Kids were to return to class on Jan. 10 but the Manitoba government announced today it is shifting to a one-week remote learning period for most Manitoba students after the holiday break to ensure schools can implement enhanced measures for in-person learning. Classes will resume next Monday, with most students in remote learning until Jan. 17.
Effective Jan. 10, 2022, a phased-in approach will be applied to allow students of critical service workers in kindergarten to Grade 6 and all high-risk students and students with special learning needs in kindergarten to Grade 12 to attend school if no alternate care is available. Current plans are to have all other students return to in-person learning on Jan. 17.
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This phased-in approach will give school divisions more time to address expected staffing shortages and develop plans for the implementation of enhanced measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This will also allow schools time to prepare to move to the Restricted (Orange) level on Manitoba’s Pandemic Response System.
Child-care facilities that operate year-round will still be open and encouraged to prioritize children of critical service workers. School-age child-care facilities that operate based on the school calendar and do not provide service during school breaks will offer services to children of critical service workers requiring before- and after-school care.
The minister noted several enhanced measures have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 in schools and will be expanded in the coming days including:
- distributing 500,000 rapid tests to all schools for students from kindergarten to Grade 6 and planning to expand access to rapid tests for all Manitobans as the rapid testing kit supply increases in Manitoba, particularly for schools with high case counts of COVID-19; and
- requiring medical masks for all staff during this high transmission period and allowing students to wear a well-fitting mask with at least three layers and schools to provide masks for students if needed. Manitoba will be distributing at least five million more child and adult medical masks over the next eight weeks to increase supply in schools and support increased demand.