Frequently Asked Questions (COVID-19)

As parents, we understand that you have many questions/concerns and that this is a period of uncertainty. Rest assured that we are preparing to reopen our schools and doing everything possible to make sure your children are safe while attending school.  Although there will be differences in the organization of each school based on their own realities, the general planning and organization must respect the directives from the Ministry of Education.

This information is subject to change and current as of October 7, 2020.


Which measures will be applied in both elementary and high schools?
  • Students will remain in a single stable class group, without any physical distancing required between students within that group.
  • There will be assigned seating on school buses, with one student per bench wherever possible. All students in Grade 5 through Secondary V must continue to wear a face covering on school buses.
  • Special pedagogical projects, such as Sports-études and Arts-études programs, will continue only within a stable class group. If it is necessary for students from different groups to come together, a 2-metre physical distance must be maintained between these students at all times. No group activities may be carried out while students are gathered together. Matches, games and competitions will not be permitted.
  • Lunch can be eaten in the classroom or in the cafeteria, with a 2-metre physical distance between stable class groups.
  • Professional services (e.g. remedial education) can continue to be offered to students either individually or in groups of no more than six students. If any of these six students come from different class groups, a 2-metre physical distance is required.
  • Staff members must wear a procedural mask in common areas, in staff rooms and outside on school grounds.
  • All extracurricular activities and educational field trips are suspended.
Which measures will be applied in elementary school only?
  • Daycare services will be offered in stable class groups or subgroups, separated by a 2-metre distance and/or physical barriers.
Which measures will be applied to high schools only?
  • Secondary IV and V students will now attend class every second day.
    • They will follow their regular schedule, but alternate between in-person and online classes. This approach is intended to ensure the continuation of their learning.
  • Students will be required to wear a face covering as soon as they arrive on school grounds. This new measure is being put in place to make young people more mindful of physical distancing measures and public health rules.
  • Face coverings are now compulsory when students are in the classroom. However, the face covering may be removed in the following circumstances:
    • When a student is seated and eating or drinking;
    • When a student is in Physical Education and Health class and is maintaining a 2-metre physical distance from others;
    • When a student reports having a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face covering;
    • When a student is receiving care, obtaining a service or practicing a physical activity that requires them to remove their face covering, in which case they can remove it for the duration of the care, service or activity.
  • It may happen that students who are taking optional courses required for admission to college do not all belong to the same stable class group. In this case, they must wear a face covering and the 2-metre physical distancing rule must be maintained at all times. Alternatively, these courses may be offered through distance education.


(2020-09-06) As of Monday, August 31, 2020, how many families have not yet been notified whether their request to exempt their children from physically attending school has been accepted or refused?

All parents who requested an exempting for their children have been contacted. There are presently approximately 400 requests for exemptions.

(2020-09-06) There are many families that are experiencing difficulty in obtaining an appointment with a medical professional in a timely manner and therefore do not yet have a medical note. Others do not have a family doctor due to the shortage of doctors in Montreal. Would it be possible to accept these children into the virtual school until they meet with their doctor, at least on compassionate grounds?

If parents do not have a family doctor, they are advised to visit their local CIUSSS.  Every case is treated on an individual basis. Parents must prove that they have an upcoming medical appointment scheduled within the next few weeks.

If not, it will be necessary for students to start the year at their school pending a medical appointment.  It is easier to transition from school to virtual school and not the other way around.

(2020-09-06) How many EMSB students have withdrawn from the system because their parents will homeschool them? How many children were registered for homeschooling last year (2019-20)?

The Ministry of Education will provide the EMSB with a complete list by September 15th. According to our unofficial list, there are approximately 200 additional students.  In the 2019-2020 school year, 1,261 students were registered for homeschooling.

(2020-08-25) Will the EMSB provide daily updates should COVID-19 infection(s) occur?

Individual schools will notify parents, students and staff if someone within the school tests positive for COVID-19. This notification will come in the form of a general statement to ensure that confidentiality is maintained. Concurrently, Santé Publique will begin its investigation and provide the school and individual(s) affected with further instructions.

(2020-08-13) What constitutes a medical exemption for my child to learn from home?

The Ministry of Education announced that students who have a medical note confirming that they or a family member have a health problem will be entitled to online learning from home. 

If you feel that you or your child has a valid medical reason to request an exemption, please consult with your family doctor. Medical professionals are the only individuals who will be able to indicate what is or is not considered a valid medical exemption for your child. 

What Is the EMSB doing to advocate for their families regarding the new guidelines set forth by the minister which have our children in large class sizes, wearing no masks and not social distancing?

The EMSB is continuously advocating for families, for our students, as well as for our employees. We do so through regular communications with Ministry of Education officials in either formal or informal circumstances – either directly or through our associations. 

This being said, not only are we required to follow the back-to-school guidelines determined by the Ministry of Education, as well as by public health authorities at the Ministry of Health and Social Services, but we also believe that the decisions behind the guidelines unveiled on Monday, August 10, were made by some of the leading experts in Quebec on these matters. Nonetheless, every school and every class are in a unique situation and it is the responsibility of the EMSB and of each of our schools to ensure that the measures in place are tailored to every circumstance and situation. We take that responsibility extremely seriously.

(2020-08-13) Can you clarify the accommodation protocols for students with specific medical conditions?

