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Quebec allows CEGEP and university students to go back to class one day a week

Click to play video 'Some CEGEP students are worried about the government’s plan to send them back to class' Some CEGEP students are worried about the government’s plan to send them back to class
WATCH: After months of online learning, CEGEP and University students are going to slowly be able to begin reintegrating the classroom. The plan to get post-secondary students back in class was outlined in a press conference on Thursday, but as Raquel Fletcher explains, not all students are in favor of the idea. – Feb 4, 2021

Quebec is loosening health restrictions for university and CEGEP students, allowing them now to attend classes in person once a week.

The government is worried about students’ mental health from prolonged isolation.

READ MORE: Online learning spurred by pandemic takes toll on university students and teachers in Montreal

Spencer Beaulne, 18, is in his last semester at Dawson College, having spent most of his time learning online — an education he feels is inferior to learning in person.

“It’s definitely harder to communicate socially with the teacher,” he explained.

However, he’s not a fan of the idea to allow students back into the classroom one day a week. He said he wouldn’t feel safe with students travelling from all over the province.

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“I feel like it would be not healthy because we’d be bringing in students from all over,” he said. “I don’t even come from the city. I come from the Eastern Townships.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Quebec CEGEPs see higher enrollment numbers but fewer international students

The government assures that students like Beaulne will be able to continue online if they choose, but it is also worried about students’ mental health from prolonged isolation. The province’s health experts say they have weighed the risks, recommending a gradual return to class in person.

“That’s why we’re going progressively. We don’t want to have to close up again in a couple weeks,” said Dr. Richard Massé.

The government will provide procedural masks for free. In red zones, classes will be reduced to 50-per cent capacity.

The opposition is in favour of the decision.

“This generation was considered very knowledgeable about the digital way of doing things, so therefore the government thought: ‘You know, we don’t have to worry too much about them.’ But the reality is that they need social contacts. They need to discover what a CEGEP is like; they need to discover what a university is like,” said Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade.

READ MORE: Quebec suspends R score for winter term in CEGEPs amid coronavirus pandemic

“I feel like I’ve missed a lot of the CEGEP experience because I was only there for the first semester,” said Katie Pallet-Wiesel.

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The commerce student at Dawson College thinks it’s risky to go back to class now when there are still so many active cases of COVID-19 in Montreal.

“I think changing in the middle of the semester is just going to add more stress,” she said.

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Opposition parties question logic behind Legault’s decision to loosen restrictions' Coronavirus: Opposition parties question logic behind Legault’s decision to loosen restrictions
Coronavirus: Opposition parties question logic behind Legault’s decision to loosen restrictions – Feb 3, 2021