The Québec government proposes that institutions of higher education located in green, yellow and orange zones prioritize a blended approach for the back-to-school process to provide students with regular feedback and follow-up both in person and remotely. The goal is to ensure an optimal student presence on campus for in-person access to instructional activities and support services.

Classroom space and scheduling promote student presence on campus, while still ensuring that the guidelines issued by the public health authorities are respected. Individuals must remain at least 1.5 metres apart in classrooms.

All institutions have flexibility in implementing the means necessary to achieve maximum student presence on campus in order to take into account their unique situation. Institutions are asked to prioritize certain students, particularly first-year students, students with disabilities and students with special needs.

This scenario was selected so that students can benefit from learning activities and on-campus services, while receiving ongoing follow-up and feedback from teachers and professors.

As of October 8, institutions of higher education located in red zones will be required to take the necessary steps to minimize the movement of staff and students on campuses.

In this regard, CEGEPs, private colleges and universities are asked to provide as many learning activities as possible through distance education, except when students’ presence is essential for the acquisition or evaluation of learning (e.g. a course in health sciences involving simulations, an arts-related activity, flying an aircraft). Internships as well as research and lab activities can continue. Libraries will remain open only to permit access to the circulation desk and individual workspaces.

The following activities can continue to be carried out in educational institutions located in red zones:

  • Activities in university clinics, such as dental, optometry, psychology and speech therapy clinics, which are places where students can learn and the general public can access health services and care (activities at these clinics have been gradually resuming since September)
  • Certain internships in work settings that require, for example, access to specific equipment, and activities that require, in particular, the use of specialized equipment to which students would not have access off campus, such as:
    • Activities in performing arts programs (e.g. music, theatre, visual arts, singing)
    • Courses that require the use of specialized tools or equipment (e.g. music, visual arts, land surveying, audiology, midwifery)
    • Courses that call for carrying out a project that cannot be done remotely (e.g. building a prototype in an engineering course requiring specialized equipment, tools and materials)
    • Courses and work activities that call for field testing (e.g. agriculture, forestry, engineering)
    • Courses and work activities carried out in pedagogical gardens (plant and horticultural science)
  • Research and teaching labs, including those that use animals
  • Labs that do not have any reasonable remote simulation equivalent, especially in the health sector
  • Internships carried out in the field (e.g. mineral exploration) and in clinical practice, including health sciences in the broadest sense (e.g. medicine, nursing science, pharmaceutical sciences, social work, psychology)
  • Courses in the field of physical development, such as kinesiology
  • All internships in health sciences and social services
  • Flying of aircraft
  • Exams and evaluations

Educational institutions have been provided with guidelines aimed at providing each student with the necessary support to foster their sense of belonging, commitment, perseverance and motivation while complying with the health standards.

To ensure that all staff members on the various campuses can carry out their tasks effectively, they have access to the buildings and facilities of their educational institutions. However, staff members must comply with the current health guidelines at all times.

In addition, all institutions have adopted an emergency protocol that will enable them to transition quickly to distance education in the event of a second wave of the virus, which could again result in the total or partial restriction of access to campuses. In particular, this plan allows staff members to be able to continue their work and provide support to students to ensure that educational activities continue.