As per the recent Ministry of Education directives, students who have a medical note confirming that they, or a household member, have a health condition that makes them vulnerable to COVID-19 may be entitled to online learning from home.

Parents are asked to complete a request form and provide a medical note to their child’s school. All medical notes must be dated as of August 10, 2020. Each request will then be forwarded to the school board for final approval.

Once the request is approved, the EMSB will contact the parent with all pertinent information. The EMSB will offer education at a distance in order to ensure that each child continues to receive quality instruction.

(2020-08-13) What if my child has trouble adjusting to this new back-to-school experience, will there be a clear protocol/ structure of support put in place?

The Student Services Department will be working in collaboration with school teams, principals and Regional Directors to put in place a well-planned support system for students who are having difficulty adjusting to their new reality.

(2020-08-13) What is the Ministry of Education’s plan in the case of a second wave of contamination?

In the event of a second wave or the occasional closure of schools, a minimum level of service will be provided so that all students have access to proper distance learning. 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.

Will staggered arrival/dismissal times be considered?

Main entrances and exits will be monitored to ensure physical distancing is respected.  Schedules may also be adjusted to minimize bottlenecks and gatherings (e.g. access to the recreation yard).

Multiple school entrances may be used to allow a less congested flow of traffic into the building. Example: Grades 1-3 will use the south entrance and Grades 4-6 will use the north entrance.

Any modifications to arrival and dismissal times may vary from school to school. Those details will be communicated to parents before the start of classes.


(2020-09-28) If a parent comes home sick whether COVID or not - is the child supposed to stay home from school until a diagnosis?

We ask and expect the parent to contact the COVID-19 line (1 877 644-4545) and follow the instructions provided to them.  If a parent is to be tested, the other household members can continue their regular activities while monitoring their symptoms and report to work or attend school. 


(2020-09-28) What is the plan if a student is ill and needs to stay home to get tested for COVID-19? Will the student require a medical note to return to school? 

Anyone showing symptoms should call 1 877 644-4545 and follow the instructions.  Parents must contact the school and communicate the information obtained.  If testing is required, the student must stay home while awaiting results.  If positive, he/she will be instructed to stay home for a pre-determined period (usually 10 days).  If negative and the student was not in contact with a positive case of COVID-19, then he/she can return to school once the symptoms have improved.  If the student was in contact with a person who has COVID-19, then he/she will have to stay home for a pre-determined period (usually 14 days). 

(2020-08-25) How is the EMSB ensuring proper ventilation in the schools and centres?

For naturally ventilated buildings:

The EMSB is following the guidelines of the Ministry of Education with regards to naturally ventilating buildings, meaning that fresh air is introduced into the building mostly by opening its windows. The Ministry of Education in its reference document on air quality provides the general principles. The guidance allows to naturally ventilate buildings in hot/cold seasons, with precautions (i.e. opening windows during early morning/late evening, in short periods where kids are outside the classroom).

The windows in schools and centres will be verified to ensure that there are functional and repaired if need be.  

For mechanically ventilated buildings:

The EMSB is following the recommendations recently published by Health Canada and the US Center for Disease Control. The recommendations are summarized as follows: 

  • Ensure mechanical ventilation systems operate properly
  • Increase air exchanges
  • The recirculation of air is not prohibited 



(2020-08-25) Has the government provided schools with sufficient safety equipment?

The Ministry of Education has provided our schools with all the necessary personal protective equipment as per the guidelines of Santé Publique and CNESST. This equipment includes: masks, visors, gloves and gowns.

Additional products such as washable masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant will be supplied by the EMSB.

The Ministry of Education has provided extra funding to the EMSB for these products and they will also reimburse schools and centres, should they need to purchase more throughout the school year.

To ensure accountability, all expenses related to COVID-19 is being recorded and reported to the Ministry of Education.

How will schools ensure proper sanitation? Will there be an increase of caretakers per school?

Before students and staff returned to school, all caretakers received a training session on sanitary measures to be implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, required preventative disinfection measures, and proper tools and methods on how they are should be used. When possible, extra caretaking staff will be assigned and sent to schools and centers to assist the preventative disinfection in addition to the regular caretaking staff.


(2020-08-13) What happens to a child who contracts COVID-19 or becomes symptomatic; how will their education be followed and continued from home?

When a COVID-19 case is confirmed, Santé Publique takes charge of the situation. With the help of the school, who keeps an attendance/close contact registry, Santé Publique will instruct the school on the steps to be taken and who will be contacted (close contacts). The results of the Santé Publique investigation will make it possible to determine whether the people who have been in contact with the symptomatic person will be asked to isolate for a set duration of time and when they can return to school or continue to self-isolate for a longer period of time, if starting to exhibit symptoms. 

If a student has tested positive for COVID-19, Santé Publique will investigate the case and send home the student(s) that could be at risk. It is not necessarily all the students within a classroom that will be sent home. 

Students at home will be treated as any student who is home sick in any other circumstance. Work will be provided. Children who cannot return to school due to health issues will continue to receive an online education at home and a medical note will be required. More information will follow once we receive updated directives from the Ministry of Education and Santé Publique.

