Elementary students head back to class across Quebec as coronavirus surges

Children are heading back to class Monday as elementary schools reopen across Quebec while parts of the province remain on lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Young students took part in online learning last week as all schools remained physically closed in a bid to curb the growing spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Last week, the province unveiled extended restrictions and a nightly curfew amid a surge of cases, deaths and hospitalizations.

READ MORE: West Island family who received curfew tickets argue they should’ve been considered exceptions

As part of the tightened measures, high schools and adult education will continue online learning this week. Teenagers and adults will only head back to class on Jan. 18 after the start was delayed by one week.

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Elementary schools, however, are reopening Monday as previously announced before the winter break — which has prompted mixed reactions from teachers and parents.

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Education Minister Jean-François Roberge has defended the decision, saying there was a “fairly strong consensus” in the province to reopen schools as quickly as possible after the winter break because of their importance to children’s overall well-being.

READ MORE: Here’s how Quebec’s latest lockdown rules and nightly curfew will work

The reopening also brings some new public health measures to elementary schools. Masks are now mandatory in the classroom for Grade 5 and 6 students. Younger students must wear masks in common areas, including hallways and school buses.

The province has also cancelled ministerial exams and pushed back the first report card of the year.

with files from Global News’ Brayden Jagger Haines and The Canadian Press

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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