The provincial government officially announced today that classroom learning will remain suspended for the rest of the school year.
“We want to look at additional ways to support our young people and those who help them in the educational system in meeting their educational needs,” said Premier Brian Pallister. “We are currently examining the safe limited re-opening of educational facilities, this spring, to allow for additional tutorial days such as one on one learning assessments and specific programming.”
Remote learning will wind down in June, so that teachers can shift to report card writing and plan ahead with colleagues for recovery learning and re-entry.
The government is also proposing a start date of August 31, 2020 for the new school year as well as using some professional development days as instruction days to help accommodate, “the transitional challenges that students will be facing once they resume their studies”.
The premier was clear that The Manitoba Teachers’ Society will have an opportunity to consult on these proposed changes, and that these changes would only apply to the 2020/21 school year.
“There’s never been any doubt in my mind about that union having its key focus being the best interest of students in our province and that’s exactly where this government’s interest lies, so I wouldn’t anticipate disagreeable exchange,” said Premier Pallister. “We want to do this in a cooperative way.”
MTS president James Bedford has been in frequent communications with government officials throughout this process and was not at all surprised by the government’s proposal of lengthening the school year.
“We are living in unprecedented times and the opportunity to consult and offer the important perspective from those at the frontlines of education is crucial to the success of any re-entry plan,” said Bedford. “We look forward to the consultation with the minister and other education stakeholders to discuss the ways in which we can best support students.”