(2020-08-13) As children seem to show few symptoms or are asymptomatic: how will the spread of COVID-19 be kept under control with an obligatory return to school? We are concerned that students will spread COVID-19 to parents, who will go to work asymptomatic and spread it even further to people who could suffer serious consequences. Seeing the spread of the virus amongst young people has been high over the summer, will the government rethink some of its strategies? Will children need to stay at home if they have a cold that could possibly be COVID-19?

Students and staff will be responsible for the validation of their health on a daily basis. Parents will have to be responsible to validate the health of their children on a daily basis and to communicate any symptoms to the school. 

Students or staff members with COVID-19 symptoms will not enter the school. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to comply with a 14-day isolation period. 

Administrators will receive training on how to react to any potential case of COVID-19 before the start of classes. 

Parents will have to keep their children at home if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, coughing) until they can confirm that it is not COVID-19 related. If students and staff respect the social and physical distancing rules as well as practicing frequent hand washing and proper respiration etiquette, the risk should be low.  Parents and schools are jointly responsible to raise awareness when it comes to proper hygiene.   

Based on past experience, albeit on a smaller scale, we had no reported cases of COVID-19 in our emergency daycares and in the schools that we reopened in the spring.  On a positive note, the reopening of the Mackay Centre and Philip E. Layton Schools with the most vulnerable students was a success a positive experience for the students who returned.

Furthermore, sanitation measures are being implemented in schools, as per Santé Publique recommendations. The Material Resources Department will be responsible to ensure that regular and appropriate maintenance will take place.

Cleaning will be conducted by our trained staff and in accordance with disinfecting guidelines; washrooms will be disinfected at intervals depending on the frequency of use, and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected (doorknobs, faucets, toilets, computers and pencils/pens).

At this time, we are not aware whether the Ministry of Education will reconsider their plans nor whether they will enforce any new directives for the start of the school year.

(2020-08-13) What is the entry/exit routine the government has asked you to apply or you have decided to apply? Will parents need to sign a form? Will their temperature be taken? Will hand washing or sanitization stations be peppered around the school?

Main entrances and exits will be monitored to ensure physical distancing is respected.   

Schedules may be adjusted to minimize bottlenecks and gatherings (e.g. access to the recreation yard).

Hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the school in key areas (bathrooms, cafeteria, classrooms) and at every entrance to ensure that hands are sanitized upon arrival and before departure each day. 

Health self-assessment questionnaires are posted at every entrance indicating not to enter if symptoms are present as well as social distancing reminders. 

Parents will be advised of their responsibility to assess their children’s health daily and to ensure they wash their hands before leaving for school. 

Temperature checks will not occur. This practice is not recommended by CNESST or Santé Publique.

Movement in the school will be reduced to a minimum. Corridors will have signage to abide by the distancing and proper direction.

(2020-08-13) If a child from within the same classroom tests positive, will all parents be notified? If a child in the school tests positive, will all parents of the school be notified? What is the acceptable threshold before the school closes again?

When a COVID-19 case is confirmed, Santé Publique takes charge of the situation. With the help of the school, who keeps an attendance/close contact registry, Santé Publique will instruct the school on the steps to be taken and who will be contacted (close contacts).

Decision to close a school belongs with Santé Publique.

The results of the Santé Publique investigation will make it possible to determine whether the people who have been in contact with the symptomatic person will be asked to isolate for a set duration of time and when they can return to the educational institution or continue to self-isolate for a longer period of time if starting to exhibit symptoms.

(2020-08-13) Will the students and teachers be required to wear a mask?

Grade 5 and 6 students will be required to wear a face covering when they move around the school, when they are in shared areas, in the presence of students from other groups and when they use school transportation. Although face coverings will not be mandatory for students from preschool up to Grade 4, students can wear them in school and on school transportation vehicles.

In high schools, face coverings are mandatory for students outside classrooms and in common areas or in the presence of students from a different group. Face coverings are also mandatory when students are using school transportation or taking public transit.

Personal protective equipment (mask and visor) will be mandatory for preschool teachers and daycare educators. In the classroom, staff members at other levels of education are not required to wear face coverings if they remain 2 meters away from students. However, they must wear face coverings at all times when moving around the school.

During supervision of a student showing symptoms, the designated staff member must wear a procedure mask and protective eyewear (protective glasses or visor). If the staff member must have physical contact with the student or pupil, the staff member must also wear an over-garment (gown) and gloves.

If a specialist teacher (including gym teachers/music teachers/librarians/daycare staff) contracts COVID, do all students he or she taught need to stay home and quarantine for 14 days?

Most likely no. If any employee demonstrates symptoms, they are to contact the COVID-19 line. If they are at school when symptoms appear, they are to inform their school administrator and leave the school and contact the COVID-19 line.

After the employee contacts the COVID-19 line and is provided with further instructions, the employee is to contact the school principal to communicate the instructions received. It is to be noted that all employees are required to maintain the 2 metres distancing at all time with students and other staff members. When this is not possible, employees are to wear the appropriate PPE to protect both themselves and others around them.

Will the Quebec government conduct COVID-19 testing in schools?

At this time there will not be any testing done in schools. Like the rest of the population, students who are experiencing symptoms must stay at home and contact a health care professional.

For schools with no central air conditioning, can we open windows and/or use fans?

There are no restrictions on opening windows. Fans can be used as long as there are not directly facing individuals. Fans can face away from students and staff so as to let air circulate.

