MONTREAL -- As elementary school teachers prepare to return to their classrooms on May 11, several are wondering whether or not protective masks will be available to help keep them safe from the COVID-19 virus.

Teachers’ unions in many Quebec regions had discussions about this with school service centres in their respective regions. In certain cases, the centres committed to providing protective masks to teachers to reassure them – but wearing them will be optional. 

Suzanne Tremblay, the president of the teaching union in Outaouais, said its members are still very worried about school resuming when the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t ended. 

She said two of the three schoolboards in her region have already made commitments to provide masks, and discussions with the third were taking place on Thursday. 

In the Granby region, Sophie Veilleux, the president of the teaching union in Haute-Yamaska also reported much skepticism from her members when it comes to respecting physical distancing guidelines around groups of children. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2020.