August 10, 2020 – Provincial government update on the COVID-19 pandemic
Here is an update on recent decisions and actions by the Québec government in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Return to school
The minister of Education, Jean-François Roberge, announced the conditions that will govern the return to school for all Québec students in the weeks to come. As a new condition in the context of COVID-19, all students as of Grade 5 will be required to wear a mask, that is, all children ages 10 and over.
The rule also applies to high school students as well as vocational and general adult education students.
The national director of Public Health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, also stated that masks will be mandatory for children ages 10 and over on school buses and on public buses as of August 24.
Mask distribution for staff
Given that masks are mandatory in the workplace, the government will provide face coverings to all staff in educational institutions. For children, face coverings are now considered clothing, along the same lines as hats and mittens.
Minister Roberge added, however, that for underprivileged children, the government will work hand in hand with community organizations to help them.
In the event of an outbreak at school
If a student presents COVID-19 symptoms, he or she will be “automatically isolated,” and in the event of a positive diagnosis, all parents and staff will be immediately informed, promised Minister Roberge.
A self-care guide will also be distributed across Québec to all parents and in all schools so that everyone has the same information on hand regarding the measures to take in the event of an outbreak in an educational institution.
If a class or a school must be closed, clear guidelines will be known to one and all to guarantee that education is maintained for all children.
Parents will also be able to call 1-877-644-4545 for relevant directives if their child is sick or if there are issues around the application of COVID-19 protocols.
Fewer than 100 cases
The minister of Health and Social Services, Christian Dubé, was pleased to announce that, for the first time in a month, the daily number of new cases was fewer than 100, with 98 people infected.
“Each case is one case too many,” said the minister, specifying that daily averages over the last months worried him a little. Mr. Dubé had called on Quebecers to be rigorous in following health safety guidelines to reduce the number of cases per day.
The rapid results are “very good news,” he said.
The key to winning the battle
The minister of Health and Social Services is also satisfied with the daily number of screening tests now being conducted. Over the last 10 days, the rate has been greater than 14,000 tests a day, with some days seeing 16,000, 17,000 and even 18,000 tests being performed.
“Screening is the key to winning the battle against COVID-19. The faster we screen, the greater our agility in tracing cases and controlling outbreaks,” he said.
Mr. Dubé was critical, however, of certain lags in obtaining results.
For more information : https://www.quebec.ca/en/education/back-to-school-plan-fall-covid-19/