Will there be music and gym classes? If so, what sanitary measures will be taken to prevent the spread of COVID?

All subjects will be taught. With regards to music, for example, the theory will take place at school and the practice will take place at home. There will be no sharing of instruments or blowing into instruments. Keyboards or other instruments not using mouth may be shared when disinfected.

Physical education classes will take place outdoors whenever possible. Equipment will have to be sterilized between each use. The Phys. Ed. consultant will be working closely with the schools to create activities that respects the social distancing.

Will special programs, Sport-Études and Arts-Études, concentrations and extracurricular activities be offered?

Some pedagogical programs and extracurricular activities may be possible, depending on the nature of the physical distancing measures required. 

What measures and resources will be put in place to ensure cleaning and sanitation of surfaces, bathrooms, etc.? At what frequency?

Washrooms will be cleaned and disinfected every day depending on the frequency of use.

Cafeterias tables and chairs will be disinfected before and after every use. Microwaves will not be available.

Door knobs, faucets, toilets, computers and commonly used equipment will be disinfected every day, depending on the traffic.

Will children be eating at the same tables? Who will be supervising them? Who will be sanitizing those same tables after lunch is over? Will hot lunches no longer be provided? Will they be allowed hand sanitizer at their tables/desks?

Schools will decide whether students eat at their desk or use the lunchroom. The number of supervising staff will be adjusted accordingly. The lunch periods may be adjusted to reduce and control movement and waiting line in cafeteria, if necessary and applicable. The use of pre-paid meal cards will be encouraged to promote cashless payments.

If students eat in their classroom, the students will clean and disinfect their desk before and after eating. If they use the lunchroom/cafeteria, students will remain in pods as much as possible and maintain a distance of 1m with students from other pods and 2m with lunch monitors and cafeteria staff. The tables will be cleaned and sanitized before, between and after meals by the cafeteria and caretaking staff.

The hot lunch and cafeteria services will be available.

Hand sanitizers will be available in each classroom but students may bring their own should they prefer.

Every school will operate differently and the individual school plans will be shared with parents the week before the start of the school year as school teams are still in the prep stages.

How will bathrooms be kept clean and will there be restrictions on bathroom use?

Regular cleaning will be conducted by our trained staff and in accordance with disinfecting guidelines; washrooms will be disinfected at regular intervals depending on the frequency of use, and frequently touched surfaces will be disinfected (door knobs, faucets, toilets, computers and pencils/pens).

Students in bathrooms must respect the 1m distance and max occupancy may be established to ensure compliance with the social distancing measures.

Will any physical barriers such as plexiglass or desk shields be considered?

Plexiglass is already being installed where required when physical distancing is difficult or not possible. In addition, all schools will have movable plexiglass panels to use where and when the need arises in the school.

Has the EMSB offered training to teachers and staff on new CPR and first aid measures that are adapted for the COVID reality? If not, does it plan to do so?

First aiders will use gloves, a mask and eye protection (goggles or visor) and a gown, if necessary. All our schools are equipped with a defibrillator to be used in place of CPR. Each school has trained staff in first aid.


Do you have schools that will not be able to achieve the required social distancing measures and will therefore have to send some students elsewhere? If so, which schools?

Schools are preparing to receive their own students. If the need arises, we may have to look at relocating some groups of students.

(2020-08-13) What will transition periods look like in a school?

Schedules will have to be adjusted if possible in order to reduce the number of students who enter and exit facilities at the same time (e.g. one group, level or cycle at time, based on the situation of the school): at the beginning of the day and during meals, breaks and recesses.  Groups will have to maintain physical distance when moving in the hallways and while in common spaces.

Travel in the hallways will be in one direction at a time (creation of one-way lanes by using specific markings, for example) or arrows will indicate what side of the hallway or staircase to use.

Movement to and the use of specialized rooms will also need specific organization in order to  minimize the use of these rooms by different groups during the same day, perhaps by scheduling the extended use of a given room by the same group, for example) and allowing for the cleaning of these rooms between groups.

Each school will operate differently. Individual school plans will be shared with parents the week before the start of the school year as school teams are still in the preparatory stages.

Could the EMSB allocate more money to schools in order to invest in outdoor teaching spaces? Could this money be rushed to be available this fall?

The allocation of funds for 2020-2021 have already been assigned. As such, funding for new projects would not be feasible at this time. Many schools have outdoor teaching spaces. Where feasible, others can create environments where instruction could take place outdoors.

How will groups sent home due to potential COVID-19 be taught? Every class progresses differently. Will the online teachers work with the in-class teachers? Will it be the same teacher?

If a student is tested positive, the Santé Publique will investigate the case and send home students that could be at risk.  It is not necessarily all the students within a classroom will be sent home.

Students at home will be treated as any student who is home sick in any other circumstance.  Work will be provided.


(2020-08-25) What is the EMSB's current plan for recess for students in elementary school?

Each school will develop their own plan for recess. The plan is dependent on the population of the school and the size of the schoolyard.

(2020-08-25) Will children be required to stay amongst their class during recess?

As much as possible, the children will be required to stay within their class group during recess.   

(2020-08-25) Will children have to stay 1 metre apart from one another?

Students from the same class do not have to follow physical distancing guidelines. However, the 1 metre physical distancing rule will have to be maintained between students from different classes. 

