Québec will be under confinement from January 9 to February 8, 2021. A curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. and other specific measures will apply during this period. To find out about the measures, please visit the Confinement in Québec page.

Preschool and elementary school

Preschool and elementary school students return to class according to the set educator/teacher-student ratios and the principle of stable class groups (students remain in the same group at all times), in compliance with the physical distancing guidelines issued by public health authorities.

All subjects are taught (including Arts Education and Physical Education and Health).

At all levels, students who are part of the same stable class group are not required to follow physical distancing guidelines. However, the 1-metre physical distancing rule must be maintained between students from different stable class groups when they move around common areas, including hallways. 

Wearing a face covering in class is not required for students from preschool to Elementary 4, inclusive, but it is recommended. In red zones, all students, with the exception of preschoolers, are required to wear a face covering when circulating within the school and in all common areas, in the presence of students from other stable class groups, and when using school transportation. For more information, refer to the fact sheet (PDF 251 Kb) on wearing face coverings in various contexts.

Secondary school

Organization at the secondary level is based on the same principle as that applied in elementary school, meaning that schedules for courses and special pedagogical projects are adjusted so that stable class groups can be maintained. Physical distancing is not required between students in the same stable class group. All subjects are taught within that same stable class group (including Arts Education and Physical Education and Health). Teachers move between rooms according to the subject they are teaching, whereas students remain in the same room.

In Secondary IV and V, school service centres, school boards (English sector and those with a special status) and private educational institutions may opt for an alternative solution if the course schedule (including optional courses and special pedagogical projects) cannot be reorganized to maintain stable class groups. Depending on the needs they have identified, each educational institution may implement an alternating system: in-school learning for a minimum of 50% of the time usually allotted to each subject, complemented by online learning and work to be done at home.

In red zones, alternating in-person and remote attendance is required for students in Secondary III, IV and V.

For more information on wearing face coverings and masks, see the information sheet on wearing face coverings in various contexts (PDF 251 Kb).

In addition, students with a condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering or procedural mask securely are exempted from this requirement. Please consult the Wearing a mask or a face covering in public settings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic page for more information about the authorized exemptions.

Measures to ensure student success

During the 2020 back-to-school period, the Québec government provided the education network with additional funding to foster students’ educational success. More specifically, an investment of close to $100 million made it possible to support students in their return to class and in the consolidation of their learning.

The various measures include the following: 

  • new activities in the areas of curriculum catch-up, remedial education and homework assistance
  • hundreds of thousands of hours of additional direct services for students with disabilities, social maladjustments or learning difficulties
  • new complementary tools for distance learning
  • more resources and more time for students
  • creation of 75 new special classes
  • support to encourage students to stay in school
  • increased access to extracurricular activities and homework assistance
  • consolidation of learning 

In order to lend a helping hand to school staff, the Québec government will begin introducing a series of initiatives starting in January 2021 to provide support to students who are experiencing difficulties due to the pandemic. These difficulties may relate to students’ learning or their psychological well-being (mental health).

These initiatives include:

  • implementation of a tutoring program
  • creation of a bank of tutors
  • implementation of new guidance and support services by partner organizations
  • provision of increased psychosocial support, such as through a mobile app providing young people with access to numerous resources and videos of personal stories

Solutions are planned to provide more support for students experiencing academic difficulties. If you believe your child has fallen significantly behind in their learning, do not hesitate to contact their teacher.

All students who attend public schools and who require electronic devices to continue with their learning will receive them. School service centres and school boards have the necessary resources to provide the required equipment to all institutions.

Finally, in order to foster students’ educational success in light of the current context, documentation summarizing the essential knowledge to be taught to students will be prepared by the Ministère and sent to teachers. Under these circumstances, the ministerial exams for elementary and secondary school students are cancelled for this school year.

Sport-études, Arts-études, special pedagogical projects and extracurricular activities

Special pedagogical projects (e.g. Sports-études, Arts-études, concentrations) can continue as long as the principle of stable class groups is respected. If this is not possible, a 2-metre distance between students from different stable class groups must be maintained at all times, and the health guidelines must be strictly respected.

Secondary school students can remove their procedural (or surgical) masks if it is necessary to do so to participate in an activity (physical exercise, playing a wind instrument, etc.), provided that the 2‑metre distance between students is respected, even between students who are in the same class group.

Professional services offered to vulnerable students will continue to be provided on an individual basis or for groups of no more than six students spaced at least 2 metres apart.

Daycare services are provided for students from the same stable class group; it is also possible to create subgroups with 2 metres of distancing or physical barriers between them, while ensuring that the children are not isolated from the group. For optional courses, students must remain 2 metres apart and wear a face covering at all times. These courses can also be offered through distance learning.

These guidelines are based on three key premises: reducing the risk of outbreaks, facilitating epidemiological investigations when COVID-19 cases occur and minimizing the number of complete school closures. At all times, schools must ensure that is it possible to trace cases and sources of infection.

School staff

A distance of 2 metres must be maintained at all times between students and school staff, except in preschool (Kindergarten for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds), where physical distancing is not required between students and teachers. However, personal protective equipment is mandatory for preschool teachers. Protective equipment is also mandatory for teachers and support staff working with specialized classes, where a 2-metre physical distance between staff and students cannot be maintained.

Staff members must wear a face covering at all times when moving around the school. In all zones, staff members at other levels of education are not required to wear masks in class if they remain 2 metres away from students. In schools located in red zones, wearing a mask is mandatory for all school staff at all times in common areas, in rooms used by staff and on school grounds.
The administration and staff must ensure that they comply with the Hierarchy of Control Measures in the Workplace This hyperlink will open in a new window..

In the event of temporary school closures, a minimum number of hours of educational services will be provided so that all students have access to proper distance learning services. This will promote equity among distance education services, ensure that teachers and non-teaching professionals are available to meet the various special needs of students, and lay the foundations for the work to be provided to students. The minimum number of hours of distance education will vary according to grade level. 

Adult general education and vocational training

Consult the Measures in force page to see the restrictions that apply at each alert level.

Emergency protocol

Since the start of the school year, all school service centres, school boards (English sector and those with a special status) and private educational institutions have had an updated emergency protocol suited to their specific situation and to the needs of their students.

The emergency protocol is intended to provide all education stakeholders with a list of elements that must be taken into account in order to make it possible to react quickly to changes that may result from the closure of one or more institutions. The protocol also makes it possible to plan the steps to be taken to ensure that educational services can continue to be offered, in addition to the measures already implemented to ensure that public health guidelines are respected.

The elements to be implemented as part of the protocol include access to technological tools, the adaptation of learning methods and plans to ensure communication and collaboration between schools and families.