MONTREAL -- CEGEP and university students in Quebec will all be back in class in September without distancing or masks, Higher Education Minister Danielle McCann announced in a statement on Friday.

"I would like to congratulate the students who responded to the vaccination campaign," said McCann. "I am pleased to know that with your involvement, we are now able to plan for a true back-to-school experience."

In the classroom, physical distancing will no longer be required and everyone will be able to remove their masks once seated.

However, masks and two-metre separation will still be required when moving within or outside of classes.

In addition, fully vaccinated students will have access to extracurricular activities, including sports.

The government will provide more details on this issue when details of the vaccine passport are released.

Some schools "where the epidemiological risk is deemed to be greater" (i.e. those where a smaller proportion of students will be vaccinated) will have to impose more restrictive measures, such as wearing a mask "at all times," except during meals.

These schools will also not be able to hold orientation activities at the beginning of the school year.


The announcement comes as François Legault's government is trying to convince young people to get vaccinated, as the first signs of a fourth wave propelled by the virulent Delta variant is appearing in Quebec.

It also comes after Legault announced that a vaccine passport will be coming in the near future.

As of Friday, 83.2 per cent of college students have received at least one dose of vaccine and 57.8 per cent have received two, while at the university level, 86.6 per cent of students have received at least one dose of vaccine and 68.5 per cent have received two, according to Quebec.

The government's target is to fully vaccinate 75 per cent of the population.

"If you haven't already done so, I encourage you to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so that the proportion of students who have received their two doses of vaccine is as high as possible in preparation for the start of the school year," said McCann.

Quebec is reporting that there are 1,558 active COVID-19 cases, a number that has been rising steadily over the past three weeks.

In all, 11,241 Quebecers have died from the disease since March 2020.


-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Aug. 6, 2021.