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Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge speaks during a news conference at the legislature, in Quebec City, on Sept. 11, 2020.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

Quebec students can resume extracurricular activities and specialized arts and sport-study programs as of Monday.

Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge says public health officials have approved the activities under certain conditions in regions classified as green and yellow under Quebec’s new COVID-19 alert system.

Roberge had initially said the back-to-school plan was to limit children to a classroom bubble until October, causing a backlash from students.

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On Friday, Roberge said the situation in schools since students returned to class is “under control,” and students will be allowed to take part in up to two activities outside their main class group.

“We still continue to say it’s really important for the kids to keep their social distancing and stay with their groups,” Roberge told a news conference in Quebec City.

“The difference is now we can go up to three groups.”

Staff will monitor those extracurricular groups for COVID-19 cases, and if the regional alert level goes higher, the activities will be suspended and students will return to their closed classroom bubble.

Quebec introduced a four-level, colour-coded COVID-19 alert system Tuesday – green for vigilance, yellow for an early warning, orange for moderate alert and red for maximum alert.

All Quebec regions are currently classified as either green or yellow.

Quebec reported 219 new COVID-19 cases and two further deaths linked to the disease on Friday.

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The province has now recorded 64,463 cases and 5,774 deaths after officials withdrew two previous deaths found not to be linked to novel coronavirus after investigation.

The number of hospitalizations increased by four to 123, while the number of people in intensive care remained unchanged at 12.

Also Friday, Quebec health officials announced that karaoke in bars and other public venues has been banned because of the risk of COVID-19 spread, and all bar owners will be required to keep a registry of customers to permit contact tracing.

On Thursday night, the province temporarily suspended publication of a list of schools with at least one COVID-19 case after some issues with reporting.

Roberge acknowledged there were problems with the list and said department officials are working on correcting the issue.

But he assured that as soon as there is an infection in a school, parents are immediately advised.

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Hundreds of students moved into Brock University’s campus housing this week, as they try to adjust to campus life in a pandemic. The university normally accommodates around 2,400 students in residences, but this year only took 400. The Canadian Press

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