of the wearing of a mask.