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Back-to-school tips for parents & caregivers

September 19, 2023
Back-to-school tips for parents/caregivers

Before your child(ren) head back to school, below are some helpful tips for parents and caregivers to keep in mind. 

First day of school

Wednesday, September 6, 2023 (Day 2)

  • All schools will be open
  • Staff and students will be expected to attend all day
  • Nursery and Kindergarten students have a staggered start, but will begin no later than Monday, September 11, 2023

School supplies

  • Schools in Winnipeg School Division have individual supply lists for each classroom. As such, there is not a standard school supply list for each grade across the division. 
  • School supply lists are shared with parents/guardians in different ways, depending on the schools' consultations with parent advisory groups. The options are a hard copy list sent home, online lists on the school's webpage, or purchase by the school. 
  • Purchase by the school—the school receives payment from a parent/guardian. The school is then responsible for purchasing school supplies on behalf of all students in the classroom.
  • Schools often collect school fees for items such as field trips, recorders, school supplies and camp fees.
  • Winnipeg School Division adheres to the Manitoba Public School Fee Policy in determining student fees. For more information:

Update contact information

Please ensure your child(ren)’s school(s) have your updated contact information including home address, email address and phone number. It’s important your child(ren)’s school can reach you throughout the school year.


At Winnipeg School Division, one of our greatest priorities is ensuring all students arrive safely at school each and every day. As parents/caregivers, you must let the school know if your child(ren) will be absent for any reason. 

To enhance our existing absence-checking procedure, most schools use the student absence reporting system called SafeArrival. With SafeArrival, you are asked to report your child’s absence in advance using any of these three methods:

  1. Using your mobile device, download and install the SchoolMessenger app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store (or from the links at The first time you use the app, select Sign Up to create your account. Select Attendance then Report an Absence.
  2. Use the SafeArrival website, The first time you use the website, select Sign Up to create your account. Select Attendance then Report an Absence.
  3. Call the toll-free number 1-855-278-4513 to report an absence using the automated phone system.

These options are available 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. Future absences can be reported at any time. Click the following link to find out if your child(ren)’s school uses this tool:

Safety tips

We can all do our part to help students get to school safely. Drivers should be alert and slow down around our schools and obey school patrols. Flashing red lights on a school bus means stop, as students are getting on or off. Students who walk to school are encouraged to use the buddy system and if they must cross the street, to do so at a designated crossing.

By following the rules of the road and teaching and reminding students about road safety, we can all help to keep our children safe.

School bus safety reminders

The start of schools means our fleet of nearly 100 school buses will be sharing the road transporting students to and from school each day. Below are some important reminders for both drivers, and caregivers, on staying safe around school buses.

For drivers

  • Flashing yellow lights on the school bus mean the bus is getting ready to stop and load or unload. You need to slow down and get ready to stop.
  • Flashing red lights mean the bus has stopped and children are getting on or off. It is illegal to pass a school bus from either direction once it’s stopped and has its lights activated unless there is a physical barrier (such as a median) between your vehicle and the bus.
  • As soon as the bus driver turns on the flashing red lights, drivers coming from both directions must immediately stop at least five metres from the bus and remain stopped until the lights stop flashing, the STOP arm folds away and the bus begins to move.
  • Be extremely cautious around school buses and remember young children are nearby and they can move quickly.

For parents/caregivers

  • Educate your children about bus safety etiquette:
  • Teach them to stay away from the three danger zones—the front, sides and back of the bus by staying at least three meters away from the school bus.
  • If children must cross the street, they must never cross behind the school bus, they should seek the driver’s permission, take five giant steps past the front of the bus and make sure the driver has seen them before crossing.
  • Teach them to watch for other traffic before crossing the road.
  • If children drop something near or under the school bus, they should never attempt to retrieve it without the driver’s permission.
  • Ensure that they get to the bus stop at least five minutes before the school bus arrives.
  • Teach them to never run after the school bus if they arrive late at the bus stop.
  • Teach them to take five giant steps away from the road when the school bus is approaching.

Source: Manitoba Public Insurance

Helpful information:

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