The Gleaner
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Schools closed for two weeks in face of COVID-19 threat

The Quebec government announced Friday morning (March 13) the complete closure of all public schools, daycares, CEGEPS and universities for a minimum of two weeks as part of a province-wide movement to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. As of right now, there are 17 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Quebec, with 266 under investigation.

During a press conference, Premier François Legault suggested that he understood the announcement would have a significant impact on parents. “This is a measure we have to take,” he said, noting that the closing of schools was preventive and an element important in ensuring the safety of the population. All schools were closed Friday to give officials time to comply with the urgent directives issued on Thursday to cancel all indoor activities and events with over 250 people. Health care workers, essential services employees, and even police officers, will be able to access special child care during this time. At this time, the schools are scheduled to reopen on March 30; however all will be re-evaluated in connection with the government’s response to the virus as it evolves.

A number of local events planned for this weekend and the following week have also been either cancelled or postponed in an effort to follow as closely as possible instructions to cancel all indoor activities and events with over 250 people, as well as all unnecessary public events as well. A list of cancelled events has been posted to The Gleaner website, and will be updated as more information becomes available. Huntingdon Minor Hockey has suspended activities, and in larger municipalities, such as Montreal and Vaudreuil, arenas, public libraries, pools and sports centres are all closed.

All people coming back from outside the country and anyone with flu-like symptoms are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days. The government is also now asking people concerned they may have the coronavirus to not call Info-Santé (811) but to call this number instead: 1-877-644-4545.

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