WINNIPEG — Manitoba kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Winnipeg, Brandon and the Garden Valley and Red River Valley school divisions will be learning remotely for the remainder of the school year, owing to the continued strain on the province’s healthcare system related to COVID-19.
Education Minister Cliff Cullen and Dr. Jazz Atwal, deputy chief provincial public health officer, announced Thursday students province-wide will be learning at home until the end of June.
The move wasn’t unexpected, as K-12 students in Winnipeg and Brandon have been at home during the third wave of the pandemic since May 12. They joined students in the Garden Valley and Red River Valley school divisions in the days to follow but were anticipated to be back in the classroom by May 31. The province later extended remote learning until June 7, but the hope of rounding out the school year in person has faded.
“Extending remote learning as recommended by public health will protect students, families, teachers and staff as our COVID-19 case counts remain high and our health-care system is still under tremendous strain,” said Cullen.
“We know the value of face-to-face instruction, and limited use for small groups of students will allow students and teachers to end the year on a stronger footing.”
Kindergarten to Grade 12 students can still return to the classroom in small scheduled groups — five to six at a time — beginning June 14 for in-person support, clinical support, assessments and transition planning.
For schools remaining open in other parts of Manitoba, the following public health measures remain in place:
• Schools with multiple cases (outside of same household cases) will be moved proactively to remote learning as per existing guidance
• School officials can require students and/or staff who are showing symptoms to stay home for 10 days and encourage them to seek testing and household members without symptoms should also self-isolate (quarantine) until the sick individual’s test result is received
• All extra-curricular activities, organized sports and off-site activities are suspended, except for physically distanced walks/runs in the local community
• No indoor singing and no indoor use of wind instruments are allowed
• All other public health measures remain in effect
The province says 21 percent of overall COVID-19 cases are in school-aged children. As of May 30, there were 335 cases linked to schools within the last 14 days and 170 schools with one or more cases.
Watch Thursday’s media briefing: