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COVID-19: Quebec to enforce elementary school students in red zones to wear masks in class

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Elementary school students in Quebec’s red zones will have to wear masks in class after spring break to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Canadian Press has learned from a reliable source on Wednesday.

The provincial government will first implement the new measure to the greater Montreal region and then to other red zones across the province a week later, on March 15.

Public health recommended that the government tighten sanitary measures in schools in order to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variants that are showing to be more transmissible.

Elementary school students — aside from those in grades 5 and 6 — are currently only required to wear masks in the bus and in the hallway. Students in the last two grades are already required to wear masks in class.

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All students will be allowed to remove their masks during recess.

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Read more: Montreal public health aims to clamp down on COVID-19 variants

Education Minister Jean-François Roberge will announce the new rules on Thursday, according to the source.

Measures in orange zones are expected to stay as they are in schools.

The government is expected to provide schools with smaller masks made to fit children.

On Wednesday, Montreal public health said variants have been detected in up to eight to 10 per cent of new COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Mylène Drouin, director of the city’s public health department, said community transmission remains strong in Montreal.

There have been 22 outbreaks linked to them  some of which have already ended — since January, she added.

The outbreaks have mostly been in schools and daycares, which have seen 11 and six outbreaks respectively.

— With files from Alessia Maratta, Global News

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