When returning to class on Monday, a student aged 12 and under who has symptoms will have to isolate themselves at home for 24 to 36 hours, just like the other members of their family. The child will be able to return to class only after receiving two negative rapid test results.
If the family does not have access to self-testing at home, then the isolation will increase to five days for everyone living under the same roof as the symptomatic child.  ;
This is the strategy advocated by public health authorities to prevent the virus from circulating from school to the rest of the community, by quickly “closing” the family bubble, explained Dr Yves Jalbert, deputy director general of health. public, during a meeting with the media, Friday morning.
“In our measures, we focus much more on prevention at the family level,” he said. The strategy also aims to limit the entry of the virus into schools as much as possible.
In order for the family to be able to come out of their isolation, the child who has symptoms must have received a second result negative on a rapid test, which should be performed 24 to 36 hours after passing the first self-test.
A positive child will be able to return to class if they test negative on a rapid test after five days of isolation, their symptoms have improved and they have not had a fever for at least 24 hours.   ;
A child who has only one minor symptom, such as a runny nose, will still be able to attend class.
These guidelines, which were confirmed in the evening Friday at the Journal, was the subject of much change and discussion between Public Health and the Ministry of Education throughout the day on Friday.
Not a hotspot for transmission
Dr. Jalbert also repeated on Friday, as Dr. Luc Boileau had done on Thursday, that schools do not represent “important sites” of transmission, which is rather linked what's happening in the community.
“What we have learned about children is that they are not very good transmitters of the disease. What we have observed in the school environment is a lot more transmission from teachers to students than the other way around,” he said.
In December, nearly 50 % of the outbreaks in the province, however, were listed in schools, where more than 1,000 classrooms were closed due to the presence of at least two positive cases in the same group.
However, Dr. Jalbert specifies that several cases in the same group do not necessarily mean that the students have infected each other at school.
“What we observe, in general , that's not what happens. These are people who caught the disease on the outside, who go to school with the virus” and who end up in the same class, he said.
Transmission within the school exists, but Dr Jalbert adds that “we have not demonstrated that there is a very significant phenomenon of amplification of transmission as we might have feared” .
Furthermore, no specific instructions will be given to the school network regarding meal times, when students will remove their masks to eat. Physical distancing should be maintained as much as possible, but public health authorities are well aware that such a rule is simply not applicable in the school environment.
“We will live with it. this risk of children eating without a mask at school, ”said Dr Jalbert, while emphasizing the beneficial effects for children of returning to class.
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