Outside Montreal, Quebec schools prepare for return of students
Classes will look very different in Quebec's non-Montreal elementary schools when classes resume on Monday.
On Wednesday, parents were entering the elementary school in Howick to pick up some of the items that were left behind when schools closed in March.
“One of the things that was most important for parents were academic belongings but also running shoes and basic things they would need,” said principal Melanie Primeau.
While Howick Elementary normally teaches 170 students, only 35 will return on Monday.
“It's going to be a challenge,” said Primeau. “We're lucky that we're starting next week with a smaller number that we can adapt.”
Part of that adaptation is adhering to physical distancing and hygiene measures. Desks have been spaced out and numerous hand sanitizer stations have been installed.
“We've taken out all extra furniture from each of the classrooms that are going to get used so the desks can be two metres apart,” said Primeau.
New Frontiers School Board Assistant Director General Mike Helm said preparing for the resumption of classes has required teamwork.
“I can assure that within our schools, when we open the doors, those protocols, those procedures, those guidelines are being respected,” he said.
Not every school board outside Montreal will re-open as planned. The Eastern Townships School Board delayed their opening by two days.
“The personal protective equipment we've required – masks, gloves, jackets, gowns, disinfectant, hand sanitizer – all have to be in place and in use, ready to go on the morning when students begin to arrive,” said board chair Michael Murray.
Schools within Montreal are slated to reopen May 19.