COVID-19 Newsletter #5 (Back-to-School Edition)

young kid wearing mask
Montreal - Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Welcome to the fifth edition of our COVID-19 newsletter, where you will find information regarding the latest Ministry of Education directives and Public Health guidelines, as well as answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from parents and students.

Please click here to view PDF Version of EMSB COVID-19 Newsletter No:5

The EMSB will continue to implement COVID-19 Ministry protocols for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • You have questions, we have answers! We invite you to have a look at our COVID-19/back-to-school FAQ, which is regularly updated. It currently features over 75 questions and answers.
  • For information on the Back-to-School Plan featured in previous newsletters, click here.
  • Should you have additional questions, please contact us.

Testing and Isolation Recommendations - When should a student remain home?

We continue to implement government health and safety measures to ensure the safety of our students and employees. Parents are sent regular reminders to assess their children’s health before coming to school. We encourage you to visit the link below to view a helpful guide that can help you assess various situations in order to determine if your children should or should not be reporting to school.

New Health Measures from the Ministry of Education for Educational Institutions

On October 5th, the Ministry of Education issued their latest directives for educational institutions. 

As of October 8th, 2020 the following new measures will apply in the designated red zones:

New Measures Specific to Elementary Schools

  • Students will remain in a single stable class group, without any physical distancing required between students within that group
  • There will be assigned seating on school buses, with one student per bench wherever possible. All students in Grade 5 through Secondary V must continue to wear a face covering on school buses
  • Special pedagogical projects, such as Sports-études and Arts-études programs, will continue only within a stable class group. If it is necessary for students from different groups to come together, a 2-metre physical distance must be maintained between these students at all times. No group activities may be carried out while students are gathered together. Matches, games and competitions will not be permitted
  • Lunch can be eaten in the classroom or in the cafeteria, with a 2-metre physical distance between stable class groups.
  • Professional services (e.g. remedial education) can continue to be offered to students either individually or in groups of no more than six students. If any of these six students come from different class groups, a 2-metre physical must be maintained
  • All extracurricular activities and educational field trips are suspended
  • Moving forward, school staff members must wear a procedural mask in common areas, in staff rooms and outside on school grounds

mask table for elementary

New Measures for All Students and Staff

  • Daycare services will be offered in stable class groups or subgroups, separated by a 2-metre distance and/or physical barriers

New Measures Specific to Secondary Schools

  • Moving forward, students will be required to wear a face covering as soon as they arrive on school grounds. This new measure is being put in place to ensure that they continue to remain mindful of physical distancing measures and public health rules

  • Face coverings are now compulsory when students are in the classroom. However, the face covering may be removed in the following circumstances:
    •             ‣          When a student is seated and eating or drinking

                  ‣          When a student is in Physical Education/Health class and is maintaining a 2-metre physical distance from others

                  ‣          When a student reports having a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering

                  ‣          When a student is receiving care, obtaining a service, or practicing a physical activity that requires them to remove their face covering. In this case they can remove it for the duration of the care, service or activity

    • secondary table
    • Secondary IV and V students will now attend class every second day. They will follow their regular schedule, but alternate between in-person and online classes. This approach is intended to ensure the continuation of their learning
    • For students who take optional courses required for admission to college, it may occur that they will not all belong to the same stable class group. In this case, they must wear a face covering and the 2-metre physical distancing rule must be maintained at all times. Alternatively, these courses may be offered through distance education

    We would like to advise parents that Public Health has announced that there will be an increased police presence near secondary schools in an attempt to raise awareness among students and adolescents, and encourage health and safety practices. 
    All measures will come into effect in red zones on Thursday, October 8th, and will remain in effect until at least October 28, at which time the situation will be re-evaluated by the Minister.

    Transportation Services

    As per the EMSB Transportation Policy, services must be provided to students who are eligible for transportation. However, amid the COVD-19 situation, the EMSB has had to modify the functioning of its transportation organization in order to ensure that Government health and safety measures are being met; specifically restricting the number of students that are inside each vehicle.

    The new Ministry guidelines presented on October 5th have indicated that there will be assigned seating on school buses, with one student per bench whenever possible. As such, we are kindly asking parents who are able to obtain alternative means of transportation for their children, to please do so.

    Reporting and Evaluations

    We would like to inform all parents that given the current situation, the Ministry has announced several modifications to evaluation and progress reports. We invite you to visit the link below for the detailed information. However here are some of the key highlights: 

    • Progress reports which would regularly be given out in October, will now be distributed in November
    • Students will receive two reports cards instead of the usual three
    • Ministry exams for Elementary and Cycle I Secondary (7,8,9) will be worth 10% instead of 20%
    • There will be no changes to Cycle II Secondary

    Click here to view Ministry correspondence regarding progress reports

    Continue to protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding large gatherings and crowded places! 
    It is a collective responsibility.