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Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year

LRSD's plan for navigating the 2020-2021 school year

In preparing for the reopening of schools on September 8 and navigating the 2020-2021 school year, our priorities remain unchanged: the health, wellbeing and safety of our community and doing our part in the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Advice from the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer and Manitoba Education guides our planning and decisions.

I encourage our entire community of staff, students and parents/guardians to regularly check this webpage for updates related to LRSD's approach to navigating a 2020-2021 school year that is impacted by COVID-19.

In parallel to Manitoba's strategy to maximize health and mitigate risk proportionate to the level of COVID-19 infection in the community, LRSD's strategy will be to plan for a range of schooling scenarios to maximize health and mitigate risk proportionate to the level of COVID-19 infection in the community.

Over the last three months, we have been surveying what is currently known about re-opening schools safely during a pandemic to inform the strategies and protocols for the re-opening of our schools and navigating the 2020-2021 school year. This survey of current pandemic-related educational plans and protocols will be on-going.

We are living an unprecedented time of uncertainty related to a pandemic. Uncertainty generates worry and many questions. The following webpage provides up-to-date information related to LRSD's approach to navigating the upcoming school year. The approach is to co-create with staff, students and families safe, healthy pathways to successfully navigate 2020-2021.

Agility and creativeness have been the order of the day and will need to continue to characterize our approach.

The information builds on Manitoba's framework to resume in-class learning (released on Thursday, June 25) and LRSD's Re-Entry Plan for Limited Use of Schools in June, and is organized according to four areas of preparedness. 

Christian Michalik, Superintendent

Table of Contents

Introduction

School Attendance

School Calendar

Opening Day Conferences


Student and Family Preparedness
  1. Childcare and Before-and After-School Programs
  2. Modifying Behaviours that Mitigate the Risk 
  3. Student Screening and Self-Assessment 
  4. Reporting and Contact Tracing 
  5. Personal Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  6. Communication
  7. Safe and Healthy Pathways for a Return to School

Learning Preparedness
  1. Manitoba Education Recovery Learning Principles
  2. Gathering Baseline Information about Students
  3. Responding to the Needs of Students
  4. Planning for Recovery Learning is Not New
  5. Planning Structures
  6. Planning Support

School Staff Preparedness
  1. Modifying Behaviours That Mitigate Risk
  2. Staff Screening and Self-Assessment
  3. Reporting and Contact Tracing
  4. Personal Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette
  5. Safety-Related Adaptations to Teaching and Learning
  6. Professional Learning
  7. Communication


Introduction

In July and August 2020, LRSD's senior leadership team (SLT) will continue to refine the plan for the reopening of schools in September and update the information on this page. Staff will return to schools on September 2 to review the information and expectations on this page and to finalize their school's preparedness plan.

Our 'new reality' is such that a constant assessment of risk and public health measures to mitigate risk will continue until we arrive at a post-pandemic reality and a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 is available. 

In the first six weeks, school staff will make it a priority to co-create with students and families safe and healthy pathways to successfully navigate the 2020-2021 school year in relation to the pandemic. 

Staff should refer to a recent publication coauthored by The Learning Team  Recovery Learning in LRSD: Planning for Student Success Upon the Return to School. The document articulates some initial planning considerations for school leaders and teachers.

Well-being and learning are intricately linked. A positive sense of identity and self-efficaciousness leads to more engaged and productive learning. Engaging in carefully designed and relevant learning leads to increased wellbeing and resilience. This symbiotic relationship is at the heart of our Multi-Year Strategic Plan (MYSP) and our strategy to navigate the pandemic.    

Manitoba Education's framework to resume in-class learning in 2020-2021 identifies three re-opening scenarios:

Scenario 1
  • In-class learning resumes for all; near normal with public health measures

Scenario 2
  • In-class learning resumes with additional public health measures.
    • In-class learning resumes, five days per week, for students in K-8, students with special needs (all grades) and students who require additional supports
    • Schools may increase in-class learning for Grades 9-12 to five days per week if they can maintain physical distancing and limit interaction between different groups of students. 
    • If not, Grades 9-12 will participate in blended in-class and remote learning, with a minimum of two days in class per week.

