At his daily update Monday, Premier François Legault outlined a plan to gradually reopen Quebec schools in the province if, "and only if," the situation remains stable. He announced that high schools, cégeps, and universities will remain closed until the fall semester. Primary schools and daycares, meanwhile, will open in mid-May.
Children will be asked to maintain a distance of two metres from each other as much as possible.
In daycares, educators will be asked to wear masks.
Attendance before summer break won't be mandatory, however.
Moreover, while primary schools and daycares open May 11 in most regions of Quebec, they will not open in the Montreal metropolitan area, including Laval, until May 19.
The reopening is only possible, Legault said, because the situation in hospitals is "under control."
He repeatedly stressed, however, that officials will continuously monitor the situation.
The announcement represents the first step toward the resumption of more normal activities, a process that Legault has said will be "very gradual."
One of the reasons to hold off on reopening secondary schools, the Premier said, is because students at these institutions "more often use public transit, which makes it more difficult to keep the two-metre distance."
He also said "it is easier for high school, cégep, and university students to take courses remotely with their teachers, who have already begun to do so, but we will also ask them to do more of that."
He further outlined a number of reasons why he says it's important to reopen primary schools and daycares.
The first is that "primary school children will benefit the most from the remainder of the school year."
"The second reason why schools are being reopened is because the risk is limited. [...] However, [...] children with health problems or parents with health problems should keep their children at home."
Finally, he concluded, "life must go on. Children, I think, it's good for them to see their friends again, to see their teachers again."
"The vaccine is not expected to be available for 12 or 18 months. [...] I do not see the children staying at home for 12, 18 months right now."
"The situation, if we waited until September 1, would probably be no different than it is now."
As of April 27, there are 24,982 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Quebec with 1,599 deaths.
Stay tuned for more news.