MONTREAL -- Graduating elementary and high school students in Quebec will get a chance to say goodbye to their schools - and their peers.

Quebec's public health department has given the green light for Grade 6 and Secondary 5 students in the province to attend school for one final day this school year, during which they can take part in activities such as take graduation photos and have their yearbooks signed.

High school classes across Quebec and elementary and high school classes in the Greater Montreal area had been cancelled for the rest of the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have received several very touching testimonies from graduates who wanted to have the chance to highlight this special moment in their lives," Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge said in a statement. "In the past few weeks, we have worked very hard and I am happy to respond positively to this call.

"COVID-19 has certainly changed our habits and our traditions, but that is not a reason not to celebrate graduating students as they deserve. I hope that many will participate in the special days to be held by the schools and in the competition organized for them. Congratulations to all graduates and good luck in continuing your studies!"

Any reunion activities that schools organize for their graduation must respect public health directives such as hand washing and physical distancing.