Scenario 3
  • Limited Use of Schools (Implemented June 1, 2020)
    • In-class learning is suspended. 
    • Teacher-led remote learning for all K-12 students.

The province will confirm which scenario will be followed in the fall on or before August 1, 2020. 

Schools will need to be prepared to roll-back in-class learning based on public health advice.

All scenarios need to support continued learning and wellbeing during the pandemic. 

In July and August, the SLT will continue to comprehensively plan for Scenario 2 and refine our approach in Scenario 3 as outlined in the provincial framework

Scenario 1 would have September 2020 looking more like September 2019 with in-class learning resuming in a 'near normal' situation still requiring some public health measures.

One important exercise this June has been a thorough audit of spaces in all 40 schools that accounts for adequate 'distancing' and 'cohorting' of students and staff in schools as outlined in Scenario 2

These two requirements compel us to reimagine how schools are organized so that smaller learning cohorts of students can be accommodated. 

The overcrowding in several of our schools and the class-size in all our schools will further complicate our efforts to accommodate 'distancing' and 'cohorting' of students and staff in many of our schools.

These two concepts will also require us to reimagine several 'realities':

  • the use of all spaces in relationship to smaller learning cohorts of students 
  • teachers and educational assistants in relationship to smaller learning cohorts of students
  • the design and delivery of curricula in relationship to 'blended learning'
  • the relationship of scheduling and timetabling in relationship to 'cohorting' and 'blended learning'


We use the word 'cohort' rather than 'classroom' purposely. In Scenarios 2 and 3 of Manitoba's framework to resume in-class learning, one of our 'new realities' will be to manage the circulation and mixing of students outside of their small learning cohort and to consider all available spaces for these small learning cohorts when they come together in a school. 

Given the overcrowding in many of our schools (several of our French Immersion Schools), the temporary relocation of some of these smaller learning cohorts to other schools and community buildings will be necessary in order to safely accommodate the greatest number of students.  

Creating and nurturing a sense of community for each of these cohorts in September will be essential to ensure that students and staff thrive in 2020-2021, no matter the scenario we find ourselves implementing when classes resume.


School Attendance

Unless an underlying health condition prevents a student from being at school, regular attendance is mandatory. 

Similarly, barring exceptional circumstances, students are expected to engage fully in remote learning.


School Calendar

Manitoba Education has communicated the following:
 
The school calendar will have three additional days added prior to the Labour Day weekend, meaning the school year will start Wednesday, September 2, 2020 for teachers and staff. 

Students will return to class on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

September 2, 3 and 4, 2020 will be mandated non-instructional days, one of which will be considered as an administration day and two as professional development days. Schools are to use this time to prepare physical spaces, educate staff on public health protocols, and engage collaboratively on approaches to recovery learning.

School divisions will schedule the seven remaining non-instructional days.

All professional development days should be focused on COVID-19-related priorities and response, including the province-wide professional development day on October23, 2020.

Non-instructional Days in LRSD for 2020-2021

  1. Wednesday, September 2, 2020
  2. Thursday, September 3, 2020 
  3. Friday, September 4, 2020
  4. Friday, October 23, 2020
  5. Friday, November 20, 2020
  6. Friday, March 19, 2021 
  7. Friday, April 16, 2021
  8. Friday, May 7, 2021

In order to accommodate a range of reporting dates related to student progress evaluations in 40 school communities, schools will schedule the two remaining non-instructional dates and communicate them to families and their liaise assistant superintendent by July 10, 2020 at the latest.

Winter Break

Last Day of School: Friday, December 18, 2020
School Re-opens: Monday, January 4, 2021

Spring Break

Last Day of School: Friday, March 26, 2021
School Re-opens: Monday, April 5, 2021

Last day of school in 2020-2021

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Opening Day Conferences

Rather than Opening Day Conferences, students, staff and parents/guardians, in grades K-12, can anticipate staggered entries into schools in order to best prepare to navigate our "new reality". The week of August 31, schools will communicate the schedule of staggered entries to start on September 8.

Provincial Assessments 

An update from Manitoba Education on the provincial tests and assessments schedule for the 2020-2021 school year: 

Grade 3 and 4 Assessment and Middle Years Assessment

The provincial data collection associated with the Grade 3 Assessment in Reading, Lecture and Numeracy and Grade 4 Assessment in French Immersion Lecture, as well as the Middle Years Assessment of Key Competencies in Mathematics, Reading Comprehension, Expository Writing, and Student Engagement will be suspended for the 2020-2021 school year. 

Schools and school divisions are encouraged to continue to use the assessments as one of many tools to help identify students' strengths and needs in key competency areas in order to guide instructional planning. 

Grade 12 Tests
A decision regarding the status of the Grade 12 provincial tests will be made as more information becomes available regarding the return to school in the fall. 

Institutional Preparedness

As mandated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools, LRSD shall ensure institutional preparedness by:

  • Preparing school facilities to accommodate physical distancing, including increased sanitation, hand hygiene and other public health provisions. 
  • Following the guidelines for re-opening school facilities. These will be updated regularly to reflect new public health orders and guidance
  • Posting information about physical distancing, cleaning, and other public health measures to help schools prepare for in-class learning.
  • Planning for adjustments to transportation routes and schedules for all stages of re-opening, including asking parents to transport their own children where possible.

The following paragraphs detail specific measures that LRSD will implement to achieve these goals.

Health and Safety of our Community

According to Manitoba Education, "current evidence indicates that staff and students can return to school while protecting individual health and minimizing risks from a public health perspective."

As schools plan for the return of staff and students, a balanced focus on maximizing people's health and wellbeing while mitigating risk is our paramount goal.

Contact Tracing

If a student or staff member reports that they have received a positive test for COVID-19:
  • The principal will immediately advise their liaise assistant superintendent.
  • The liaise assistant superintendent will advise assistant superintendent Marlene Murray.
  • Assistant superintendent Marlene Murray will contact public health officials, seek advice, and collaborate with divisional and school colleagues to implement the recommendations of public health officials.

To facilitate contact tracing, schools must:
  • record student attendance in school and on buses regularly and accurately 
  • maintain a log of all visitors and itinerant employees that access the building
  • keep groups of students (regular classes in scenario 1 and smaller cohorts in scenario 2) together and avoid interactions between groups - If there is a case of infection in a school, this practice can help with contact tracing, but also limit potential exposures and drastically reduce the potential number of exposed staff and students.

Upon request by public health officials, schools will provide contact information for other students or staff who would be considered "close contacts" of the individual that received a positive test result. Public health officials are responsible for communicating with "close contacts" and for advising the wider school community. Schools must not communicate such information without specific direction from their liaise assistant superintendent and public health officials.

Safety and Health Protocols

 LRSD has developed Safe Work procedures to ensure the safety and health of staff, students, and other community members that access divisional facilities. These procedures are continually reassessed and revised in light of public health orders and guidance. Staff must ensure that they are aware of the most current Safe Work procedures and that they implement them faithfully. 


All Safe Work Procedures can be accessed by staff in the Workplace Safety and Health portal. Current procedures related to COVID-19 include:

Mental Health and Wellbeing

LRSD has a rich history and capacity in the systemic promotion of mental health and wellbeing. The current pandemic inspires us to draw upon this prior learning and bring it to the forefront in our planning.

Mental Health Promotion 

Comprehensive School Health is an internationally recognized approach to supporting improvements in students' educational outcomes while addressing school health in a planned, integrated and holistic way.  

