Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools

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Restoring Safe Schools: School Settings Practice Guidance and Protocols
Restoring Safe Schools: July 30 - Guidelines for September 2020

The past school year was a challenging time for students, families and educators. Throughout Manitoba, in-classroom learning was suspended from March 23 to May 31, with all students learning remotely. The immediate shift from in-class to at home learning meant that educators, students, parents and caregivers adapted to new ways to ensure learning continued.

The first step in returning to school came into effect on June 1, 2020 when the limited use of school facilities started, with guidelines in place for staff and students to return to schools for specific programming, planning and student assessment purposes. The response to these challenges showed the creativity and resiliency of teachers, principals, school staff and especially students and their families as they worked through remote learning for the remaining 2019/2020 school year.

Manitobans will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. We must adapt and learn to live and study safety amidst the pandemic. It is in the best interest of children to be in school, and we must mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and families to ensure that learning and assessment continues for all.

Manitoba’s plan to resume in-class learning establishes provincial consistency, while allowing for local flexibility where needed. The plan reflects the importance of safety, health and well-being, while ensuring reasonable measures and plans are in place to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus in schools, if it occurs.

Welcoming Our Students Back: What Parents Need to Know

This information is available in an alternate format upon request, please contact engagemb@gov.mb.ca.

Restoring Safe Schools: School Settings Practice Guidance and Protocols
Restoring Safe Schools: July 30 - Guidelines for September 2020

The past school year was a challenging time for students, families and educators. Throughout Manitoba, in-classroom learning was suspended from March 23 to May 31, with all students learning remotely. The immediate shift from in-class to at home learning meant that educators, students, parents and caregivers adapted to new ways to ensure learning continued.

The first step in returning to school came into effect on June 1, 2020 when the limited use of school facilities started, with guidelines in place for staff and students to return to schools for specific programming, planning and student assessment purposes. The response to these challenges showed the creativity and resiliency of teachers, principals, school staff and especially students and their families as they worked through remote learning for the remaining 2019/2020 school year.

Manitobans will be living with COVID-19 for the foreseeable future. We must adapt and learn to live and study safety amidst the pandemic. It is in the best interest of children to be in school, and we must mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on students and families to ensure that learning and assessment continues for all.

Manitoba’s plan to resume in-class learning establishes provincial consistency, while allowing for local flexibility where needed. The plan reflects the importance of safety, health and well-being, while ensuring reasonable measures and plans are in place to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus in schools, if it occurs.

Welcoming Our Students Back: What Parents Need to Know

This information is available in an alternate format upon request, please contact engagemb@gov.mb.ca.

Are you a parent, student or other education system partner with questions on our plans to welcome students back to school? 

Ask your question here and we'll share your question and the answer for others to see. Questions can also be answered privately, if they're not appropriate for sharing.   

Please Note: Use the Search bar below the Submit button to see if your question has already been answered.

Restoring Safe Schools Questions

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    I am asking a question for Childcare and children grades 4-6. Do children need to wear mask outdoors and when excercising and running in the gym?

    Melaniefraser Asked 11 days ago

    Activities that involve movement should be held outside, including those for physical health and education. Indoor or outdoor non-contact sports (e.g., tennis and soccer) are permitted, as long as physical distancing can be maintained during the play, except for brief exchanges of close contact. Choose outdoor settings as much as possible, as they are a lower risk for transmission of COVID-19. A more detailed document has been developed to provide guidance on how sports and other activities could be modified/adapted to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It is available at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/restoring/sports-guidelines.html 

    This document contains valuable information including the following directions on the wearing of masks for physical activity.

    The wearing of non-medical masks or cloth face coverings is an additional personal practice that may help to prevent the infectious respiratory droplets of an unknowingly infected person (the wearer) from coming into contact with other people and surfaces. 

    • In most circumstances non-medical masks or cloth face coverings are not deemed necessary in indoor or outdoor spaces when physical distancing is possible and can be predictably maintained. However, use of these masks may be considered if physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable, and local epidemiology and community transmission warrant it.
    • For sports where a face shield can be used (e.g. hockey), a face shield may be considered.
    • In some activities, wearing a non-medical mask may not be practical or tolerable, e.g., in activities that require physical exertion there might be a risk of poor oxygenation, easily soiled/moistened mask due to sweating/heavy breathing, or risk from injury if the mask is caught on equipment.
    • Non-medical masks should not be placed on young children under age two as they may be unable to remove the mask without assistance, which could impair their breathing.
    • Children and youth in the same activity group will have recurrent interactions with one another, much like those of family members or people in a household. For this reason, non-medical masks may not be recommended. It will be important that group sizes are small and that the same children/youth, staff and volunteers are grouped together as much as possible. 
    • The ability of a child/youth to complete tasks and follow direction will be dependent on a variety of factors (e.g. age, maturity, physical ability, comprehension). It will be important for child/youth staff and/or volunteers to assess ability to properly use and care for non-medical masks, based on the individuality of children/youth.
    • It should be expected that some children/youth will wear non-medical masks in settings that have not adopted non-medical masks policies. Staff and volunteers should monitor for, and address, any discrimination or bullying associated with this practice (whether stigmatization is experienced by those who wear masks, and/or those who do not) and monitor for proper use.


