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RED ZONES: Gyms closing, masks in high school, no inter-regional travel

New rules — in effect Thursday — about gyms, libraries, inter-regional travel and masks in class.

In a press conference this afternoon, Quebec education ministers Jean-François Roberge, Isabelle Charest and Danielle McCann announced expected and unexpected new public health measures and restrictions for the province’s COVID-19 red zones. All the following measures will be in effect from this Thursday, Oct. 8 until at least Oct. 28 (at which point the situation will be re-evaluated):

  • Masks will now be mandatory for high school teachers and students inside and outdoors on school property, including in classrooms.
  • Students in Grade 10 and 11 will go to school one day out of two and continue the same schedule at home as they do in school.
  • Extracurricular activities, school outings, team sports in school and competitions will be suspended. Individual sports with distancing can continue.
  • There will be increased police presence around schools to “raise awareness” about public health measures such as distancing.
  • On school buses, ideally one student will be seated per bench, but otherwise consistent assigned seating should be organized.
  • Lunch should be eaten in class; extra monitors are being recruited to facilitate this. Otherwise cafeterias should have designated tables to maintain class bubbles at lunch.
  • The activities of all sports and leisure associations will be suspended.
  • Gyms will close but gym owners will be eligible for financial help.
  • At CEGEPS and universities, all classes and teaching activities must now be done remotely.
  • Movement between regions will be limited to essential travel as outlined by Quebec public health. (CTV reported on Friday that SQ “awareness points” were already being planned to advise against inter-regional travel.)
  • Libraries will remain open for book-lending service and individual work spaces.

“We want to do everything in our power to keep our schools open. There is no debate. The best place for our students is in school. These measures are meant to guarantee the health and safety of students and staff. I’m calling on students to adopt these new measures and respect them.”

—Jean-François Roberge

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