LRSD schools have Mental Health Promotion Teams that have been trained in Comprehensive School Health to engage in Mental Health promotion planning.  These teams will be helpful to promote positive mental health in schools upon re-opening. 

Mental Health Promotion is about creating environments that promote and sustain positive mental health for everyone. Activities, supports and learning opportunities are designed to enhance protective factors and minimize risk factors. Schools are an ideal setting in which to promote mental health for children and youth, providing an opportunity to reach large groups of children during their formative years of cognitive, emotional and behavioural development. 

Mental Health Promotion in schools focuses on enhancing protective factors that contribute to the social and emotional growth of children and youth and decreasing the risk factors that impede psychosocial development. 

6 Ways to Wellbeing

LRSD and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority promote the "6 Ways to Wellbeing" as a helpful way to help students, families and staff engage in thinking and activities to support their wellbeing.
  • be active
  • be positive
  • be social 
  • be curious
  • be purposeful
  • be mindful


Please see the document Supporting Wellbeing and Wellbecoming in LRSD for more information to promote a common understanding of our collaborative learning regarding mental health and wellbeing.

Well-being and Resilience: Clinical Recommendations to Support Transitions to School Re-opening in 2020-2021

After a significant and lengthy disruption to students attending school, the transition to a return to school and a "new normal" for schooling during the pandemic will be a significant transition for all students and staff.  The LRSD Clinical Team has developed a support document based upon the Circle of Courage to assist staff in understanding potential challenges for students and the planning required to promote student and staff resilience. 

The document provides:
  • Awareness of the impact of this pandemic on all students and families
  • Understanding of possible struggles students may experience upon a return to school
  • Strategies to mitigate the impact on wellbeing of the pandemic and support resilience and wellbeing for the transition back to school

Re-Opening and Schooling Scenarios

The Manitoba Education framework identifies three re-opening scenarios:

  1. In-class learning resumes for all; near normal with public health measures.
  2. In-class learning resumes with additional public health measures.
  3. Limited Use of Schools (Implemented June 1, 2020)

The province will confirm which scenario will be followed in the fall on or before August 1, 2020. Schools will also need to be prepared to roll-back in-class learning based on public health advice.

Navigating the pandemic and its uncertainties in the 2020-2021 school year will require us to reimagine many of our practices and conceptualizations from timetabling and the use of space to curriculum and its delivery.

LRSD applauds Manitoba Education efforts to prioritize in-class learning in 2020-2021. The province recognizes that our public schools are essential "to the mental health and well-being of children. Planning should focus on returning as many students to in-class learning as possible while following public health advice and subject to available physical space and resources." 

Manitoba Education has made full-time in-class learning a priority for "students in K-8, students with special needs (all grades), and students who require additional supports who benefit from face-to-face interaction with educators and who may have difficulties navigating remote learning independently. Their return to school also provides parents and caregivers with a greater ability to return to work."

Rethinking Spaces in Schools

Manitoba Education has explicitly stated that resuming in-class learning still requires a level of physical distancing:
  • Schools will need to implement strategies to avoid crowding in hallways, entrances and other non-instructional spaces. 
  • Schools will need to limit nonessential visitors and stagger drop-offs, pick-ups, class times and breaks to the greatest extent possible. 
  • Schools will not schedule assemblies and gatherings that exceed public health advice.

Manitoba Education recommends keeping groups of students together (cohorting), and preventing circulation and exposure between cohorts where possible, to limit exposure to and spread of COVID-19 while pandemic restrictions are in effect. 

Cohorting is recommended but not required if two metre spacing between students is possible.

The extent to which cohorting will occur will depend on available space, age of students, and students' developmental ability to follow safety protocols school configurations and staffing requirements.
 
We are planning to meet the requirements for physical distancing and cohorting of students by analyzing and implementing the completed space audit of schools to determine how appropriately sized cohorts of students can be spread out across a school's footprint and in some instances require satellite locations in other school and buildings.

