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With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Quebec weighs shutting schools for defined period

Quebec reported 1,365 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 12 and 42 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus

November 12, 2020  The Canadian Press

MONTREAL — The Quebec government is considering shutting schools for up to a month around the Christmas holidays amid a spike of COVID-19 cases.

Premier Francois Legault confirmed Nov. 12 that an extended school break for a defined period was one option being studied, but he said no decision has been made. He repeated that he is reluctant to close schools, considering students already missed several weeks because of the pandemic in the spring.

“It remains the last solution, but currently, when one looks at the situation, we should not exclude any solution,” Legault told reporters in Quebec City.

Quebec reported 1,365 new COVID-19 infections on Nov. 12 and 42 more deaths linked to the novel coronavirus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.

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Legault said 1,174 classrooms across the province are currently closed, but most alarming is that 324 of them have been shut in the past two days.

“Schools are a place of transmission. It is why we’re evaluating the possibility of closing the schools for a limited period of time,” the premier said. “We have to consider all our options to break the wave.”

The province will meet with education unions about extending the school year into the summer to make up for lost weeks, and Legault assured that parents will be given advanced warning of any closures.

Legault said the next few weeks could be tough for Quebecers.

Health officials reported 583 hospitalizations due to COVID-19, an increase of 10, and 86 of those were in intensive care, a rise of two.

The province has reported 119,894 COVID-19 infections and 6,557 deaths linked to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic. Officials reported Thursday that 843 more people had recovered from the disease, for a total of 101,407.