MONTREAL -- Quebec's public school students are less than a week away from returning to class after an extended winter break... or possibly not. With the provincial government expected to announce stronger lockdown measures, including a curfew, on Wednesday, what shape learning will take in the near future remains a mystery.

Elementary and high school students were supposed to return to school on Jan. 11, but now online classes seem more likely.

Quebec Provincial Association of Teachers president Heidi Yetman said that presents problems.

“High schools are a little bit easier because students are a bit more independent, they're 12 and over,” she said, but elementary schools are tougher “especially for the younger grades. In person presence is so, so important. Kindergarten age, grade one and two, it's going to be difficult on the parents. It's going to be difficult on the teachers to do online work.”

Quebec's Association of Pediatricians recommends a return to class, reiterating a position it took last spring. In a statement, the association said they are asking Premier Francois Legault “to maintain Jan. 11 as the back-to-school day, while taking all the measures necessary to track and prevent the spread of the virus in schools.... The fight against COVID should not be carried out at the expense of an entire generation of youths.”