Rethinking Learning and Teaching

The three scenarios will require us to reimagine teachers and educational assistants in relationship to smaller learning 'cohorts' of students and a holistic approach to learning and teaching. 

Some staff assignments will need to change temporarily. 

In all grades, K-12, our focus should continue to strengthen student-centred instructional practices that advance deeper-learning (play-based in the early years, project-based in middle and senior years).

To ensure all 3 schooling scenarios are successful, now, more than ever, we need to co-create and co-articulate a K-12 learning journey that values relevance and creativity as much as rigour and accountability.

Manitoba Education makes explicit that 2020-2021 will require school systems to continue to refine their 'Blended Learning' strategy. 
  • Teacher-directed remote learning will be an essential component of K-12 education throughout the pandemic.
  • Asynchronous (working independently on their own) and synchronous (working with a teacher in real-time) options will need to be refined. 
  • Remote and blended in-class and remote learning plans may need to be implemented on short notice.
  • Remote learning plans will also need to be developed for students with underlying health conditions that prohibit them from returning to in-class learning (before broad access to a vaccine) and students in 14-day quarantine or isolation. 

LRSD will continue to

  • monitor students that require support to obtain access to devices and the Internet 
  • enhance staff access to technology (devices, software and systems) to ensure the ongoing development of its 'blended learning strategy'
  • refine its 'blended learning strategy' (see Bridging the distance: Remote learning best practices and the LRSD) by meaningfully engaging staff, students and parents/guardians to
    • co-create the strategy
    • develop their technical proficiency and capacities

Online and Technology Capacity

LRSD will continue to leverage technology (Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams) to support teaching and learning for all three of the planning scenarios. Since the beginning of the pandemic our priorities have been:
  • Ensuring students have access to the internet and laptops. 
    • 1,700 laptops have been distributed for home use
  • Offering professional development for teachers to transition to an online teaching environment
    • Over 150 professional development sessions have been offered
    • Over 700 teachers have taken part in online professional learning regarding the use of technology to support online learning
    • LRSD offers an EdTech mentorship program that allows teachers to collaborate with a mentor colleague.  
    • Technology and its use to support distance learning will continue in the 2020/2021 school year for our teachers.
  • Enhancing technology in the classroom for staff and students
    • LRSD is continuing to enhance the availability of technology for both teachers and students as well as looking for new technologies to assist in teaching and learning in our schools.

Microsoft Teams has become an invaluable tool for teachers to communicate with their students and to organize their daily lessons. Since March, the use of Teams in LRSD has increased by more than 20,000 per cent!  Here are some other interesting stats from March 23 to June 20:
  • More than 115,000 online teacher/student meetings have been organized 
  • More than 122,000 1 to 1 calls have taken place
  • More than 31,000 group calls have taken place
  • Almost 500,000 channel messages have been posted
  • Almost 5,000,000 chat messages have been made

Student Transportation

On June 25, Manitoba Education released Guidelines for Transportation to Schools for the 2020-21 school year. 

LRSD is working diligently on the student transportation plan. 

School bus transportation to and from the school is an integral part of the plan.  Based on the June 25, 2020 guidelines, the school buses will be operating at 50 per cent capacity or less due to physical distancing requirements. In order to meet the needs of approximately 3,000 students who get to school on one of our busses, we will need the support of families to find alternative means of transportation in 2020-2021.  

We are currently considering a range of temporary options to reduce the number of students on busses. Some of our thoughts include the following:
  • Not providing bussing for students entering kindergarten. The majority attend school for only part of the day and do not represent a significant percentage of our daily ridership.
  • Restricting our Fee-for-Service school bus transportation.
  • Not offering divisionally funded school bus transportation (for example: grades 7 and 8 students from the Sage Creek community to Collège Béliveau and Windsor Park Collegiate, band program transportation from Ecole Varennes to Ecole Marie-Anne-Gaboury, etc.)
  • Extending the minimum walk zone boundary from 1.6 kilometres to either 2.0 or 2.5 kilometres. Students living outside the walk zone boundary will be eligible for school bus transportation.

