With the gradual opening of schools in Montreal scheduled to begin on May 19, school boards and the CNESST have outlined a series of guidelines that must be followed once students and staff are back together. The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) have each provided a guide for both parents and teachers to guarantee a smooth return to school. There are still many concerns about reopening schools, however.

Quebec's English school boards even claimed a right to set their own resumption dates for classes — a move the Premier has rejected. 

"Compliance with prevention rules at school will certainly be a challenge, especially for the youngest students, but thanks to the kit prepared by the CNESST, management and all the staff of school establishments will be well equipped and will be able to go back to school with confidence," said Jean-François Roberge, Minister of Education. 

Keeping teachers and school workers safe is one of the CNESST's main priorities and, to that effect, it has provided a checklist for them to follow at the beginning of each week, along with a detailed back-to-school safety guide

Here are the rules that teachers, parents, and students will have to follow.

EMSB

EMSB classrooms will follow strict social distancing rules. In some classrooms, only eight to 10 children will be admitted. 

There will be "two-meter by two-meter personal spaces" for students and teachers, along with a "corridor" to enter and exit those spaces. 

Some students might not have the same teacher or classmates. In some cases, multi-age groups will be required. 

There will be no physical education or specialty classes such as music, drama, or art. Only the core subjects will be taught. 

Students must remain in the classroom and in their assigned personal space for the entire day, including recess and lunch. Students should not share classroom materials such as books, papers, and pens. 

Hand-washing will be mandatory upon entry of the school, as well as before and after eating.

Students must bring their own food and water from home. Water fountains will be off-limits. 

CSDM

There will be a maximum of 15 students or fewer in classrooms and a two-meter rule will be enforced. 

Students might not be with the same teacher, classroom, or age group. Classrooms will be on a rotating recess schedule. 

Each school will specify its own meal arrangements, but it's recommended that students bring cold lunches.

Transportation to and from school will be limited so it's possible some students won't have access to it.

Masks won't be mandatory but parents can give their children protective equipment if they wish to. Schools will not provide masks and other PPE to students. 

CNESST 

Workers who show symptoms or think they have symptoms must not go to work under any circumstances. 

All workers must maintain a two-meter distance from everyone.

The ratio of children to teachers might need to be adjusted depending on the school and region.

Daily schedules will be adjusted to reflect the rules of the Ministry. 

All schools must close off non-essential common areas such as cafeterias.

If possible, the number of students and groups must remain consistent, meaning that it should be the same group and the same teacher day-to-day. 

Teachers and workers are not required to wear masks or other PPE, but they will be made available.

Elementary schools and daycares in Montreal will reopen on May 19, 2020. 

Stay tuned for more news. 

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