Rosie Awori – LJI Reporter
As the second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak threatens Quebec, new guidelines are being rushed into place at schools across the province to ensure the safety of students and educators.
As of October 8, students in high-schools are being told to wear masks at all times at school, including in class and on school grounds. The announcement was made by Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge who indicated that masks can be taken off for physical education classes.
At a recent press conference, Roberge spoke also of further reducing class sizes and time spent in the actual classroom by expanding online-learning to additional students in grades 10 and 11, specifically.
Senior secondary 4 and 5 classes will only be expected to attend school every other day to limit the number of students in the school at any given time.
The shift to hybrid learning will begin on Thursday, Oct. 8th.
“This will decrease by 20% the number of students on buses, in hallways, and in the cafeterias,” claims Roberge.
Students in grades 10 and 11 will follow a hybrid model: attending school on certain days while taking online learning on the remaining days. For the days when they attend in-person classes, students will be put in small groups for learning and other school related activities.
Details about how those students will be grouped will be sent to schools directly, said Education.
The ministry also suggested that lunches should be eaten inside the classroom.
Public transportation to and from school will now be according assigned seating with one student per bench, ideally.
“I’m calling on students to adopt these new measures and respect them. I’m calling on parents to explain to them and accept them,” said Roberge.
Sports-Études programs will remain in effect as long as students respect the 2m social distancing rules and remain within their designated class groups.
“Lives are at stake. We want to keep our children in schools,” Legault said. “We also want to protect our health network”
In Montreal’s Snowdon neighbourhood, Herzliah High School has extended its online-only classes until Oct. 19. The private, Jewish school is the first school in the province to suspend all in-person classes during the second wave.
Higher education institutions have been asked to hold all activities remotely. Some exceptions include students that require an educator present such as research facilities and labs.
Group sports activities have been suspended until October 28. Sports and leisure infrastructures can remain open but they will need to be modulated to maintain safe capacities.
Gyms will close as of October 8, until the end of the month, but financial assistance will be made available to those affected in the next couple of days.
Also, new employment opportunities have been made available online for those interested in helping schools maintain cleanliness and monitors to promote safety.
They will be hiring a minimum of 2,000 candidates as janitors and monitors. The monitors are especially needed in high schools. Salaries are expected to be $20/hr to $24/hr.
To apply for these opportunities, visit: https://www.quebec.ca/en/employment/job-offers/workers-urgently-covid-19/.