First week of school in Quebec City: 80 students in isolation, 3 Covid cases at 2 high schools

Muskoka Post Staff

Back to School in Quebec also meant back home for 14 days for some students. CTV news is reporting that more than 80 students in Quebec City are in isolation after three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at two high schools, the local public health agency said Monday.

Two positive COVID-19 cases were at Polyvalente de Charlesbourg and one case was confirmed at Ecole Jean-de-Brebeur, 81 students from the two schools were told to isolate for 14 days beginning Aug. 28.

The infected students are considered "community cases" because all three contracted COVID-19 outside school. The infections are not linked.

COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at a handful of schools across Quebec after most French-language schools resumed last week.

Quebec Premier Francois Legault urged Quebecers to be vigilant after the recent uptick in COVID-19 infections. He said there was no single cause of the increase in daily cases.

"Above all -- above all -- I don't want to close schools," Legault told reporters in Montreal.

"Let's keep that in mind, we owe it to our children," he said. "We want our children to stay in schools, and so for our children to stay in schools, we have to be careful, we have to be disciplined, we have to respect all the instructions."

The English Montreal School Board said it would closely follow COVID-19 guidelines set by the provincial government as students returned to classes Monday morning. Students in Grade 4 and under are not required to wear face masks, while older students must wear them in common areas and on school transportation.

Students will still be able to take the bus to school, but health and safety guidelines only permit 44 students per bus instead of the typical 72. The board also asked for parents to drive or walk their children to school if they can.

In a newsletter to parents, the board said it has ordered medical equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant in "large quantities" for students.

Other English school boards, including Lester B. Pearson, Eastern Townships and Riverside, will also reopen their schools this week.

Meanwhile, a French-language school board said late Sunday two more teachers at a high school north of Montreal tested positive for COVID-19.

Four teachers at Polyvalente Deux-Montagnes have now tested positive after classes resumed last week, the school board, the Centre de services scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles, said in a statement.

About 20 other staff members who were in contact with those cases were placed in isolation as a precaution. The public health agency in the Laurentians region said in an email that 12 students from the school will be told to isolate until Sept. 10.

The school board added that most Grade 10 and 11 Polyvalente Deux-Montagnes students who were sent home last week after the teachers tested positive were back in school Monday.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also stressed Monday that Quebecers need to remain cautious if they want to prevent outbreaks in schools. The recent infections tied to schools occurred in the community, he said.

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