Is the Two-Week Remote Learning Period (Jan. 4-15, 2021) Applicable to HSD?
Yes. On Dec. 2, 2020, the Minister of Education announced that students in Grades 7 to 12 will move to remote learning for a two-week period from Jan. 4 to 15, 2021. Optional remote learning will also be available to Kindergarten to Grade 6 students during this period should families wish to keep their children at home following the Christmas Break. Regular, in-person classroom learning will be available during this period for Kindergarten to Grade 6 students, as well as for any Grade 7 to 12 students with special needs that must be accommodated in the school or classroom setting. View the official government announcement.
Is the Christmas Break Being Extended?
There is no change to the scheduled Christmas Break (Dec. 19 – Jan. 3). Remote learning and in-school learning (for those eligible) will resume on Monday, Jan. 4.
Why is HSD in the Critical (Red) Pandemic Response Level?
At the direction of the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, HSD moved to the Critical (Red) level of the Pandemic Response System effective Nov. 24, 2020. View provincial news release.
This action was taken as a preventative safety measure in response to the increased test positivity rate in Steinbach and the RM of Hanover. The decision to move Hanover School Division to the Critical (Red) level was not a reflection of school-based virus transmission, but was done so to limit contacts and reduce risk in our communities.
Determination of pandemic response levels (for divisions and schools) is at the sole discretion of Manitoba Public Health and Manitoba Education. These are provincial directives, and not under the authority of local governance.
What Does Critical (Red) Level Mean for Schools?
Continuity of learning in the Critical (Red) level is of key importance.
- All students move to teacher-led remote learning at home.
- Schools and school divisions will endeavour to accommodate K-6 children of critical services workers who cannot make alternative care arrangements so that these students may attend school. While at school, these students will participate in and receive support for the same teacher-led remote learning that their classmates who are learning from home are receiving.
- Students over age 12 who are children of critical services workers and who have disabilities or special needs that preclude them from staying home independently, may also be accommodated at the school and receive supervision and remote learning support.
- Additionally, schools and school divisions may use their discretion to accommodate high-risk students in order to mitigate serious concerns of disengagement.
For additional information, please view the provincial document, Guidance for Critical (Red) Response Level For Manitoba Schools.
Who Qualifies for In-School Supervision During Critical (Red)?
The Pandemic Response System states that in a Critical (Red) response, schools are closed to students, with the exception of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students who are children of critical services workers (CSWs) who cannot make alternative care arrangements. In-class supervision will be provided for Gr. K-6 children of CSWs so that they can continue to support our communities. All other students (Gr. K-12) will receive temporary remote learning.
During the Critical Level, people should try to stay at home as much as possible to have the greatest impact. If there is another caregiver in the home, or on days that Critical Service Workers are not at work, then the students should participate in remote learning from home. This is in keeping with the primary intent of providing supervision only while parents and caregivers perform critical services. Therefore, to be eligible for in-class supervision, the child’s parents (two parent family) must both meet the Public Health definition of a Critical Service Worker. Exceptional accommodation will be provided for CSWs working in Health Care. Children of CSWs are eligible for in-school supervision if at least one parent is a CSW.
Manitoba Education considers the following to be critical services workers:
- Health/Health Services Workers
- Kindergarten to Gr. 12 Education Providers (all teachers, administrators, and support staff)
- Child Care Workers
- Law Enforcement
- Corrections Workers
- Fire and Paramedic First Responders
- Direct Social Services and Child Protection Workers
Additional critical services workers may include people who provide critical services to Manitobans, such as front-line natural resource workers, gas station attendants, and grocery store staff.
Priority access will be given to health care providers. Other critical services workers will be eligible and prioritized by schools/school divisions based on local needs and contexts. The number of students a school can safely manage, while maintaining physical distancing requirements, may be limited by individual facilities.
What is the In-School Environment for Gr. K-6 During Critical (Red)?
Children who attend school during a Critical (Red) level will be supervised while at school and will be supported by staff in the school to participate in remote learning, as per Manitoba Education Standards for Remote Learning.
Students will participate in real-time online instruction that is coordinated and scheduled by their in-class teacher(s), and they will be provided with opportunities to engage in independent work while at school. If technology is required for participation, it will be provided to students, unless students and families opt to bring their own device. If the use of technology is not possible, print-based options or alternatives will be explored, in discussion with the school division.
Will Buses Continue to Run in Critical (Red)?
School divisions are not responsible for student transportation during a Critical (Red) PRS level. Recognizing that, in some cases, busing may be the only way for children of critical services workers to get to the school, local decisions may be made to bus students who do not have alternative means of transportation.