MONTREAL -- Today is the first day back to school for the biggest English-language school service centre in Quebec. 

The English Montreal School Board (EMSB) said it will follow public health guidelines related to COVID-19 extremely closely as it welcomes back students.

Back to school quebec

That means masks will be mandatory for those in Grade 5 or higher in common areas and on buses.

Students will still be able to take buses to get to school, but public health is authorizing only 44 students per bus, as opposed to the usual 72.

Parents are also being asked to bring their children to school if they’re able to.

In a letter to parents, the EMSB said it ordered protective equipment including masks and hand sanitizer in “large quantities” for students.

The EMSB said it will not accept donations of equipment in order to “maintain quality control.”

It’s also back-to-school week for other English school service centres, such as Lester B. Pearson, Eastern Townships and Riverside.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 31, 2020.