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COVID-19 EDUCATION PLAN

Welcoming Our Students Back

On September 8th, students in Manitoba headed back to class in a safe environment.


Resources for Parents

Manitoba government announced establishing a new remote learning support centre that will help support teachers delivering education remotely and help ensure that all students have access to and are able to engage in high-quality learning during COVID-19. For more information see:

Multilingual Supports for Parents and Students: Returning to School
(provided by Immigration Partnership Winnipeg [IPW] in partnership with the Ethnocultural Council of Manitoba [ECCM], Manitoba Association of Newcomer Serving Organizations [MANSO] and the Winnipeg School Division)

Our Plan

Our Guide image

Our shared goal: Kindergarten to Grade 12 students attend school with as much in-class learning as possible, while staying safe.

Our plan puts your child’s health and safety first, along with teachers, staff and families within the school community. While schools will be different this year, efforts have been made to minimize the impact on the classrooms as much as possible.

  • Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will return for five days of full, in-class instruction per week
  • Students in Grades 9 to 12 are in-class up to five days per week. The number of in-class days depends on the extent to which high schools can effectively implement two metres of physical distancing or the use of cohorts. Most high school students are engaging in blended learning, which is a combination of in-class learning and teacher-led remote learning, which requires students to complete some work on their own.
  • Students with special needs in all grades will return for five days of full, in-class instruction per week.

Key Guiding Principles

  • The safety, health, and well-being of all students, staff, and families is a priority.
  • High-quality learning and assessment continues for all students.
  • Accessible, trauma-informed resources and supports for students, parents and caregivers.
  • Every student has a consistent, reliable and appropriate connection to school learning and belonging, regardless of location, barriers, special needs or challenges.
  • System-wide communication and collaboration will promote consistent approaches throughout the province.

We continue to work closely with Public Health, the Department of Families, and education and community stakeholders to support all students as schools continue in-class learning.

For further details on the plan, view the following:
Welcoming Our Students Back Restoring Safe Schools: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers and Students: What to expect when welcomed back to school (adobe pdf 2 MB) - Updated October 20, 2020.


parent guardian role

Parent/Guardian Role

Parents/guardians and family members have an important role to play as students continue in-class learning during the pandemic. You are expected to

  • model the behaviours needed to limit the spread of COVID-19, such as hand washing, proper cough and sneeze etiquette, and staying home when sick
  • monitor children daily for symptoms and get testing if symptoms occur
  • talk to your child(ren) about COVID-19 and why their lives may look and feel different for a while.

It is also important to continue to take an active part in part in your child(ren)’s learning.

For more information on what parents and guardians can expect as schools continue in-class learning, please see the following resources:

For more information on talking to children about COVID-19, please see the following resources:

Additional Resources: School Divisions' Individual Plans

School divisions’ individual plans are available for parents and caregivers to review in order to prepare students for their learning experiences. The plans can be viewed at:

Schools will communicate directly and frequently with families to provide them with information about the school year and ongoing plans for instruction and supports.


student learning and well-being

Student Learning and Well-being

  • All students are expected to participate fully, even when remote learning is required. Students will be assessed on their work, reflective of their performance and learning.
  • Mental health and well-being is critical to in-class learning plans. Regular check-ins and assessment will play an important role in supporting students’ well-being and in helping students learn to the greatest extent possible.
  • The teaching focus is on the core curriculum and required courses.
  • Electives may be limited to accommodate scheduling if this does not affect educational requirements. Consideration may be given to offering some electives remotely or via distance for high school students.
  • For high school students, when remote learning is required to meet public health measures, a minimum of two days of in-class learning of a six-day cycle is required.
  • Report cards will be provided to all students, including in situations where remote learning is required.

Special Needs

Accommodating the unique challenges experienced by students with special learning needs will differ from student to student and school to school. School division plans include special considerations for students with special needs and students at risk, consistent with inclusive and appropriate education. Your schools student support services staff will communicate the guidance and support specific to your child. For more information, please visit Resources Supporting Students with Special Needs and Welcoming Our Students Back: Supporting Students with Special Needs and Students at Risk as They Return to School (adobe pdf 245 KB).

Additional Resources

My Learning at Home, a resource to assist families to support their children in remote learning from home.

Kids Help Phone or Stress Hacks, have good mental health resources for students about back to school and taking care of yourself during the pandemic.


public health measures

Public Health Measures

Wearing a Mask

At this time, non-medical masks are required in schools for students in Grades 4 to 12 as well as teachers, staff and visitors, when physical distancing of two metres is not possible. Parents and caregivers will choose whether younger students, Grade 3 and under, should wear a mask. Masks are required for bus drivers, students and any other passenger on the bus. Exceptions will be made for students and staff who cannot wear masks for medical reasons. Schools will provide masks to students and staff who need them throughout the school year.