(2020-08-25) Will children be required to wear masks for recess?

According to current guidelines, students will not be required to wear masks when they are outdoors. If recess must be held inside, students in Grades 5 and 6 will have to wear their masks when they are in any common areas.

(2020-08-25) Will recess times be staggered?

Each school will develop their own plan for recess, depending on the population of the school and the size of the schoolyard. Schools that can ensure proper social distancing outside due to a large schoolyard and small population will not have to stagger their recess times. Schools that cannot ensure proper social distancing will stagger recess times.  


(2020-08-25) Are specific pedagogical services planned for students who fell behind in the spring and are returning to school?

Teachers and specialists will use September to observe and assess each student as well as provide the necessary support to help them advance.

The EMSB always encourages acceleration and not remediation. The latter is based on the misconception that for students to learn new information, they must go back and master everything they missed. Teachers are in the best position to decide the proper course of action for students as information they missed may not apply to what they are currently studying.

(2020-08-25) Are specific pedagogical services set up to address the back log of students awaiting a diagnosis? Will this process be sped up to ensure equitable learning for students with special needs?

If a student does not have a code as a result of an incomplete assessment, he or she should have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) where the adaptations and/or modifications are in place in order to support the student in their learning.  

The Student Services Department works in close collaboration with individual school administration to ensure that proper support measures are in place. Student Services professionals will prioritize the students that were on the assessment list prior to March 2020 and they will be in the schools to conduct their assessments. 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Education announced that the provincial government will provide an additional $18 million to school boards across Quebec to facilitate the hiring of 350 new professionals. This added funding should help accelerate the process.

(2020-08-25) If there is a second wave of COVID-19 and schools are closed, what will the protocol be for online learning?

The EMSB has worked diligently to ensure a smooth transition to online learning, should this be required during the school year. Teachers will be encouraged to prepare students for the possibility of school closures. Students will practice accessing online platforms, documents and other necessary tools. Guidelines on netiquette, online safety and proper usage will also be reviewed in class. Online resources will be continuously updated and available.

As it relates to the subjects taught and time allocated to each, the EMSB will follow the recommendations from the Ministry of Education.

(2020-08-25) If there is a second wave of COVID-19 and students must transition to online learning, will evaluation and grading be modified and if so, how?

As of August 21, the Ministry of Education has informed the EMSB that students will continue to be evaluated, graded and reported on throughout the year.

As it relates to students in Grades 10 and 11, the EMSB is awaiting further directives from the Ministry of Education pertaining to their evaluation and reporting as well as how to conduct the necessary exams and other criteria needed for high school graduation and CEGEP admission.

(2020-08-13) Has the EMSB created an online learning platform and has the EMSB trained their educators to use it?

The two main platforms being used are Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom. Teachers were provided with training on these two platforms since they will continue to be the online teaching tools of choice in the current school year. Over 2,000 synchronous professional development sessions were attended by EMSB teachers from May 11th to June 28th. The sessions were provided by both EMSB educational consultants and outside organizations. Google Classroom is the most widely used Digital Learning Platform in the EMSB.  We currently have an average of over 1,500 teacher classrooms which service over 9,000 students, a significant increase since the beginning of the pandemic. The “TEACHING STUDENTS 2020 STYLE” website was designed by our EMSB consultants to provide support and professional development opportunities for online teaching to all of our teachers. 

(2020-08-13) What measures have been put into place to address remote learning if a second wave of re-confinement occurs? And how quickly will these measures be implemented? 

Teachers were provided with training on the use of online teaching tools and strategies. The “TEACHING STUDENTS 2020 STYLE” website was designed by our EMSB consultants to provide support and professional development opportunities for online teaching to all of our teachers. In addition to all of the training, EMSB and school administrators have prepared protocols that could take effect immediately if re-confinement is declared. In order to be better prepared, teachers and students will simulate/practice online learning while in class. This will provide students with the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the platform and the guidelines. As a result, students will be more comfortable if online teaching becomes necessary later on.

(2020-08-13) What are the standardizations that will be put into place to ensure that each school receives the same level of education for remote learning?

All teachers are required to respect the guidelines established by the Ministry of Education. This will include covering the content of the program as well as the minimum number hours recommended for each course and grade level provided remotely. Please see this link for more information:


(2020-08-13) How can I enrol my child in homeschooling?

Homeschooling in Quebec is managed by the Direction de l’enseignement à la maison (DEM) which is part of the Ministry of Education. Parents must apply to home school their children via the government’s website

The contact information is: 

Direction de l’enseignement à la maison
Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur
600, rue Fullum, 11e étage
Montréal (Québec) H2K 4L1

514-787-3583 ext. 5265
Fax: 514-864-8921

Parents can apply to home school their child(ren) at any time during the year.

Once the DEM has approved the application, parents can request certain services (e.g. textbooks, evaluations, diagnostic services from a psychologist or speech and language therapist or an occupational therapist or a special education consultant) from their local school board or service center.

(2020-08-13) Although some parents are anxious for in-person schooling to commence, many parents are very fearful of sending their kids back to school in person and don’t approve of school being obligatory - they feel parents should have a choice under the circumstances. In Calgary, families and teachers in high risk situations can choose online learning for the full school year. Taught by teachers (high risk, at home) using Google Classroom, Google Meet. We ask that the Quebec government offer something similar.

