Monday, May 11 is the date that many Quebec elementary school students return to class for the first time in two months. The schools, as well as daycares and preschools, are opening outside the Montreal metropolitan community (CMM) with strict rules in place to safeguard the health of teachers, staff, and students. Students will walk into vastly different environments as a result.

Attendance is not compulsory and only 15 pupils are allowed in each class.

Schools are further installing measures to enforce social distancing.

Non-essential common areas, including cafeterias, are closed. Schedules have been retooled to minimize contact between students and ensure that they remain in designated groups.

At École du Triolet, in Saint-Colomban, in the Laurentians, the staff has been preparing for the return of students for several days now.

Posters displaying hygiene reminders, rearrangements of school furniture, and thorough cleanings are now all part of the regular school day.

Here's an overview of what's in store for students as they return to class.

At the entrance to the school, instructions are clearly posted.

The first sign asks students to wash their hands, remain two meters away from other individuals, avoid physical contact, sneeze and cough into their elbows, and throw their tissues in the trash.

The sign in pink makes clear that free movement within the school is forbidden.

Physical distancing reminders now mark the corridors.

Non-essential common areas are closed.

In the classrooms, each student has a designated zone.

Authorities also recommend that children "always be kept in the same group, in the same room, at the same desk, and staff should always have the same group of pupils."

Meals will take place in classrooms or outside to avoid travel.

Recess schedules have been revised to minimize contact between student groups. Moreover, teachers will divide students into sub-groups to further control access to the schoolyard.

These measures are only a sample of all the instructions that must be followed by both staff and students.

One thing is certain: this will be a schoolyear not soon forgotten.

Stay tuned for more news.

This article was originally published in French on Narcity Québec.

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