MONTREAL -- The days of spending nights camping outside to register a child at an elementary school may no longer be necessary.

The English Montreal School Board is launching online kindergarten registration.

Joe Ortona, the EMSB chair, made the announcement Tuesday outside Royal Vale School on Somerled Ave. in N.D.G. 

Royal Vale School is one of the EMSB's schools that experience what has become an annual tradition of parents lining up, often for several nights, to get their child a coveted spot in a kindergarten class. 

“Bonfires... they set up tents. In recent years lineups went from the start of the day to two and now sometimes three days, and this goes back close to 40 years,” said Ortona.

Ortona added the school board never received any requests from parents to change its registration system, but because of the pandemic, the EMSB felt it was time to launch the pilot project. 

“At a time when we are discouraging social gatherings, I do not believe it would be prudent to have parents spend the weekend together in close quarters,” explained Ortona. 

Five schools in all will take part: they include Royal Vale, East Hill, Edinburgh, Gardenview and Merton Elementary. 

Parents will be asked to register online.

A school official will then call parents to let them know if they obtained a spot and they will be given an appointment time. 

Registration will open on Jan. 25 at 7 a.m. 

“As per EMSB enrolment policy, priority will be given to children residing within the school’s distinct boundary. Royal Vale is an exception since it does not have a boundary or bus transportation,” said Ortona.

Elementary school registration week for the 2021-2022 school year will take place from Feb. 1 to 5.