    Updated information for schools is posted regularly online at: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html.

    As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in Manitoba, please check the provincial website at: www.manitoba.ca/covid19 for the most up-to-date information.

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    What are the Licensed Daycare COVID-19 protocols? I currently have two children at daycare who are both being sent home because one of them has a runny nose (over a week now, with no other symptoms from anyone in our household). When I contact health links, they are stating no reason for concern. I have also been receiving conflicting information from other parents that have shown me their daycares COVID-19 screening tool, which I also found online from the July 8th Manitoba update, that has a two-tier system. That a runny nose would not be a reason to be sent home, unless with another symptom. And nowhere can I find that the sibling must be sent home as well, unless for isolation purposes of awaiting a COVID-19 test. I am just wanting to know my rights as a parent, and the rights of the daycare. Where can I look for help? I understand we are in a pandemic and want to keep all kids safe, but I also have to work, and can not continue to pay for daycare services and emergency babysitting, especially if unwarranted. Thanks!

    Mommy2254 Asked 12 days ago

    Manitoba Education and Manitoba Families are working together with school divisions and the child care sector to ensure that families can continue accessing 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, including cleaning protocols. 

    For information and questions regarding licensed child care services outside of schools during the pandemic, please visit https://manitoba.ca/covid19/protection/childcare.html.

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    Is the 2M/6ft distance from the desks edge to edge or from student to student?

    CDJJJJ Asked 11 days ago

    The most effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include separating people by maintaining physical distance and the use of physical barriers. However, these measures are not always practical in child care and school settings. Therefore, it is most effective to use a layered approach, including physical distancing, physical barriers, masks, hygiene practices, and cleaning, and to develop administrative measures that support individuals to consistently follow personal preventive practices that decrease the number of interactions while increasing the safety of interactions that occur.

    Public health recommends two metres of physical distancing. When this is not possible, students will remain within cohorts to reduce exposure to others. Cohorts will distance themselves at least four metres from other groups to limit exposure. In these instances, there must be at least one metre between students when seated at desks or tables.

    Given the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and transmission within our communities, guidance may change based on emerging circumstances and information from public health officials. If the public health situation changes or guidelines are not sufficient, current measures may be paused and other measures may be introduced or reintroduced.We will continue to monitor and adapt plans as the public health situation evolves. Updated information is posted regularly online at: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html.

    As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve in Manitoba, please check the provincial website at: www.manitoba.ca/covid19 for the most up-to-date information.

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    Should schools be using hand sanitizer to fight Covid and if they should what type should they be using? For example 60%to 70% alcohal vs alcohol free.

    Andre22 Asked 5 days ago

    Manitoba’s plan to resume in-class learning establishes provincial consistency, while allowing for local flexibility where needed. The plan reflects the importance of safety, health and well-being, while ensuring reasonable measures and plans are in place to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus in schools, if it occurs.

    The most effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include separating people by maintaining physical distance and the use of physical barriers. However, these measures are not always practical in child care and school settings. Therefore, it is most effective to use a layered approach, including physical distancing, physical barriers, masks, hygiene practices, and cleaning, and to develop administrative measures that support individuals to consistently follow personal preventive practices that decrease the number of interactions while increasing the safety of interactions that occur.

    Where possible, hand hygiene will be encouraged and supervised and alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be made available at all building access points and throughout the facility. Young children will require supervision when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is the recommended hand hygiene practice. All staff and students must engage in frequent hand hygiene, including before eating or drinking.

    Health Canada has the following list of disinfectants and hand sanitizers that have been shown to be effective against COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/ disinfectants/covid-19/list.html.

    Manitoba Education will continue to work with educational partners to monitor and adapt plans as the public health situation evolves. Updated information is posted regularly online at: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html

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    Locker usage in high school

    Packratter Asked 4 days ago

    Manitoba’s plan to resume in-class learning establishes provincial consistency, while allowing for local flexibility where needed. The plan reflects the importance of safety, health and well-being, while ensuring reasonable measures and plans are in place to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus in schools, if it occurs.

    The most effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 include separating people by maintaining physical distance and the use of physical barriers. However, these measures are not always practical in child care and school settings. Therefore, it is most effective to use a layered approach, including physical distancing, physical barriers, masks, hygiene practices, and cleaning, and to develop administrative measures that support individuals to consistently follow personal preventive practices that decrease the number of interactions while increasing the safety of interactions that occur.

    Students are encouraged to keep personal belongings with them. Locker use should be limited or discontinued to avoid congregation in hallways. 

