COVID-19 School Guidance

This page provides general guidance for schools. The health, safety, and well-being of students and staff remain a top priority.

Public health updates can be found at COVID-19 Information for Manitobans. Schools are asked to review existing emergency plans and be ready to implement changing measures as well as follow preventive measures as much as possible:

  • monitor daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19
  • stay home when sick
  • frequent hand washing with easy access to hand hygiene products
  • practice respiratory etiquette (i.e. covering coughs and sneezes)
  • ventilation improvements, routine cleaning and disinfection protocols with a focus on high-touch surfaces and common areas including washrooms
  • encourage vaccinations (COVID-19 and routine immunizations)
  • respect individual choice regarding mask use, and have masks and rapid antigen tests available for staff and students if needed
  • have plans in place for when students become ill at school and if there are high cases of respiratory illness

Long-Term COVID-19 School PlanningImage with clock shaped like a virus and a calendar and planner behind it

Remote learning is not anticipated to be recommended for ongoing COVID-19 management, unless exceptional circumstances arise. Shifts to remote learning require a public health risk assessment and approval from Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning.

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning will continue to:

  • work with educational partners to ensure school boards and their administrators are able to operate as the pandemic situation evolves. This may include periods of flexibility in the application of specific legislative and policy requirements and timelines, in line with public health guidance.
  • assess where funding and other reporting requirements need to be adapted to reflect board and public health circumstances.
  • monitor and work with school divisions and funded independent schools to avoid any impacts or constraints in reporting enrolment.

Contact Tracing

  • Contact tracing is no longer routinely recommended by public health officials. Close contacts of COVID-19 cases are not required to self-isolate (quarantine) if they do not have symptoms.
  • Schools are no longer expected to issue community notification letters at this time. In the event that there is concern about an outbreak (COVID-19 or non-COVID), schools can contact local public health to obtain guidance.
  • Since public health officials no longer routinely recommend contact tracing, and no longer expect schools to issue community notification letters, public health officials no longer require or use COVID-19 related dashboards to monitor the impact of COVID-19 in schools.

Immunization

All staff and students should ensure that they are up-to-date on all their vaccines including those for COVID-19 and routine immunizations.

COVID-19 vaccines are available for adults and children ages 6 months and older. The vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting seriously ill and potentially long-term complications from COVID-19 infection. More information is available at Province of Manitoba - COVID-19 Vaccine.

Routine immunizations are offered through Manitoba’s School-Based Immunization Program in Grade 6 and Grades 8 or 9. More information is available at Province of Manitoba - School Immunization Program

Visit #ProtectMB for more information on vaccination.

Arrangements for Underlying Health Conditions

Arrangements will be needed for students, teachers, administrators, and school staff who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or other risk factors.

  • Provincial-level remote learning will be in place for students who are medically advised not to return to in-class learning due to COVID-19-related risk factors. These situations should be rare and limited to children with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions that increase their risk. Parents and caregivers must consult with physicians on the need for an accommodation.
  • A medical note is not required to ascertain medical needs. The small number of children who are immunocompromised are likely already known to the school; however, school divisions and independent schools can request a medical note if needed. If a note is requested, school divisions should use a form letter, which the health care provider signs, that outlines the policy direction above to ensure that the health care provider can indicate that this situation applies to a particular student or immediate family member. Parental/caregiver contact information should be included on the form.
  • Schools or divisions must follow up by phone (or alternate method) with each family to discuss and ensure that parents/caregivers understand what is involved with learning at home and that this could be for the entire year until the spread of COVID-19 is broadly contained.

Students with Special Needs and Students at Risk

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning is committed to fostering inclusion for all people. Collaboration among home, school and community is imperative. Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and transmission within communities, guidance may change based on emerging circumstances and information from public health officials.

For more information, read:

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning is committed to fostering inclusion for all people. Collaboration among home, school, and community is imperative. Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and transmission within communities, guidance may change based on emerging circumstances and information from public health officials. Follow public health recommendations, do a point-of-care risk assessment prior to each interaction to determine what infection prevention and control measures may be needed, including PPE needs, and follow routine practices.

Further guidance on routine practices in schools is in the process of being developed and will be available soon. If you have any questions about the best way to reduce the spread of germs in your school, you are encouraged to reach out to your principal.

Attendance

Because students and staff should stay home when sick, schools and school divisions must plan for absenteeism, among both staff and students.

Schools should return to regular practices regarding the monitoring of absenteeism within their schools. In the event that there is unusually high absenteeism due to respiratory disease, schools can contact local public health officials to obtain additional guidance. School officials should continue to emphasize the need for individuals to screen for COVID-19 symptoms and stay home when sick.

Classroom teachers will support the development and provision of at-home learning packages and/or provide remote learning for students who are isolating. All students are expected to participate fully, even in the rare situations when remote learning is required.