In order to better assess the needs of our transported students, parents served by our transportation department will receive important correspondence and a request to fill out a brief survey in early July. We understand that any decision to reduce our regular ridership will impact many families, but our goal is to ensure school bus transportation is provided to those students who have no other means of getting to and from their school.  

Student Services and Clinical Services

Student Services and Clinical Services staff are also preparing for a 'new reality' in 2020-2021 school year that may include smaller student cohorts, remote learning, ongoing disruptions to on-site learning due to student health and pandemic restrictions, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other changes required to adapt to pandemic restriction requirements. 

LRSD Schools regularly engage in student-specific, classroom and school-level student services planning. LRSD will strive to support students with additional needs in school settings where and when possible.  

It is expected there may be an ongoing need for some remote learning due to possible changes in provincial public health restrictions or more frequent student health barriers to onsite learning.  During pandemic restrictions, which may increase or decrease quickly, school student services and clinical teams will need to navigate various contexts for student support including small cohorts onsite and remote learning. It will be important that student-specific planning include continual capacity building for remote learning and use of technology for communication and learning where possible, to mitigate disruptions in learning when students are not able to attend school.  Please see important additional information from Manitoba Education: Resources Supporting Students with Special Needs.

Priorities
  • Wellbeing of students, families and staff
  • A focus on equity for our most vulnerable students
  • Maintaining connections between school staff and students

 Guidelines
  • Student specific resources/ supports and services can be effectively provided remotely if necessary
  • We will continue with our service delivery models as is possible. However, ongoing capacity building (identification and preparation) for remote and small cohort learning opportunities will be important.
  • Remote learning comes in many forms and is not always online learning
  • Engagement and dialogue with families is key 
  • Schools and families have local contexts that they must navigate
  • Planning and time for planning are key
  • We will adopt a Growth Mindset: we are in a novel situation and we will learn and improve service delivery.

Issues Requiring Additional Planning During Pandemic Restrictions
  • Staff and student physical and mental health
  • Student transition planning
  • Planning for students unable to follow physical distancing requirements
  • Designing cohorts where students with greatest needs have the greatest access to necessary professional staff and spaces
  • Reducing staff and student circulation in schools
  • Ongoing Remote learning 
  • Special needs transportation
  • Home situation and family/childcare availability
  • Equipment and space sharing and cleaning
  • Appropriate understanding, use, care, and disposal of PPE 

Guidance for School Administration
  • Principals are responsible to lead and organize the school Student Services Support Team.
  • Review Manitoba Education's Covid-19: Resources Supporting Students with Special Needs with Student Services Teams.
  • Activate the school's Mental Health Promotion Team and support their planning for comprehensive school health and well-being.
  • Arrange Student Services School Support Team Meetings 
    • Confirm scheduled meetings and provide options for MS Teams participation.
    • Ask a representative of the clinical team for your school to propose dates the clinical team is available to ease scheduling challenges.
    • Invite Clinical Supervisors and the Director to your School Support Team Meetings (for information only unless you are requesting their support in advance).
    • Provide information to team members in advance where possible to make meetings more efficient.
  • Use and collect data to identify Students in-risk due to pandemic or family circumstances (access to technology, requiring 'Student Specific Planning', well-being, loss of contact with student/family, etc.).
  • Update class profiles and student-specific planning to include remote learning and physical distancing requirements as necessary.
  • Prepare transition planning, intakes, and cohort configurations for 2020-2021 year.
  • Plan ongoing necessary training for staff to work safely with students including:
 
