Press Release / Community

COVID-19 Update 2: To all EMSB stakeholders: Students, Staff, Parents and Community Members

Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Montreal - Thursday, March 12, 2020

I write to provide you with several updates pertaining to how our school board will function from this point forward and until further notice, given the current situation pertaining to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Today, a press conference was held in Quebec City by Premier François Legault.  He was accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Services, Danielle McCann, and the Director of Public Health in Quebec, Horacio Arruda.  During this press conference, several observations were made and / or highlighted and several new directives were announced.   

Later this evening, the Ministry of Education provided every school board in the province with more precise information pertaining to the new directives.

Below is a summary:

Last Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared that the Coronavirus has reached a pandemic status; and in order to limit the spread of the virus, several countries have already imposed travel and entry restrictions.

While changes are occurring around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is under control in Quebec where there are 13 confirmed cases. 

The current situation nonetheless raises some concerns and requires further action.  Today the Premier indicated clearly that he intends to take all necessary measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

To that end, the following directives have been put in place:

  • Employees in the Health and Education sectors are no longer  permitted to travel outside of Canada within the context of their job / work

In our case, that means that school board employees may not travel outside of Canada for any of the following reasons:  not to accompany students on trips, not to attend sports or other competitions, not to take part in exchange programs, not to attend conferences or meeting, etc.

This protective measure applies as of today and until further notice.

  • The registration of students from foreign countries is suspended.

In our case, this applies to new International students. 

Registration services in youth and adult / vocational education must inform any students expecting to travel to Montreal  in order to avoid any unnecessary travel.

* More information will be sought with regard to temporary-stay students – as this is specific to some English boards like the EMSB.  More to follow.

This protective measure applies as of today and until further notice.

  • From now on, if a staff member returns from a trip outside of Canada, they must comply with a mandatory 14-day isolation period, as prescribed by Public Health.

* The information specifically referred to staff members. 

More information will be sought with regard to students who travel .  More to follow.

During these two weeks of isolation, staff will be paid.

This protective measure applies as of today and until further notice.

NOTE:  Mandatory isolation does NOT apply to individuals having travelled in recent days or during the March break.

These individuals must continue to closely monitor their symptoms for the 14 days after their return to Quebec, and if symptoms develop, isolate themselves immediately and contact Santé-Publique at 811 

  • All indoor gatherings of 250 people or more (in the same room) are now prohibited.

In our case, this includes organized educational or extra-curricular activity like in a cafeteria, an agora, an auditorium, a sports center, etc.   Walking through a common area / hallway is not considered an organized activity.

It is incumbent upon every organization to modify their usual practices, timetables, meal times, etc., to comply with this directive.

This protective measure applies as of today and until further notice.

OTHER IMPORTANT NOTES

  • The risk assessment of individual cases should be done by Santé-Publique – who alone has the mandate to recommend the actions to be undertaken in any given situation. 
  • If there is a COVID-19 issues or case in a school or Centre, Santé-Publique will contact the Principal directly and give them instructions.
  • A school / centre will only be closed / evacuated due a COVID-19 issue upon the expressed recommendation of Santé-Publique or one of its government partners in the Health or Education sector.
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