On July 30, 2020, Education Minister, Kelvin Goertzen, and Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Medical Health Officer, released the province’s much anticipated return to school plan. Students across Manitoba will be welcomed back to class on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. The 16-page document, highlights the importance of schools opening.
“Manitobans will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. We must adapt and learn to live and study safety amidst the pandemic. It is in the best interest of children to be in school, and we must mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and families to ensure that learning and assessment continues for all.”
Here are few of the plan’s details:
- Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will return for five days of in-class instruction (full instructional day) per week.
- Students in Grades 9 to 12 will return for up to five days per week of in-class instruction if high schools can effectively implement physical distancing and the use of cohorts to reduce the risk of transmission and to ensure documentation for contact tracing.
- Students with additional needs, in all grades, will return for five days of in-class instruction (full instructional day) per week.
- Teachers and staff will return to schools on September 2, 3 and 4, providing an opportunity for orientation to public health requirements and the educational priorities to support students, as well as professional learning around recovery learning.
- Communication, screening, enhanced hand hygiene, physical distancing, use of cohorts and outbreak management will be paramount in keeping as many students as possible in schools this fall and throughout the pandemic.
- Classrooms will be configured to support physical distancing with the use of alternate space as needed, such as multi-purpose rooms. Two metres of physical distancing is required to the greatest extent possible.
- Where physical distancing is not possible, students must remain within cohorts to reduce exposure to others. Cohorts will distance themselves from other groups to limit exposure. In these instances, there must be at least one metre between students as they sit at their desks in classrooms.
- At this time, public health guidance does not require students and staff to wear masks or other PPE in school settings or on school buses. Some staff and children may choose to bring and wear a non-medical mask while in the facility.
Pembina Trails divisional leaders, with the support of our board, have been working diligently all summer in preparation for a safe fall return to school. The province’s updated framework is a valuable resource as we navigate details on our school-level plans. As we enter the 2020-21 school year, the safety and well-being of students and staff is our guiding focus. Our staff will continue to follow the recommendations and guidelines given by Manitoba Education and the Chief Medical Health Officer to support the transition back to in-class learning.
We would like to once again thank those who took the time to participate in our June Thoughtexchange on Learning From Home, as well as the more recent transportation survey. Your feedback has been heard and is extremely valuable as we work towards the fall.
A note about remote learning accommodations
understand that these are challenging times for our community, and that there
may be some anxiety about September and the uncertainties associated with
Trails has been working closely with Public Health officials. The safety of our
students, staff, and their families is our first priority. Our return to
school planning is based on education and safety. Consistent with the message
that Dr. Roussin, our Chief Medical Health
Officer, has been sharing with Manitobans, we acknowledge and recognize
that we must learn to live with the Corona virus.
divisions, from across the province, have been given the directive by Manitoba
Education to prepare to receive all students in K-12. This is consistent with
our Divisional responsibilities under the Public Schools Act (PSA). There is
also a provision within the PSA providing parents with the right to choose to
register with the Manitoba
Home School Office.
rare instances where a medical certificate indicating that a student is
immuno-compromised is presented, our schools will work with the family to
review options. We remain committed to working together and addressing concerns.
More updates to come
Pembina Trails is committed to sharing additional information with our staff, students and families by August 17, 2020. We recognize that these continue to be challenging times and that there are many questions as we adapt. We encourage our community to visit our website and follow us on social media to stay connected during these unprecedented times.
Full details on the provincial plan, Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools, can be found here.