This week, the provincial COVID-19 response level moved to Critical Level (Red). Manitoba’s schools remain at Restricted (Orange).
We understand that the additional measures may come with added confusion and possibly anxiety for our students, parents, and staff. While the province is being asked to stay home and restrict social contacts, our schools are open and classes continue.
Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, has often applauded school divisions for reducing the transmission of the virus in our schools. The vast majority of cases recorded have been contracted in the community. This speaks to the dedication of our staff and students in following protocols to keep everyone safe, together.
In Pembina Trails, we recognize this dedication and the efforts of all of our staff across the division. Our leadership has visited every school and is in constant contact with principals. During school visits, our superintendents have connected with school staff, teachers, education assistants, lunch supervisors and students. Leadership takes pride in knowing that distancing and cleaning protocols are in place and are being followed. Our board invested in hiring an additional 40 casual custodians this fall, and we have more than 500 substitute teachers in our pool. We also hired 30 teachers to address the remote learning and physical distancing needs of COVID-19. We are navigating this pandemic and remain committed to safely educating our students.
Our collective experience in the spring highlighted that it is to the benefit of both students and parents to keep children in the classroom as much as possible. We have seen our students and staff adapt to their new reality with grace and style. For this reason, Manitoba’s education system continues to straddle the line between orange and red.
We cannot thank our community enough for your support in carrying out this balancing act. We rely on our staff, students, and their families to follow public health advice when not at school. If we limit our contacts, wear a mask, wash our hands, and stay home when we are sick, we can all do our part to keep our schools safe for our children to continue learning and growing together.
Be well, be safe, and show kindness. Together, we are strong enough to see our way through these challenging times.