Montreal-area schools to stay closed until September; daycares to reopen June 1


By Basem Boshra, CTV Montreal

Premier François Legault announced Thursday that elementary schools in the Montreal region will only reopen in September.

Legault said the COVID-19 situation in Montreal, including the number of deaths and hospitalizations, as well as the level of testing for COVID-19, remained too precarious.

"We've concluded that the conditions are not met to reopen elementary schools in the Montreal region," Legault said, noting that "the (COVID-19) situation is under control outside of Montreal, but it remains fragile here."

However, he added that daycares in the Montreal region will reopen June 1, a week later than had been scheduled.

Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said she concurred with Quebec's decision to push back the school reopenings, calling it "the right thing to do."

The Greater Montreal area — including Laval and the South Shore — remains the only region in the province where elementary schools, daycares and non-essential stores remain closed.

They were all scheduled to reopen May 25, but Legault had said he would not hesitate to push that date back if the COVID-19 situation in the area was not under control..

Non-essential stores could still reopen in the Montreal area on May 25, Legault said, but with strict public-health measures in place. A decision on stores is expected in the coming days, the premier added

"We'll still give ourselves a few days to take a decision regarding the retail businesses," Legault said. "A crucial element that would help us to reopen is for the majority of people to start wearing a mask in public.

"I strongly recommend that we do so."

High schools, CEGEPs and unversitiies in Quebec are already scheduled to reopen in the fall.

Legault acknowledged that these have been especially challenging times for people in the Montreal area, and expressed his gratitude to them.

"I know it's been tough for people in the Montreal region," Legault said. "Thank you for your discipline. Thank you for your patience."

Legault held his regular daily COVID-19 press briefing at Place Des Arts, joined by Plante, Quebec national director of public health Horacio Arruda, Montreal regional director of public health Mylène Drouin and Chantal Rouleau, the Quebec minister responsible for the Montreal area.

There are now 3,351 people who have died of COVID-19 in Quebec, health authorities announced Thursday, as confirmed cases in the province reached 40,724.

That’s up 131 from the 3,220 deaths reported Wednesday; COVID-19 cases in Quebec rose 793 from the 39,931 announced a day earlier.

There are 1,834 people being treated for COVID-19 in Quebec hospitals as of Thursday, down 42 from the 1,876 reported Wednesday. Of those in a hospital, 190 are in intensive care, down four from the 194 reported 24 hours earlier.

There are 2,747 people waiting for COVID-19 test results in Quebec as of Thursday, up 965 from the 1,782 reported Wednesday.

The number of people in Quebec who have recovered from COVID-19 as of Thursday was 10,829, up 359 from the 10,470 recoveries reported a day earlier.

At 4:30 p.m., Legault will hold a private meeting with the heads of Montreal's regional health and social services agencies at the Palais des Congres.

Finally, at 6 p.m. Legault will take part in a conference call with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers of all Canada's province's and regions.

Legault's visit to Montreal brings him to the epicentre of COVID-19 in Quebec, where more than 2,000 people have died of the disease during the pandemic, more than 60 per cent of the COVID-19 fatalities in the province.

More coming.


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