Caroline Alphonso reports on the re-opening of some Quebec schools on May 5th, noting the contentious arguments for and against, and listing the conditions under which students would be returning.

Getting Started

Appropriate Subject Area(s):

Social studies, current events

Key Question(s) to Explore:

  • What could school be like when students return?

New Terminology:

Facilitate, feasible, stabilize

Materials Needed:

Globe article


Study and Discussion Activity


Quebec is the first Canadian jurisdiction to allow students to return to classrooms following the pandemic, which gives us an idea of how this might be done for more schools later this year. This short lesson can give students a glimpse of what might be a new normal when and if they return to school this fall.

Students can learn more about the reasons for and against opening schools during the COVID-19 outbreak, as well as seeing the kinds of changes in school day that await.

Action (lesson plan and task)

NOTE: This lesson assumes a distance-learning arrangement with students working from their homes.

Ask students to make a list of the ways they’ve had to adjust during the COVID-19 pandemic. These prompts will help:

  • List the ways these activities are different for you now, compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Meeting and talking with friends;
  • Eating meals;
  • Playing sports;
  • Spending time with parent(s) or guardian(s);
  • Doing schoolwork;
  • Entertainment—music, movies, and so on.

Next, ask students to read the article—it will only take a few minutes—and pose these questions, based on the article:

  • Are all classes going to be held in classrooms? If not, where will they happen and why?
  • Who decides whether to send students back to school, the parents or the school board?
  • What will be the most number of students in a class, approximately, and how will they be spaced among each other?
  • How many students, at most, will travel on a 48-seat school bus?
  • Why won’t there be group-work and ‘hands-on’ learning in school?
  • Finally, how would you feel about going back to school, if it’s going to be like it is in Quebec, compared to how you feel about learning at home?
  • If they’re willing to say, what do your parents think about what is happening in schools in Quebec?

Consolidation of Learning:

  • After students submit their work, respond with follow-up questions and suggestions.
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria:

  • Students can describe, in approximate terms, how school might change for them when they return to their classrooms.

Confirming Activity:

  • Students note media reports on schools opening—where, when and under what conditions—and on the aftermath, relative to the spread of COVID-19.