Pandemic PlanningSeptember 21, 2021
August 24, 2021
August 20, 2021
August 17, 2021
On August 5, 2021, Manitoba Education announced that all schools in the province will be returning to full-time in class learning. All Grade 1 to 12 students in Winnipeg School Division (WSD) will be returning to school on September 8, 2021, with Nursery and Kindergarten students starting the following week.
School will resume with near-normal operations, similar to how the 2020/21 year began. All schools in WSD have plans to support our students and staff that have been adjusted over the past year of the pandemic to ensure the safest possible environment.
Public Health and Manitoba Education have advised all school divisions that public health guidance, including mask guidance, will be reviewed again before the beginning of the school year and on an ongoing basis to ensure that the measures are responsive to the public health situation at that time. For more information, go to Manitoba Education "Restoring Safe Schools - Planning for the 2021/22 School Year a guide for Parents and Caregivers"
Request to Mandate Masks
The WSD Board of Trustees and I acknowledge and appreciate all the parents and community members who have reached out to WSD to express support for mandating masks and reduced class sizes, as well as maintaining cohorts and meeting ventilation requirements to keep all students and staff safe and healthy upon return to school in September.
The members of the Board of Trustees have requested that the Minister of Education reconsider their provincial announcement at the beginning of August and mandate masks for all students in schools, as well as staff and visitors in an effort to reduce the spread of the Delta Variant and maintain our health and safety. You can view the letter to the minister here: Return to Safe School Plan - Letter to Minister Cullen
WSD is continuously reviewing and implementing all measures possible to protect our students and staff. At this time WSD will be:
- maintaining cohorts for our younger students
- providing masks and sanitizer
- maintaining distance requirements
- providing assigned seating on school busses
- expecting that all staff and students continue daily screening for symptoms of COVID 19 and remaining at home if they are symptomatic
- encouraging regular handwashing
- utilizing the outdoor learning environments whenever possible
In addition, during the pandemic, WSD has been and will continue to optimize the existing ventilation systems to maximize outside air in order to provide proper indoor temperature and air flow. The control measures taken are:
- providing 100 percent outside fresh air to maximize air exchange within buildings
- opening windows
- through WSD’s building automation system (DDC) we are:
- setting dampers to be 100 percent open, weather dependent
- setting all CO2 set points to be set at 450 ppm
- running ventilation systems continuously from 4 a.m. to 12 midnight on a daily basis
- Regularly checking the operation of ventilation systems and replacing filters more frequently
WSD will continue to monitor the public health situation and advocate with the Minister of Education and Public Health for measures to ensure that all students and staff can learn and teach in a safe and healthy environment during the 2021/2022 school year.
We look forward to welcoming our students back, in person, to the classroom and to the many learning activities and programs that help engage them to become confident, inspired and successful learners.
PARENTS AND GUARDIANS GUIDE 2021–22 SCHOOL YEAR
Return to near normal daily in-school classes with health measures
Learning in the new school year
Students will return to school daily for Nursery to Grade 12 starting September 8 (week of September 13 for Nursery and Kindergarten).
There are health measures that everyone has to follow to continue reducing the risk of COVID-19 and help stay safe. While your school has developed a plan to meet the government’s health recommendations, everyone will have a role to play.
PARENTS’ ROLE IN KEEPING SCHOOLS SAFE
Screen for symptoms every morning
Check every morning to see if your child has any of these symptoms.Please note that even if a person is fully vaccinated for COVID-19, any of these symptoms mean they must stay home from work or school.
If yes, they must stay at home:
- Fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, sore throat, chills, painful swallowing
- Runny nose/nasal congestion, feeling unwell/fatigued, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, unexplained loss of appetite
- Loss of sense of taste or smell, muscle/joint aches, headache, Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Students, parents or family members must not enter school if they:
- Feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19
- Have anyone in the household who has been in close contact in the last 14 days with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19
- Have traveled outside of Canada in the last 14 days
- Had close contact with someone who has travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days and who is ill
Keep a safe distance
Keep 2 metres between you and others when possible:
- During drop-off and pick-up
- During interactions with a teacher, school staff or other parents and students
- Pick up students promptly if they show symptoms at school
You will be asked to pick up your child from school immediately if they show symptoms. Please ensure the school has your most up-to-date contact information so they may reach you if your child needs to be picked up.
Taking your child to school
If your child normally takes the bus, consider taking them directly to school if your personal situation allows for it. This helps with physical distancing on the bus for students who do not have other options besides taking the bus.
WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW
Talk to your child about the health measures to help them prepare for the first day of school. This will be a reminder for most students as they have been taking these measures for the past year of the pandemic:
- Sanitize hands before entering school and classrooms
- Keep a distance between others and follow marks in hallways
- Masks are recommended for all students, staff and visitors
- Do not share food or personal items
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow
- Tell staff if feeling sick at school
- Lunch and recess time may change to allow for more physical distancing
- Students may be asked to stay in their own cohort to decrease contact with others
- Students who take the bus will have to sit in the same seat every day
- Students in Grade 4 and higher must wear non-medical masks on school busses
A cohort is a group of students who remain together. The size of the cohort will depend on the physical space of the classroom.
The risk of COVID-19 is reduced by limiting exposure to others. Staying in a cohort also makes contact tracing easier and faster if there is a suspected case of COVID-19.
Your child may feel nervous about what school will be like. While there will be changes, the key school experience will be the same as before—they will learn in class with their teacher and see friends.
HEALTH MEASURES AT SCHOOLS
Schools will continue to follow detailed health guidelines to prepare for the return of students. For example:
Increased cleaning and disinfection of high touch areas and shared equipment
Physical distancing when possible, which may include:
- Stagger pick-up and drop-off times
- One-way or marked hallways and designated entrance and exit doors
- Leave space between desks and tables
- Stagger start and end-times for classes and lunchtime to avoid crowded hallways
- Limiting bathroom occupancy
When physical distancing is not possible, extra emphasis will be on hand hygiene, covering coughs and sneezes, and cleaning.
Students, where possible, will be cohorted by class.
Non-medical masks are recommended by Manitoba Public Health for all staff, for students Grade 4 and up, and are encouraged for students in all grades.
- Video on how to effectively take on and off a mask – For students (middle/senior) and staff
- Video on why masks are important – For students (early/elementary)
- Video on how to effectively wash your hands – For students (early/elementary)
- Video on how to effectively wash your hands – For students (middle/senior) and staff
- Video on reducing the spread of COVID-19: Hygiene – For students (early/elementary)
- Back to School - Help Keep Our Schools Safe - PDF - EN.pdf
- Back to School - Help Keep Our Schools Safe - PDF - FR.pdf