Schools re-open for limited use June 1
Premier Brian Pallister today confirmed that Phase 2 of the Restoring Safe Services plan, which grants limited access to public schools, will come into effect on Monday, June 1, 2020.
“There is no directive from the Manitoba Government that all staff must return to schools. This decision is being made at the divisional level,” said MTS President James Bedford. “Teachers should have the opportunity to continue to work remotely when their physical presence is not required in the building.”
Bedford said that The Society’s priority is the safety and well-being of its members and the students they teach.
“We strongly believe that no division should be calling our MTS members back into school unless they can guarantee safe working conditions for teachers – and safe learning conditions for students,” he said.
Earlier this week, the government proposed an early start to the 2020/21 school year as well as re-purposing professional development days to help with recovery learning needs and the reintegration to an in-class environment.
“The Society’s long-standing position has been that a post Labour Day start to the school year is in the best interest of students, teachers and their families as well as the local communities and their economy,” said Bedford. “The school year calendar should not be changed.”
MTS is currently involved in the stakeholder consultation on this proposal. No decision has been made.
See MTS Response and Position here
Are schools re-opening?
Under Phase 2 of the province’s Restoring Safe Services draft plan, schools can reopen for limited use. Because this plan is in draft form, there are no specific dates attached.
Do I have to return to school on June 1?
Since schools are proposed to be opened on a limited basis, teachers can be asked to return. However, individual schools divisions determine when teachers will return. Divisions have the discretion to make accommodations, on a case by case basis, for those with issues around child care, living with a high risk individual, having health concerns and more.
Is it safe to return to school?
Schools must follow public health guidelines for use of school facilities to ensure the safety of all those involved. Some of the key guidelines include a cap on the number of children, use of separate exits, staggered drop off schedules, self screening at the start of each day using Shared Health’s online tool and following Child Care centre sanitation and infection prevention guidelines. Your employer will provide specific information for your individual school.
Will I have to wear PPE?
As of right now, there is no indication that teachers will be required to wear personal protective equipment. This is in line with the PPE requirements for childcare workers.
Is this a return to in-class learning?
No. Classroom learning will remain suspended for the remainder of the school year. The limited use of schools is for the purpose of student assessments, clinical supports, transition planning and specific programming as outlined in Limited Use of School Facilities. If there are any questions, please contact a MTS staff officer at 204-888-7961 or 1-800-262-8803 for clarification on role and expectations.
What about remote learning?
Remote learning continues but will wind down throughout June as student assessment and transition planning begins. Schools and school divisions will have discretion around the timing of this shift.
Is school starting on August 31?
The government has proposed additional teaching days for the upcoming school year by starting school on August 31, 2020 and re-purposing PD days as instructional days. This is a proposal. The government will be consulting with MTS, school divisions and other education stakeholders. No decision has been made.