Montreal

Quebec to allow sports and extracurricular activities between class bubbles — even in areas with more cases

Intramural sports, extracurricular activities and special programs for students with disabilities will all resume Monday, with special restrictions in place.

Government stopped publishing data on COVID-19 cases in schools, but education minister says list coming soon

Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said Friday activities would be allowed to resume on Sept. 14, despite an increase in cases in several parts of the province. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Students in Quebec will be allowed to participate in school sports and extracurricular activities between class groups starting Monday, even in regions considered more concerning under the province's new COVID-19 alert system

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge said students will be allowed to interact with those in their own class bubbles as well as with students in two other groups.

"We're keeping with the same principle that kids should stay with groups and they're not just free to go around," Roberge said Friday.

"They have to stay with their class and they're allowed to go with two other closed groups — groups with always, day-after-day, the same other kids." 

Programs for students with disabilities will also be allowed to resume between class groups.Those students will also be placed into smaller groups for those activities and will be asked to keep a physical distance wherever possible. 

Many organizers and parents had hoped intramural sports and art activities would resume Sept. 14, but Premier François Legault said that would only happen if there wasn't a surge of COVID-19 cases. 

On Thursday, Legault suggested there may be some restrictions on the kinds of extracurricular activities allowed for schools in regions classified as "yellow" under the province's new COVID-19 alert system. 

But that is not the case. The rules will be applied the same in schools classified as "green" or "yellow," Roberge said. 

If a region is designated as "orange" or "red," however, students will then be confined to their class bubbles. 

"Of course, there's no zero risk when you're in a pandemic but this limits the risk," said Roberge. 

Roberge said schools are now ready to open students up to other groups because they have learned to implement COVID-19 safety regulations and because the case numbers in schools have remained relatively low. 

New list of school cases coming, minister says

The government took down its public list of schools impacted by COVID-19 Thursday night, but Roberge said Friday they are working to get a new and more updated list up in the coming days. 

"We had some issues with this list. We want to be sure that when we go public with the list, all the information is really right and reviewed to our satisfaction," he said. 

In the meantime, he said parents at the schools affected will continue to be alert immediately. 

According to the most recent data released by the government on Sept. 4, there were 118 schools across the province that had at least one case of COVID-19.

Watch: How Quebec's alert system works 

Quebec has unveiled a new, colour-coded COVID-19 alert system. Here's how it works. 2:11

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