Based on the Ministry of Education directives, it is compulsory for all students to be physically present at school, unless they are exempt because of a medical condition, note that a medical note must be provided.

For parents who want to keep their children at home there is the option of homeschooling.  If the Ministry of Education changes its directives and allows parents to choose whether or not to send their children to school, we will have to plan accordingly.

(2020-08-13) For children who cannot return to school due to health issues, how will they continue to receive an education while at home? Could this not be extended to parents who do not want their children physically back at school (due to a fragile grandparent or parent or other)?

Children who cannot return to school due to health issues, will continue to receive an education at home. This will be extended to parents and grandparents provided they share the same address (proof of residence may be required).

(2020-08-13) How do you plan on ensuring high school students continue to have the same quality of education when they’re in school and online?

There are currently no online teaching options available, unless the student has a medical condition and provides a medical note.  If there is another school closure, teachers will be providing distance learning. 

The professionals from the Student Services Department will continue to ensure that the services for the students with special needs will be maintained in school and online.  The Student Services Department multidisciplinary team assigned to each schools will continue to have regular meetings with the school team.

(2020-08-13) If/when online teaching is required, what platform will the EMSB use?

In the fall, schools should leverage one Learning Management System (LMS). Google Classroom and/or Microsoft Teams will be the only LMS that the Educational Services Department will support. The reasoning behind choosing one LMS is:

  • A single access point to discussion threads and assigned work.
  • A single programme to store all students’ work in a paperless format.
  • A tracking mechanism to identify students struggling with assigned tasks.
  • Simplified grading features.

The Ministry of Education does not dictate learning platforms used by school boards. The Ministry of Education may request a "Teams" meeting when speaking with EMSB management, for example, but does not get involved in the choice of learning platforms.  

In the Youth Sector, the EMSB predominantly uses Google Classroom and will now also use "Meet", which is the videoconferencing/chat tool that works seamlessly with Classroom. With the availability of Google Meet, the use of Zoom and Teams as video-conferencing tools are no longer needed.

In the Adult Sector, however, the learning and communications/collaboration platform used is Microsoft Teams.

Will all schools be following a standard online teaching protocol?

Will all schools be following a standard online teaching protocol?

  • Fixed number of hours of instruction per teacher/subject dependent on grade?
  • Requirement for all subjects to be taught, as in a regular school week?
  • How will tests/assessments be undertaken?

If online teaching needs to be reinstated at a school, within a class or a bubble group, we ask that you impose a minimum number of hours per core subject required, based on grade level. Will you do that?

It will be more structured and a minimum number of hours depending on the subject and grade level seems reasonable.

Some parents are suggesting no books be brought home from school and that Google classroom be set-up from day one, where all work could be done. Could this be feasible?

It will be strongly recommended that Google Classroom and/or Microsoft Teams are set-up in an aim to develop a routine for both teachers and students. However, that being said, we must allow teachers some flexibility depending on grade level, etc.

The EMSB must also adhere to Canada’s copyright laws, hence posting of workbook material may not be possible. The EMSB has begun discussions with the various publishers that we collaborate with to determine how to best support the students. Example PEARSON/ERPI has informed us that schools who buy a workbook will receive a code to access electronic version (It will be given directly to the schools). 

If school remains obligatory and the Ministry of Education refuses or is unable to provide at-home teaching, some parents may choose homeschooling. Can the Board accommodate a sudden rise of homeschooling requests?

The school board can currently accommodate 1500 homeschoolers. Should an increase in homeschooling requests require us to revisit the number of staff members looking after this dossier, we will do so at the time.

Note that homeschooling is conducted by parents and not a teacher. Please follow this link for all homeschooling documents:

If a child is being homeschooled, can parents change their mind during the course of the year and have the child return to school at any time?

Yes they can change their mind, but registration would not be automatic. Parents would need to contact their local school and register or in some cases re-register their child.

We understood in a recent La Presse article that some 80,000 students in Quebec still did not have access to technology for online learning. How many students within the EMSB are still lacking the necessary tools and internet connection to distance learn? How will this be addressed?

The EMSB supported schools by helping them prepare equipment for loan, as well as providing loan forms and a loan tracking system.  We know that the parents of 1,030 Youth Sector students indicated that their child did not have a computer and we are pleased to report that our records indicate that 943 loans were made. The inventory of our schools is not depleted and there is additional equipment that may be loaned. We also noted that the parents of 108 students indicated that their household did not have an internet connection. There were 32 other cases where the students had a computer but no internet. In response, the EMSB bought 200 LTE (internet) enabled iPads and offered them to schools for loan. Thus far, approximately 40 such iPads were loaned out and despite the fact that the Telus free internet plan ended at the end of June, the EMSB is still providing internet to those iPads. Parents whose children still do not have a laptop or tablet at home that could be dedicated to online learning should contact their school principal who can arrange a loan in the fall.

Will the EMSB be sending out another survey to see how many kids need technology?

The EMSB Information Technology Department will conduct a survey regarding equipment needs.

Can laptops/computers/iPads be used? Will classrooms still have a computer?

Yes, they will be used as long as the surfaces are properly sterilized between each use. The proper products are available to schools.


(2020-08-13) How will school bussing work?

