October 1, 2021
As announced today, the COVID-19 response level on the province’s Pandemic Response System is being raised to restricted (orange) from caution (yellow) to reflect the increased severity of the risk. View provincial news release. A detailed listing of changes is included in the published media backgrounder.
The Chief Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Brent Roussin, has indicated that the move to the restricted (orange) level will not affect schools. Schools will remain at the caution (yellow) level at this time to ensure youth can remain in school as much as possible. At this time, public health officials continue to recommend a school-specific approach when risk is identified.
There has also been an update to the public health measures in schools. Specifically, the province has updated the criteria for when and where masks can be removed while in school:
Masks may be removed indoors where there is physical distancing of 2 metres (6 feet) for the purpose of eating, drinking, and for short, infrequent mask breaks. Masks can be removed when outside.
Masks are to be worn at all other times, including in the classroom and while riding the bus. Additional details regarding public health measures in schools can be found on the Restoring Safe Schools section of the MB Government website.
These updated mask requirements are being implemented as an additional layer of protection and proactive measure in an attempt to keep our schools operating in caution (yellow) and hopefully prevent a move to restricted (orange) in the future.
Public health will continue to monitor closely and will adjust guidance or requirements by public health orders as needed, which may include additional requirements for certain schools, communities, and regions. The requirements for mask use or other public health measures may change based on a number of factors, such as case numbers, data on severe outcomes, test positivity rates, health system capacity, the extent of community transmission, and vaccine uptake. Any changes will be determined by public health officials and communicated to school leaders.
As always, the Hanover School Division will continue to follow the Public Health Orders and Manitoba Education guidance to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and school communities. Working together, we can keep the risk of transmission low in our schools which will help keep our schools open for in-class learning.
Shelley Amos, Interim Superintendent/CEO
Hanover School Division