For information on how to put on a mask and why they are important, see:

Practising Physical Distancing and Cohorts/Groups

  • Physical distancing will be practised to the fullest extent possible in all parts of the school throughout the school day. This will include (but is not limited to) controlling the way students enter and exit the school at designated entrances, one-way or marked hallways, leaving space between desks and tables, staggering start and end-times for recess and lunchtime, timetabling to avoid spares, and limiting bathroom occupancy at any given time.
  • Where two metres physical distancing is not possible, students will be in distinct cohorts (groups), separate from other students, to reduce the risk of virus transmission throughout the school day.
  • Your child(ren)s school will be able to provide information about how physical distancing and cohorts are being managed in your school.

Practising Hand Hygiene

Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the recommended hand hygiene practice. Staff and students must engage in frequent hand hygiene, including at the following times:

  • the start of the day and before going home
  • before and after recess
  • after going to the washroom and after helping children with washroom routines
  • after a diaper change (both children and staff)
  • before and after preparing food
  • before eating or drinking

Extra handwashing and sanitizing stations in schools will be set up and monitored to ensure students utilize them. For information on how to effectively wash your hands and reduce the spread of COVID-19, see:

Additional Resources


school operations

School Operations

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting

Increased cleaning and disinfecting will occur around the school and throughout the day, especially high touch surfaces. This also includes enhanced cleaning of bus seats and other high-touch surfaces (e.g., windows and railings) before each new group of students attends the bus.

Transportation to Schools

Masks are required for bus drivers, students and any other passenger on the bus. Masks should be put on before loading and taken off after offloading, if removal is appropriate for the setting.

Physical distancing and/or cohorts are also required in school transportation. For more information, refer to the Guidelines for Transportation to Schools.

Traffic Flow and Visitor Access in Schools

  • Schools will control the way students enter and exit the school at designated entrances, establish one-way or marked hallways, leave space between desks and tables, stagger start and end times for recess and lunchtime, timetable to avoid spares, and limit bathroom occupancy at any given time.
  • When dropping off or picking up your child(ren), keep a safe distance from the school.
  • Visitors or volunteers are permitted at schools, but visits should be minimized to the greatest extent possible. Please email or call the teacher or school administrator when you need to talk.
  • All visitors and volunteers must adhere to self-screening, as well as physical distancing and recommended hygiene practices. At this time, non-medical masks are required in schools for visitors when physical distancing of two metres is not possible. Visitors with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should not enter the school. Schools are required to keep a list of all visitors.

Recess/Lunch Breaks

  • Public Health advises that playgrounds and play structures are low risk for transmission. There are no specific requirements for cleaning play structures. Non-medical masks can be removed during outdoor play, while continuing to practise physical distancing, to provide a mask-free break.
  • Students should bring their own lunches, or provided lunches must be individually wrapped in disposable containers. If weather permits, lunch breaks may be held outside. If your child can safely return home for lunch, arrangements can be made.
  • Schools can continue to offer cafeteria services, including breakfast and lunch programs with necessary adjustments to ensure health guidelines are in place. No family-style, buffet, or potluck meal service is permitted at this time.
  • It is important to reinforce in children the policies of no food sharing and no water bottle sharing.

Field Trips

Field trips or outings are permitted. However, the participation of children must be voluntary and accompanied by appropriate parental permission. Enhanced planning for field trips will be necessary to ensure the health guidelines are met.


COVID-19 protocols

COVID-19 Protocols

Daily Health Screening

Check every morning to see if your child has COVID-19 or flu-related symptoms. An up–to-date list of symptoms can be found at the Province of Manitoba's About COVID-19 page.

Symptom and Exposure Screening Questions

Use the self-assessment tool to check if your child should be tested for COVID-19. Call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 if you notice symptoms or if you need more information. Screening information will be sent home for you to reference at the start of each day.

The COVID-19 Screening Questions (adobe pdf 83 KB) is another tool you can use if you are not able to access the self-assessment tool.

If your child develops symptoms at school, they will be isolated and you will be called. Please pick up your child promptly. Make sure the school has your current contact information and a back-up to call if you can’t be reached.

If your child is symptomatic and needs to isolate, the factsheet Isolation for Symptomatic Individuals Recovering at Home (adobe pdf 89 KB) is a helpful resource.

Chronic Conditions

A chronic stable cough, sneeze, runny nose or nasal congestion that is unchanged and clearly linked to a known medical condition such as asthma or allergies, is not an absolute requirement for exclusion. As well, children who are crying can exhibit a runny nose. Changing or worsening of chronic symptoms require isolation and contacting Health Links – Info Santé. Staff should exercise judgment based on the symptoms, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution by excluding the child and advising the parent or caregiver to contact Health Links – Info Santé or their health-care provider.