No more than two students can be seated on the same bench, bringing the number of students who can be on board a school bus at the same time to 48. 

  • Siblings should be seated together.
  • The same two students should remain seated together on the same bench every day, if possible.
  • Wearing face-coverings while in the vehicle is strongly recommended for students from preschool to grade 4, inclusively.  It is mandatory for students in grade 5 and 6 and secondary school. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be made available to students at the entrance of the vehicle.
  • The vehicle will be fully cleaned after transporting each group of students.

School bus drivers will have access to the necessary personal protective equipment (e.g. mask, visor). The installation of a physical Plexiglas barrier could be an additional option to ensure everyone’s safety. 

If they are able to bring their children to school themselves, parents will once again be encouraged to do so.

Before the first day of school, if there is enough space on the bus, all students who are eligible for busing will be assigned a bus pass.

On August 24, a second transportation survey will be sent out to parents asking them if they wish to request an accommodation bus pass for their child(ren). If there is enough space on the bus, these students should be receiving an accommodation bus pass after September 30th. If there is not enough space on the bus for all the requests submitted, a selection of students will be required, younger students will have priority over older students.

Regarding bus services, if all students who have been refused bus service now have to find their own transportation to school, what will that do to the morning drop-off traffic? Will they still be providing daycare services for those parents who will need extra time to get to work afterwards?

Schools will be implementing safety procedures for the drop off area in the morning and after school. The school administrator will be communicating with parents on how to proceed for the drop off / pick up area.

Parents can register their child(ren) in the BASE program in the month of August.

What about high school students who use public transportation, which is often crowded? Any other solutions for them?

As of July 13th, anyone travelling by public transportation must wear a mask. To this date, the STM has not added extra busing services during morning and afternoon runs.

Will the EMSB be sending out another survey to see how many kids need bussing?

The School Organization Department sent a survey with regards to bussing in July asking parents that are eligible for transportation if they will be requiring busing in September. Once all eligible students have received transportation, if there is any available space on the bus, we will start looking at accommodation request (younger to oldest). This survey will be sent on August 24.

Will there be before and after school programs?

Yes, these programs will continue. The same safety guidelines as during the day will be respected.

(2020-08-13) Will the groups be maintained during daycare and extracurricular activities? How will bussing be impacted?

Whenever possible, the groups will be maintained during daycare and during extracurricular activities.  If this is not possible, the 1-metre distance between students will have to be respected.  

No more than two students can be seated on the same bench.  This directive ensures the 1-metre distancing rule between students.  For children in the same household, three (3) students per bench is permitted.


(2020-09-06) How many teaching positions are currently unstaffed across the Board?

At this time, there are 13 full-time vacant posts and 7 part-time vacant posts that we are working on filling in the youth sector.

(2020-09-06) How many teachers requested to be exempted from in-class teaching, and how many have been granted the exemption?

Presently, 40 teachers have requested to be exempt. To date, the EMSB has granted 30 exemptions, and presently 17 teachers are on preventive maternity leave and are being re-assigned to the virtual school.

How many EMSB teachers will be missing due to health issues that could be aggravated by COVID? Will these teachers be asked ...

How many EMSB teachers will be missing due to health issues that could be aggravated by COVID? Will these teachers be asked to teach online?

It is too soon to determine how many teachers will be reporting to work. Every case will be evaluated individually.

What plans are in place to minimize the movement of service providers (psychologists, childcare workers, speech language ...

What plans are in place to minimize the movement of service providers (psychologists, childcare workers, speech language pathologists, etc.) and substitute teachers from one school to another?

Most professionals will work with school teams at a distance. Assessments of students can take place. If the physical distance of 2 meters cannot be respected, the staff member must wear the appropriate protective equipment, a procedure mask and eye protection (e.g. safety glasses or visor).

Portable Plexiglas’s will be available in the schools and can be used by the professionals or any other staff member who comes in close contact with students (i.e. Secretary who gives out the late slips).

Will the schools have specialists (childcare workers, speech language pathologist, OT, behaviour techs) in the class with ...

Will the schools have specialists (childcare workers, speech language pathologist, OT, behaviour techs) in the class with the teachers?

Sp. Ed Techs and Childcare attendants will be in the classes with the students. They will be assigned to the same classroom and will wear protective equipment if the 2-meter physical distance rule cannot be applied. For the professionals assigned to more than 1 school, they will be available at a distance in order to avoid movement from one school to another.

Are there other English public school boards in the province of Quebec?

Yes, There are a total of nine English public school boards in Quebec. Other boards in the greater Montreal area are; Lester B. Pearson School Board (West Island), Riverside School Board (South Shore) and the Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (Laval).  For a full list of Anglophone school boards in Quebec, please visit the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) website.

How can I find out if my child is eligible to attend an English public school?

This information can be found in the Admissions section of our website. If you have a specific question you can contact a representative who will be happy to help you.

Visit Admissions

How can I register my child at an EMSB school?

This information can be found in the Registration section of our website. If you have a specific question you can contact a representative who will be happy to help you.

Visit Registration

Does the EMSB provide daycare services in their elementary schools?

Yes. The Before and After School Enrichment (B.A.S.E.) daycare program is a government funded day supervision service, organized outside class hours for preschool and elementary school children. B.A.S.E. provides a program of activities in keeping with the needs of the child in a safe environment supervised by qualified staff. More information can be found in the B.A.S.E. Daycare Services section of our website

Visit Daycare

How can I find information about school bus transportation?