Communication

The success of the school year and student progress and achievement depends in part on schools, parents, caregivers, and students being informed of changes to activities and practices in schools.

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning has taken steps to have parents, caregivers and staff kept up-to-date with the latest information by providing:

  • Opportunities to provide feedback and queries to the COVID-19 response team at EDUCOVID19@gov.mb.ca.
  • Regular updates to schools and school divisions.
  • Updates and new information, as it becomes available, on the COVID-19 Guidance and Planning for K to 12 Education website.

Schools and school divisions are available to families should they have questions or concerns regarding daily activities for their children.

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Public Health Measures and School Operations Image of gears, one gear has a school inside of it

Public health measures in schools and child care facilities will continue to focus on prevention practices to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses.

Daily Screening

Students and staff are expected to monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 every day. If a student or member of the staff develops symptoms, they are advised to isolate (stay home) and not attend school, child care, or work. Schools will communicate with parents and caregivers about the need to monitor their child daily before sending them to school. The online screening tool provides instructions on what to do.

Isolation

If a student or staff has COVID-19 symptoms, they should Isolate (stay home) and notify the school. Schools can require students and staff who are showing symptoms to stay home and advise them to follow public health guidance on isolation and testing. Please see:

If a student is symptomatic while at school:

  • The child should isolate in a separate room. If a room is not available, the child will distance from other children and staff.
  • A medical mask will be provided for the child, unless there are safety issues that prevent mask-wearing. If a staff member needs to stay with the student, they should wear a medical-grade mask and eye protection.
  • A parent or caregiver should be notified to come and pick up the child. Parents and caregivers must pick up their child as soon as possible if they are notified that their child is ill.
  • If parents or caregivers have questions or need advice, schools can refer them to:

If a staff member is symptomatic while at school, they should immediately isolate themselves from other staff and children, put on a mask, notify their supervisor, and go home to isolate. Staff members who are away sick or who are isolating must follow the school’s human resources policy and collective agreement provisions. Medical notes are not required for staff who have COVID-19 or flu-related symptoms, or for those who are caring for individuals in this situation.

Rapid Antigen Testing

The province continues to make rapid antigen tests widely available in the community. Tests are currently available at a variety of retail chains across the province and libraries in Winnipeg. A supply of tests can also be ordered by schools and school divisions for distribution to students, staff, and members of their school communities. Information on how to order tests has been provided directly to the schools and school divisions. A supply should be available for asymptomatic students and staff to have on hand in case symptomatic testing is required.

See the below testing websites for information on rapid antigen tests.

If eligible for PCR testing, you can register to view your laboratory-based test results online: Shared Health - COVID-19 Online Result and Immunization Display.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Several printable resources, including posters and fact sheets, are available online at the following websites:

Government of Manitoba COVID-19 Resources

Shared Health Manitoba COVID-19 Posters

Province of Manitoba – Guidance on Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquettes

Government of Canada- Health-related Video Gallery

Masks

Schools and child care facilities should follow public health guidance.

  • Schools and school divisions should provide mask recommendations for students and staff that align with public health recommendations, and remain a place that respects individual choice regarding masks based on the individual’s risk assessment. This means that individuals may choose to continue to wear masks, based on their individual risk or personal preference.
  • Public health continues to recommend masks:
    • For those who are at higher risk of severe disease.
    • For individuals at higher risk of severe illness attending a crowded indoor setting, or if in a setting where many people are at higher risk for severe disease. For example, healthcare facilities and personal care homes continue to require mask use.
    • For individuals who are sick, or have tested positive for COVID-19. They should wear a mask for 10 days after symptoms develop when they leave isolation and have contact with others.
    • For individuals caring for someone who is sick or has tested positive for COVID-19.
    • Public health may provide additional recommendations for mask use during periods of high respiratory virus activity.
  • A student who becomes ill at school will be isolated and provided with a medical mask to wear until such time as they are picked up from school by a parent/caregiver. If a staff member needs to stay with the student, they should wear a medical-grade mask and eye protection.
  • Staff members should put on a medical mask if they become sick at school and immediately make arrangements to go home.
  • Schools and school divisions can continue to order a supply of masks from the province, following the established monthly ordering process.
  • Further information on masks is available at:

Ventilation

Manitoba’s guidelines require schools to inspect their systems and seek solutions from qualified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) experts as needed to take actions as required.

If the ventilation system has not been inspected, do the following as soon as reasonably practicable:

  • Have an HVAC professional inspect the system to ensure it is in proper working order, adjusted to maximize fresh air intake and has the highest level of air filtration allowable within the manufacturer’s operating parameters of the existing HVAC system.
  • Assess and identify rooms designated for occupancy that do not have operable windows and that do not have a fresh air supply. Repurpose the identified rooms if possible, or seek an engineered solution to introduce and maintain a clean air supply required for occupancy.