Communication of a Confirmed COVID-19 Case

  • The school will be informed by Public Health when there is a positive case in a school.
  • The school administration will communicate with parents and the school community.
  • Public Health may provide additional information.

Restoring Safe Schools: What to expect when welcomed back to school (adobe pdf 187 KB) – Updated October 20, 2020

COVID-19 Response in K–12 Schools and Early Learning and Child Care Centres (adobe pdf 261 KB)

Contact Tracing

  • Public Health is responsible for contact tracing, with support from the school system.
  • Public health officials will identify the close contacts of a positive case and contact those individuals who may have been exposed.
  • Schools will be able to provide public health officials with a list of individuals who may have come into contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Relevant students and school personnel will also be interviewed by public health officials for contact tracing.

Decisions

  • Public Health is responsible for responding to communicable diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Public health officials, through contact tracing and risk management, make decisions on who self-isolates. This may require an individual or several individuals, a classroom or multiple classrooms or even an entire school population to self-isolate.
  • Public health officials will inform these individuals of when they can return to school.
  • If the person who is a confirmed case has worked in or attended the school when they could have been infectious, the class/group or cohort, school, or designated area (if access was restricted) may be closed to allow time for contact tracing and to clean the school/centre following public health guidelines. This will be advised by public health officials.

Pandemic Response System Structure

The #RestartMB Pandemic Response System is the main tool that the schools will use to communicate with you about the current response level and the public health practices in place at your school.

The system sets out specific and focused public health responses on a provincial, regional, community, and business sector basis that can scale up or down depending on the risk of the virus at that time.

Four Levels:

There are four response levels – Limited Risk (green), Caution (yellow), Restricted (orange) and Critical (red). These may change throughout the school year, and they can be applied differently in individual schools or regions across the province, depending on the situation. The response level is set by public health officials.

Students, parents and caregivers, and school staff will follow these public health fundamentals at all times:

  • Screen for symptoms every morning.
  • Keep your child home when sick, even if mildly ill.
  • Make sure your child practises enhanced personal hygiene, including:
    • regular and thorough handwashing
    • covering their nose and mouth with tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
    • avoid sharing food or drinks
    • avoid touching their face

Red Critical
Community spread of COVID-19 is not contained and/or there are significant strains on our health care system.

Orange Restricted
Community transmission of COVID-19 is occurring.

Yellow Caution
Community transmission is at low levels.

Green Green: Limited Risk
The spread of COVID-19 is broadly contained and a vaccine and/or effective treatment for COVID-19 is available.


PROGRESSION OF MEASURES FOR KEY SECTORS BASED ON EXTENT OF PANDEMIC RISK

Learn more about the Pandemic Response System.

Pandemic Response System Levels for K–12 Schools-Restricted Level Orange (adobe pdf 464 KB) – November 2, 2020

Sample Scenarios

Case in School Classroom example Scenarios

Yellow Yellow: Caution - Open with occupancy required for distancing (some remote learning)

  • The rest of the school, staff and students are not affected, as this illustrative case involves a defined cohort.
  • The rest of the Manitoba school system remains at current level.
  • Other facilities and activities in the community, province, and region are not affected.

Orange Orange: Restricted

  • In a K-8 classroom, one classroom may be closed. In the case of a Grade 9 to 12 classroom it could involve a whole wing due to the nature of Senior Years instruction.
  • Teacher, educational assistants, students and possibly support staff may be required to self-isolate.
  • Families and any close contacts of students may be required to self-isolate until Public Health advises that normal activities may be resumed.
  • This could affect school bus cohorts.
  • This response would involve and focus on a defined cohort.

New funding for schools

New Funding for Schools

A special $100 million Safe Schools fund has been created by the Manitoba government to ensure safe and healthy learning environments this school year. All school divisions will be able to access the Safe Schools funding, which consists of $48 million in preparedness savings already set aside for this purpose plus an additional $52 million.

This one-time, focused funding will be used to directly support schools, teachers, and students across the province by

  • providing non-medical and medical masks and personal protective equipment for students, teachers and staff
  • enhancing cleaning and sanitization, including more supplies and custodial staffing
  • increasing bus transportation capacity, including additional bus drivers and routes
  • ensuring substitute teachers and educational staff are available to keep schools open and children learning

frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions have been compiled to help address your concerns. Manitoba Education will continue to update this resource regularly as further information becomes available. Check back often for the most up-to-date information.

Restoring Safe Schools, Parent/Guardian and Educator Frequently Asked Questions (adobe pdf 250 KB)  – Updated November 18, 2020


additional questions

Additional Information and Resources