This information can be found in the Transportation section of our website. If you have a specific question you can contact a representative who will be happy to help you.

Visit Transportation

My teenager dropped out of school or is having trouble staying in school, what options does he/she have?

The EMSB's Outreach Network is designed to provide an opportunity for students who have left school before graduation to return to a different educational setting. The system is designed to help students continue their studies in a less formal atmosphere. Some programs will lead to sufficient credits for a high school leaving certificate, while others will permit the student to return to a regular high school setting. In some cases, the student will be prepared for entering the workforce. Visit the Outreach Network website for more information.

Outreach Network

If your child is over 16 years of age and meets the required prerequisites at the Secondary III or IV level he/she may choose to register in a Vocational Program offered by one of our Vocational Centres. He/she may also choose to complete secondary school at any time by attending classes in one of our Adult Education Centres or through distance education. Visit the Adult Education and Vocational Services website for more information.

AEVS Website

My child is autistic or has other special needs, will schools provide extra support for my child?

Yes, our Student Services Department organizes and provides educational services for students with special needs at the pre-school, elementary and secondary levels - whether they have handicaps, social maladjustments or learning disabilities - with the hope of integrating them into regular classroom settings.  More information can be found in the Special Seeds section of our website.

Visit Special Needs Network

Does the EMSB have schools in other public institutions?

The EMSB Social Affairs network of schools provides a complete education, as well as the full range of complimentary services to children and teenagers who are unable to attend regular schools and must remain in hospitals or youth protection centres. Our schools work closely with Integrated Health and Social Services Centres (CISSS) and Integrated University Health and Social Services Centres (CIUSSS).

I would like to home school my child, does the EMSB have a policy regarding home schooling?

Yes, families who reside within the territory of the EMSB may apply for a home schooling contract.  Visit the Home Schooling section of our website for more information on the application and evaluation process.

Home Schooling

Who collects school taxes?

Le Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l'île de Montréal (originally known as the School Council of the Island of Montreal), which was created as a result of legislation adopted by the government of Quebec, on February 28, 2003. Under the terms of the Education Act , the Comité de gestion de la taxe scolaire de l'île de Montréal is responsible for the administration of the long-term debt of the five school boards of the Island of Montreal, contracts loans on behalf of the school boards, fixes the school tax rate, collects and distributes the tax to the school boards.

What kinds of programs of study in French does the EMSB offer in its elementary and secondary schools?

This information can be found in our French Programs section of the website. If you have a specific question you can contact a representative who will be happy to help you.

French Programs

How does a public school board function in Quebec?

School boards are local democratic institutions that oversee pre-school, primary, secondary, adult academic and vocational education for both youth and adults on their assigned territory. Each school board in Quebec is governed by a council of commissioners all of whom are publicly elected through general elections which take place every four years.

Along with educating the population, their task also involves offering a variety of services to the community. They carry out a mission of prime importance, one which lies at the very heart of any community’s development.

Does the EMSB offer courses for adults?

Yes, our Adult Education and Vocational Services (A.E.V.S.) offers both academic and vocational courses for individuals 16 years and older.

Please visit the A.E.V.S. website for more information on how to register for a program of your choice.

AEVS Website


I live in the West Island, Laval, or the South Shore, can I send my child to an EMSB school?

Families should register their children in a school within their own municipality as each school board serves its own territory. However, in certain circumstances, families may apply for an Intra-Board Agreement from their regional school board allowing them to register their child out of their territory. 

Does my child need to have a Certificate of Eligibility to be home schooled in English?

Children who are ineligible for instruction in English under the Charter of the French language may receive home schooling in English, as these provisions do not apply to them. However, home schooling in English does not make a child eligible for schooling in English in public schools or in private educational institutions accredited for the purposes of subsidies under the Act respecting private education.

Visit the Home Schooling section of our website for more information on the application and evaluation process.

Home Schooling

How do I obtain a long version birth certificate?

To register your child with the English Montreal School Board an original long version birth certificate bearing the parents' names is required by the Ministry. You can obtain information regarding Quebec birth certificates by contacting the following office:

Le Directeur de l'état civil
2050 Bleury Street 6th floor 
Montreal, Quebec
(514) 864-3900


For children born outside of Quebec, you must contact the Division of Vital Statistics where the child was born.

I am a permanent resident of Canada, can I send my child to an English public school?

All children of permanent residents must attend French school according to the Charter of the French language. Children of permanent residents may be eligible if they meet the qualifications for a special exception or temporary residents.

Special Exceptions Temporary Residents

Where can I get more information on the Charter of the French Language?

The Charter of the French Language is available online at the Légis Québec website for more information:

Charter of the French Language

I am a refugee, can I send my child to an English public school?

All children of refugees must attend French school according to the Charter of the French language. Unless they qualify as a special exception.

Special Exceptions

What is considered proof of Canadian citizenship?

The following is considered proof of Canadian citizenship:

  • Canadian birth certificate
  • Valid Canadian passport
  • Canadian citizenship card or document.

Eligibility Requirements

Please check out our eligibility requirements page for general information.

Eligibility Requirements

Need Help?

If you cannot find the answer to your question, please send us an email or give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.

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