MONTREAL -- Quebec Education Minister Jean-François Roberge categorically rejected the idea that the province's primary schools offer half-days when they reopen in the coming weeks.

He made this clear during an hour-long virtual meeting on Thursday, where opposition MPs repeatedly questioned him about the issue.

The idea of allowing schools to offer half-days or alternate days if they wished was first suggested to him by PQ member Véronique Hivon, then by Christine Labrie, from Québec Solidaire.

The two elected officials said they believe that the half-days would reassure both parents and teachers, while also solving the problem of space in school premises and encouraging more frequent cleaning of classrooms.

The minister, however, dismissed the proposal. “It's a compromise that we don't want to make,” he said.

“If we go there for half-days, we also offer a half service,” he said. “We’re only offering [students] the equivalent of three weeks…it's not much.”

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on April 30, 2020.