MONTREAL -- Students in elementary and secondary schools in orange zones are getting a break from mask wearing while in class as much of the province is hit with a heat wave.

In a news release issued Monday evening, Quebec’s ministry of health said face masks will not be mandatory in the classroom starting Tuesday following a decision from public health in the context of the high temperatures and the improving COVID-19 case numbers. 

Students in orange zones will, however, have to continue wearing a face mask while in common areas, in corridors and during transportation to and from school.

This measure is already in effect in regions under the yellow and green alert zones.

When asked for how long this new measure will remain in place, a health ministry spokesperson wrote in an email to CTV News it will take effect "until further notice, depending on the prevailing epidemiological situation."

Montreal and Laval downgraded from red to orange zone on Monday as cases in those areas continue to improve.

Monday marked day one of a three-day heat wave sweeping Quebec, with temperatures approaching 40 C in Montreal with the humidity factored in.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 31 C in Montreal Tuesday, with a humidex at 39. A high of 28 C is expected on Wednesday.

With files from CTV Montreal's Tania Krywiak