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Québec announces new red-zone rules for schools, sports and gyms suspended

In order to break the second wave of the current pandemic and following new recommendations from public health authorities, additional measures will be put in place across Québec as of October 8 and will be in effect until October 28.  The new rules will be in effect in various establishments including educational facilities, and for sports and leisure facilities in designated red zones.

Québec Ministers of Education, Jean-François Roberge and Isabelle Charest, and Minister of Higher Education Danielle McCann, made the announcement today accompanied by Dr. Richard Massé, strategic medical advisor at the General Directorate of Public Health.

Expansion of mask requirements in red zones

As of Thursday, the wearing of a face covering will be compulsory at all times for students attending a secondary school located in a red zone, including on the grounds outside the establishments and inside the classroom. The optional courses must take place within the physical distance of two metres at all times or be offered at a distance if the students do not come from the same stable class group.

Wearing the procedural mask is also becoming compulsory for all school staff in common areas, particularly at all times in staff rooms (except for eating or drinking) and on the premises of the establishment if they cannot. respect the two-metre distance. The government will bear the cost of procedural masks required for staff.

Additional measures to minimize social contact in schools

To limit student groupings, establishments located in red zones must return to a single stable class group at all times. Extracurricular and inter-school activities as well as school trips will be suspended.

With regard to concentrations and specific educational projects, including Sport-Studies and Arts-Studies programs, they may be maintained. If it is not possible to keep them in the respect of the stable class-group, they can be carried out on the condition that a distance of two metres is maintained between the pupils coming from different stable class-groups and that the sanitary rules are strictly observed. To minimize social contact, only activities carried out in free practice, on an individual basis or in pairs, will be permitted. No group activity, match or competition will be allowed.

Pause on sports

All organized leisure and sports, outside the school context, must be suspended. No organized sporting or leisure activity can take place. Group lessons and supervised sports practice will be prohibited. Individual or duo activities, individual training in free practice and activities practiced with members of your family unit will remain permitted.

Anyone practicing a sporting activity in pairs with someone who is not part of their family bubble must respect the two-metre distance.

Indoor sports facilities may remain open to allow free practice. Their capacity will however have to be modified to allow respect for social distancing. Access to the changing rooms will be prohibited.

Training rooms and fitness centres will be closed.

Hybrid education for Secondary 4 and 5

To limit social contact in schools, Secondary 4 and 5 students will now attend school using a hybrid formula combining classroom education and distance education in a process of continuing learning. The pupils will follow their lessons in class every other day. This formula will allow school organizations to adapt quickly and students to benefit from the support of their teachers or even to attend their lessons, in person or remotely, while keeping the same schedule. Schools that have already opted for a work-study mode of organization for Secondary 4 and 5 pupils will be able to maintain the measures put in place.

Additional measures

By mutual agreement with the public health authorities, the following additional measures will be implemented in schools located in the red zone:

  • on school transport, limit of one pupil per bench, if possible, with assigned places
  • increased protection and distancing measures in staff rooms
  • organization of school daycare services in accordance with the stable class group or in sub-groups

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