MONTREAL — Quebec reported 140 new cases of COVID-19 and two additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Monday, as classes resumed at the province's largest English-language public school board.
One of the deaths took place in the past 24 hours, while the other occurred between Aug. 24-29, health officials said in a news release.
The English Montreal School Board said it would closely follow COVID-19 guidelines set by the provincial government as students returned to classes Monday morning.
That means students in Grade 4 and under are not required to wear face masks, while older students must wear them in common areas and on school transportation.
Students will still be able to take the bus to school, but health and safety guidelines only permit 44 students per school bus instead of the typical 72. The board also asked for parents to drive or walk their children to school if they can.
In a newsletter to parents, the board said it has ordered medical equipment such as masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant in "large quantities" for students. The school board said it will not accept donations of personal protective equipment in order to "maintain the control and quality."
Other English school boards, including Lester B. Pearson, Eastern Townships and Riverside, will also reopen their schools this week.
Meanwhile, a French language school board said late Sunday two more teachers at a high school north of Montreal tested positive for COVID-19.
Four teachers at Polyvalente Deux-Montagnes have now tested positive after classes resumed last week, the school board, the Centre de services scolaire de la Seigneurie-des-Mille-Iles, said in a statement.
About 20 other staff members who were in contact with those cases were placed in isolation as a precaution.
The board said some students were also put in isolation, but it did not say how many. It added that most Grade 10 and 11 students who were sent home last week due to the COVID-19 outbreak were back in school Monday.
Quebec has now reported 62,492 total cases of COVID-19 and 5,760 deaths since the pandemic began.
Hospitalizations dropped by four over the past 24 hours, for a total of 112. Of those, 18 people were in intensive care, an increase of two from the previous day.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2020.
The Canadian Press