Important Tasks During Pandemic Disruptions
  • Review and assign case management to staff
  • Ensure early connection with parents/guardians is established to create an ongoing communication plan (as per earlier guidelines)
  • Review Clevr forms, Class Profiles, Support Intensity Scale data with teachers and identify students requiring new student-specific planning in the current context 
  • Confirm meeting dates with the School Support Team as soon as possible and invite Director of Student and Clinical Services and Clinical Supervisors
  • Have general resources for parents prepared in advance specific to their child's needs
  • Case Manager arranges virtual Student Specific planning meetings for students to establish educational continuance goals and planning with parents and school teams.
  • Prepare resources/supports and arrange services/connections to support students with tier 2 and tier 3 programming
  • Re-evaluate transportation plans and supports as necessary

Communication
  • It is essential to connect with parents/guardians to understand their circumstances and needs, to establish a communication plan, and share information to inform student-specific planning whether at school or at home.
  • We need to provide notice to families regarding specific tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 supports that student services will provide to their children remotely if necessary.
  • Arrange regular, ongoing check-ins with families (phone, email, online tools, etc.)
  • Use check-ins to discuss resources, supports and services, prioritize learning needs, problem-solve learning and behavioural issues at home, and customize the daily schedule for students
  • Help to overcome individual obstacles to accessing materials and resources
  • Scheduled times with students and families is recommended
  • Consider office hours and staff accessibility
  • Specific hours in the day parents can sign-up for ahead of time and touch base with a specific person at the school 

Guiding Student Services Teacher Service Delivery During Remote Learning
  • Co-plan inclusive, developmentally appropriate learning activities with teachers and develop learning resources for parents/students
  • Provide student-specific planning support for teachers and families
  • Support student-specific planning implementation 
  • Support outreach for students in-risk and struggling to engage in remote learning easily
  • Support understanding of each child's remote learning environment and current considerations for student-specific plans Support teachers in the identification of students' learning recovery needs upon return to school.
 
Domains of Remote Service Delivery (where necessary)
  • Providing Supports and Resources for remote learning activities
  • Providing remote instruction and services (small group and individualized)

Student Specific Plans
  • Learning should be enjoyable and promote relationship, communication and wellbeing
  • Student specific goals must consider new learning environments and supports available
  • Consider greater use of outdoor spaces
  • Move from student-specific programming to cohorts of students with common needs where possible to reduce social isolation and staff circulation/distribution of resources and needs for spaces.  Inclusion must be meaningful and purposeful, not merely physical/social.
  • Assets and resources available to students will vary
  • Co-planning and co-constructing using a team approach with parents/guardians and older students is even more essential
  • Whether curricular or student-specific, goals should be developmentally appropriate and relevant and appropriate for onsite or remote learning contexts
  • Focus on making curriculum learning accessible (accommodation, adaptation, modification if the student is eligible)
 
The Role of Support Staff Working with Students During Pandemic Restrictions in LRSD

LRSD recognizes the value of its support staff and their contributions in supporting the inclusion of all students in our community schools. During the pandemic period, the learning environment has changed to include remote learning and learning in schools in smaller cohorts with public health restrictions. As a result, the context and possibilities for meaningful work for support staff working with students have changed. 

LRSD Support Staff will play an important role in supporting the transition of students back to schools and greater supervision responsibilities as we work to organize students into smaller cohorts needed to respect physical distancing requirements. Support staff who work with students will experience changes in expectations and assignments as required to supervise and support students in their cohorts.  

However, the distinctions between the roles and responsibilities of support staff and professional staff have not changed. The norms for roles and responsibilities, and the requirement for professional staff to plan for and assess learning, provide initial instruction to students and support staff, and to schedule and manage communication between staff, students and parents/guardians, remains in effect. For clarity on roles and responsibilities please see the document Educational Assistants in Manitoba Schools

The following applies to engaging support staff in work with students:
  • Support staff may have increased responsibility for supervision and support of student learning planned by professional staff.
  • Remote student engagement is to be scheduled and supervised by the teacher/supervisor in Outlook/Skype/MS Teams in collaboration and as planned with students, staff and parents/guardians.
  • It will be understood that professional staff will join and supervise/participate in the remote or onsite learning activities with a frequency and duration as they deem appropriate and necessary depending upon the learning task, the staff/student relationship and familiarity with each other, the learning task, and other factors which may require more direct support. 
  • Professional staff will be available to support as needed 
  • Support staff will communicate student progress or other feedback to supervising professional staff daily and not to parents/guardians
  • Only professional staff will communicate with parents regarding students as per normal protocols.
 
