Daycares and elementary schools in Quebec will be reopening for students to return today, with the exception of schools in Montreal and the surrounding area, according to CTV News.
Quebec is the first province since the pandemic to reopen schools, however education officials say that social distancing measures will still apply along with frequent hand washing.
It isn't mandatory for students to attend and certain school boards have already indicated that the majority of parents are keeping their children home for the time being.
Students will spend the majority of the school day at their desks while school officials continue to keep up with cleaning and disinfecting the common areas in order to meet public health guidelines.
School cafeterias, libraries and gyms will remain closed and some schools have prepared instructional videos to better prepare both the students and their parents for what to expect in the coming weeks, such as floors marked with tape to indicate where students can stand and seeing their teachers in masks and gloves.
In Montreal, and its surrounding area, schools won't be reopening until May 25 and CEGEPs (junior colleges) and high schools won't be returning at all this semester. They will be coming back in September.
Quebec will be the first province to reopen schools and has faced some backlash on its decision to move ahead before other provinces, considering it has the highest amount of active COVID-19 cases of any other provinces.
Many parents and educators have stated their concerns for the safety of staff, students and the difficulty of actually implementing proper social distancing in classrooms. The school boards are planning to have no more than 15 students per room.
Premier Legault feels that due to the low risk that young people face with contracting and spreading COVID-19, students will benefit from continuing with their education. He notes that this is particularly true of those students with special needs.
Legault has said it's better to reopen things gradually than all at once, saying, "Life needs to continue."
A vaccine won't likely be available for another year, said Legault, and children can't be at home dealing with remote learning for that long. The return to school is a situation that will be monitored closely on an ongoing bases, noted the premier, saying that public health officials will make adjustments as needed.