Schools are expected to maintain proper ventilation in schools. Protecting Manitobans - Ventilation (pdf document 224 KB) provides practical direction to school divisions and schools to improve ventilation and HVAC operation and maintenance (O&M) based on the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Reopening Guide for Schools.

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Mental Health and Well-Being Image of a person with a heart in one hand and a health cross in the other

Supporting the positive well-being and mental health of students, staff, and families is a key priority for Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning and for its many educational partners throughout the province.

Mental Health Strategy for 2022/2023

As the Back to School 2022 Plan proceeds, provincial and locally developed initiatives for a mental health in schools strategy for 2022/23 will be coordinated according to the 5Ts framework.

The 5Ts are as follows:

  • Talk about mental health
  • Training for teachers
  • Incorporating mental health into Teaching
  • Providing appropriate Tools and Supports for students
  • Taking Care of teachers and schools

For more information, visit:

Well-Being and Mental Health Guides and Resources

The Manitoba Pandemic Support Guides, a series of health and safety resources to support school staff, have been developed by Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning in partnership with the Manitoba School Boards Association, SAFE Work Manitoba, public health representatives, and other stakeholders. By working together to share and discuss this information, schools can continue to remain a safe place to work.

See below for links to four well-being and mental health tip sheets to help Manitobans.

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Student Learning, Progress and AchievementImage of a plant with a glowing lightbulb at the top. Inside the light bulb is a graduation cap and pencil

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning continues to work with stakeholders to ensure learning continues, schools and child care facilities remain safe, and students receive equitable access to education.

Early Learning

Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning continues to work together with school divisions and the child care sector to ensure families can access child care within schools. Schools will work cooperatively with school-based child care centres to ensure that they can continue to operate. This includes protection of designated child care centre space for child care centres in schools, and an approach to supporting shared spaces. For operational updates and directives, visit: Mantioba Education and Early Childhood Learning - Child Care - Notices, Circulars and Webinars.

International Students/Boarding Schools

Any international students coming to Canada to study at a Manitoba Kindergarten to Grade 12 school must follow the current public health and safety measures established by the Government of Canada. For current information, please see Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Designated learning institutions reopening to international students.

Please be advised that students should not make any travel plans until they have met all requirements and received all necessary authorizations.

Any school/school division intending to host international students with study permits in the 2022/2023 school year must be prepared to have their readiness plan reviewed by Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning for compliance with public health requirements. These plans are to protect the health and safety of all students and the surrounding community, to describe how any public health measures will be met for arriving international students, and to provide information and support to international students.

Remote Learning and Distance Learning

Keeping schools open and safe for students, staff, and families is at the forefront of Manitoba Education and Early Childhood Learning’s COVID-19 response planning.

Remote learning options for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 include:

  • The Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre (MRLSC) operates out of St James-Assiniboia School Division and provides remote learning for students who are medically advised not to return to in-class learning due to COVID-19-related risk factors. Access to the MRLSC is through local schools and school divisions. For more information, contact the principal of the MRLSC at principal@mbremotelearning.ca.

Remote learning options for students in Grades 9 to 12 include:

The following departmental resources have been developed specifically for teachers to help support remote learning:

The following departmental resources have been developed specifically for parents to help support remote learning:

  • My Learning at Home is a website primarily targeted for parents who want to enhance learning at home and to support their child’s well-being and learning growth.
  • My Child in School informs parents of the usual grade-level curriculum content and the kinds of activities and learning experiences in which they may see their child engaging
  • MRLSC K-8 Learning Resource Repository consists of English and French independent inquiry-/project-based learning experiences that address learning outcomes for Kindergarten to Grade 8 students with a focus on the subject areas of language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and physical education.

Assessment and Reporting

Student assessment and evaluation will proceed. Student assessment will be reflective of their work, performance, and learning.

  • Report cards will be provided to all students, including in situations where remote learning is required.
  • Teachers will continue with ongoing local evaluation of curricular outcomes and assign grades as per provincial policy and school and school division direction.
  • In the 2021/2022 school year, the Grade 3 Assessment in Reading, Lecture, and Numeracy, the Grade 4 Assessment in French Immersion Lecture, and the Middle Years Assessment of Key Competencies in Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, and Expository Writing will continue.
  • A new Grade 10 assessment is being developed and will be piloted in the winter. The Grade 12 provincial exams will no longer proceed.

For more Information, visit Assessment and Evaluation.

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COVID-19 School Library Image of a laptop with a book on the screen, a glowing lightbulb is emerging from the book.

The COVID-19 School Library has been created to help schools and school divisions access guidance and support documents quickly.

Documents





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Information

Latest COVID-19 Information

Shared Health Manitoba or call 1-877-308-9038

Help Next Door MB