    We will continue to monitor and adapt plans as the public health situation evolves. Updated information is posted regularly online at: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html

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    Is there a possibility of having another Town Hall now that school is in session, with the opportunity to share observations on how things are going for our kids enrolled in MB schools? Or is there a forum in which we can share concerns?

    Shannon Johnson Friesen Asked 10 days ago

    Thank you for your suggestions. They have been shared with the program area. 

    Manitoba Education will continue to work closely with public health, education stakeholders,
    schools, divisions, independent schools, parents, caregivers and students to further develop plans
    for the coming year. The Provincial K–12 COVID-19 Response Planning Team will continue to work
    together, and regular conference calls will be held with education sector representatives.

    The safety, health and well-being for all students, staff and families is a guiding principle in our planning. We will continue to monitor and adapt plans as the public health situation evolves. Please check the provincial website at www.manitoba.ca/covid19 for the most up-to-date information.

    The public health information is subject to change as the science and information regarding COVID-19 continue to evolve. Please visit Latest COVID-19 Education News regularly at https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html for the most up-to-date information.


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    If there are 5 kids attending one school and one of the 5 gets a cold, do all of the 5 kids stay home?

    JBays Asked 12 days ago

    Parents, guardians and staff are encouraged to consult with their health-care provider if they have concerns about their own health, their child’s health, or the health of other household contacts.

    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. Parents and 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.

    Screening for symptoms is critical to identify any potential cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible before exposure to others. If someone is unsure whether they or their child should be tested and self-isolate, they should be directed to the COVID-19 Screening Tool at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/screening-tool/

    All screening that identifies suspected cases of COVID-19 should be referred to Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257. 

    If there is a positive test, further direction will be provided by public health. Public health typically follows up with contacts of cases within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of the laboratory report. A sick child can return to the school once it has been determined that it is safe to do so by their health care provider or public health.

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    With schools back in for a week, what would you suggest for parents who have children in schools who aren’t following the Restoring Safe Schools guidelines? In our case, a middle school hasn’t returned grade seven kids to full time in school instruction, citing that they don’t have space to do so. The Winnipeg School Division has not responded to our questions about it. Are the directives in the document not mandatory?

    Gerger Asked 13 days ago

    Manitoba’s plan to resume in-class learning establishes provincial consistency, while allowing for local flexibility where needed. The plan reflects the importance of safety, health and well-being, while ensuring reasonable measures and plans are in place to minimize the risk of transmission and exposure to the virus in schools, if it occurs.

    Manitoba Education will continue to work closely with public health, education stakeholders, schools divisions, independent schools, parents, caregivers and students to further develop plans for the coming year. These policy and public health directions have been approved by the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer of Manitoba, and will help parents and families know what to expect when classes resume and where they can go for more information.

    For more information, please refer to your school division plans available at https://manitoba.ca/covid19/restoring/school-divisions.html or contact your school office directly.

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    There have been 5 announcements of a person with positive Covid test attending a school in 5 school days. To me, that is alarming. Each time, the announcement indicates that the person was awaiting a Covid test result but was following guidance from health authorities in attending school. Yet the COVID-19 Screening Questions from the province includes questions on exposure history including "Have you been in close contact .... in the last 14 days with a confirmed COIVD-19 case?" Realistically, someone seeking a Covid test either is feeling sick or has been advised to get tested because they were in close contact. How can someone awaiting a test result be following guidelines? Can the guidelines be strengthened by adding an additional question "Are you awaiting results of a Covid test?"

    Steve Robbins Asked 13 days ago

    Welcoming our  Students Back Restoring Safe Schools: A Guide for Parents, Caregivers and  Students  (Aug. 24) states that:
    Individuals should self-isolate and not enter schools or education facilities if they:
    • are experiencing symptoms suggestive of COVID-19
    • have travelled outside Manitoba in the previous 14 days (outside of areas excluded by public health orders, which currently exclude locations in Western Canada, the territories, and Ontario west of Terrace Bay)
    • are a close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19
    • are awaiting a COVID-19 test result (excluding persons tested as part of
    voluntary asymptomatic surveillance for COVID-19, as they do not need to isolate)

    Manitoba Education will continue to work closely with public health, education stakeholders, schools, divisions, independent schools, parents, caregivers and students to monitor and adapt plans for the coming year.

    Updates, documents, and more information regarding the COVID-19 Education Plan can be found at:

    https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index.html 

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    What does public health determine to be the infectious period of a person in a school if they are an asymptomatic case? What is the time frame that they are considered infections? I know it is generally 2 days prior to symptom onset, but what if the person is positive but doesn’t develop symptoms?

    TeacherM Asked 15 days ago

    If that child has a positive test, further direction will be provided by public health. Public health typically follows up with contacts of cases within 24 to 48 hours of receipt of the laboratory report.

    For more information on COVID-19, Public Health resources and Manitoba's Pandemic Response System, please visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/updates/index.html.