As Montreal, Chaudière-Appalaches, and part of the Capitale-Nationale go into red alert at 12:00 a.m. Thursday, residents are in for a new wave of closures. But it won't be exactly like March. Premier François Legault made clear that the goal is to keep Quebec schools in the red zones open.

"Our objective is first of all to protect the schools," he said, also claiming that only 1% of students have had their class close as a result of an outbreak.

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Premier François Legault

"The large majority of children — 99% of children — can continue to go to class. It must stay that way."

The premier said he wanted to keep things "as normal as possible" in schools. He emphasized the importance of allowing students to socialize.

He admitted there was a risk, but called it a "calculated risk."

"We have to understand, a larger risk would be to keep children at home," he said.

"It's worth the effort to keep as many classes open as possible."

So, "for the moment nothing is changing" in schools, he made clear. That includes sports and arts activities, though he said public health authorities are monitoring the situation.

Schools aren't the only thing staying open.

Unlike in March, businesses, including hair salons can continue to operate, though bars will close and restaurants will once again only be able to offer takeout and delivery.

As of September 25, there were 851 active COVID-19 cases among students and staff at Quebec schools, both public and private.

As of the same date, 543 schools had reported at least one confirmed COVID-19 case.

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