MONTREAL -- More than 100 scientists and health-care workers are demanding stricter rules for when schools reopen in a few days.

The group drafted a letter to the Quebec government arguing the current plan could produce new outbreaks.

They also have a list of recommendations that include mandatory masks in all areas of the school, in-class social distancing, improved ventilation, symptom screening upon entry into schools and an on-line learning option for parents.

"The masks aren’t being recommended when kids are in classrooms where they will spend several hours with other children," said letter co-author Dr. George Thanassoulis.

The health-care professionals are not opposed to sending children back to school, but want the government to look at ways to reduce the risk.


The Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawake has already implemented some of the rules in their schools and delayed the school restart.

"We are opening up schools in a much slower way," said Dr. Annick Gauthier, who is on the Kahnawake COVID-19 Task Force. "Anyone who wants to in Kahnawake can actually keep their kids at home."

A survey in the community found that aroudn 50 per cent of the parents will send their children to school, Gauthier said, meaning class sizes will be smaller.

Gauthier added that hand sanitizers need to be outside every classroom, and that symptom tracking is important.

"They go on their smartphone and say I don’t have any of these symptoms, then they can come in," she said.

The Quebec education ministry said its plan is based on data from Quebec public health and with the recommendations of Quebec's public health board.