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Manitoba Planning for Three Different Back-to-School Scenarios

June 25, 2020 5:30 PM | News

A final decision will be made on August 1, depending on the current pandemic situation

Kelvin Goertzen

Manitoba Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen listens in as Premier Brian Pallister speaks during a COVID-19 live-streamed press conference at the Manitoba legislature in Winnipeg, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods)

School ClassroomWINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is mulling over three separate scenarios for how students return to classrooms this fall amid COVID-19. Those plans include less bussing, fewer assemblies and smaller group gatherings.

As announced earlier this week, students are scheduled to return on September 8, while teachers and staff will begin September 2.

Due to COVID-19, three scenarios are in play to react to how the pandemic unfolds during the summer months. Officials will decide which scenario will apply by August 1.

  1. In-class learning resumes for all, with near-normal conditions
  2. In-class learning resumes with additional public health measures
  3. Remote learning from home, with limited use of school facilities

A decision on which scenario will be put into place will be made by the province by August 1.

“We are planning to have all students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, back in classrooms in September,” said Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen.

“While we can’t be sure what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in the fall, detailed planning is needed to ensure schools can resume in-class learning and to prepare for different scenarios. This framework will allow schools and school divisions to prepare plans that are flexible at the local level, yet consistent with those at other sites across the province.”

The province also outlined key considerations that should be addressed in the school and division plans including:

• ensuring schools can respond and adapt to changing public health orders and guidance;
• making sure any necessary physical distancing requirements can be met;
• considering the use of cohorts in classrooms, on buses and during activities to limit exposure to COVID-19;
• planning with a focus on in-class learning and establishing priorities;
• looking at ways to accommodate specialty programming and extracurricular activities;
• considering how school transportation can be safely offered;
• looking at blended learning options that can be implemented quickly;
• making arrangements for students, teachers and staff who may be at higher risk of COVID-19; and
• considering learning and assessment needs, as well as any educational gaps for students as a result of the pandemic.

Students have been out of the classroom since March 23, following the later indefinite suspension of classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch Thursday’s media announcement:

K-12 Schools Reopening Plan by ChrisDca on Scribd