During any future class suspension period, the assignment of meaningful work for support staff will be directed by school administration and will support our current Student Support Services priorities. Meaningful work includes the following:
  • support home learning by assisting with check-ins and maintaining connections
  • offer supplemental support and encouragement to students as staff are capable and trained to do.
  • follow-up and reinforce instruction provided by teachers
  • support clinical services programming as directed by clinicians (tier 3 only by Rehabilitation Assistants, Child and Youth Care Workers)
  • support reading/speaking activities (especially in 2nd language programming)
  • review social stories and assist with transition activities
  • help prepare resources, supplies, and care packages for students
  • support learning resource creation guided by teachers (e.g. .ppt, videos, print resources, visual schedules)
  • engage in other normal duties to support professional staff and students as assigned

Please refer any questions to the Director of Student and Clinical Services or Assistant Superintendent of People Services.

Childcare and Before- and After-School programs

Louis Riel School Division and its Early Learning and Childcare partners have intentionally worked together to develop a strong planning partnership by building a bridge between the two systems to support a seamless transition for young children as they move from childcare to school. 

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic did not put our collaboration on hold. The Louis Riel School Division and Early Learning and Child Care partnership has continued and has been paramount to ensuring a safe and consistent approach to opening spaces for children in childcare centres located in the division.

The ongoing collaboration helped support the transition from the closure of childcare services to providing childcare for essential workers to expanding accommodation for all workers and, finally, to opening childcare centres at full capacity, all while adhering to public health safety guidelines. This will continue as we collectively navigate responsively to Public Health mandates during COVID-19. 

More information on childcare spaces.

Reviewing Emergency Preparedness

At the beginning of each school year, principals conduct a review of their school-specific emergency response plan (see Policy EBCA – Emergency Preparedness Plan). At this point, public health orders do not require physical distancing requirements to be respected during evacuations or lockdowns. The need for emergency procedures to be expedient, effective, and consistent outweighs the risk that COVID-19 would pose during these situations. That said, students should be encouraged to respect physical distancing once they have arrived at the muster point.

Board Meetings

The Louis Riel School Board will continue to meet regularly throughout 2020-2021 (see schedule). Should a public health order restrict physical gatherings, meetings will occur via electronic means. Public participation is welcome, with advance registration required. 

Divisional Direction

The Louis Riel School Division remains firmly committed to its Vision, Mission and Values, its Multi-Year Strategic Plan, and its policies. By articulating LRSD's foundational principles, these documents provide clear direction. With all the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, such clear direction is even more important. The Division calls on all members of the school community – staff, students, and parents/guardians – to keep these documents top of mind as they engage in their daily work in 2020-2021 and beyond. 

Facility Use Permits

Permits for evening and weekend facility use are suspended until further notice. The suspension will accommodate increased cleaning requirements and afford schools greater flexibility to repurpose gyms and multipurpose rooms for other types of instruction.

Managing New Registrations

Mobility is a part of life for many families in Canada, and while there has been less mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic, some families will still choose to relocate for better housing, work opportunities, and many other reasons. We can expect that families will continue to relocate within the city of Winnipeg, between cities and provinces across Canada, and internationally. Furthermore, relocation will continue to happen throughout the school year, meaning that students new to our Division can arrive at any time. 

To guide the safe and successful welcoming and registration of new students, the following guidelines apply:
  • Families new to LRSD must contact the school by phone or email to arrange a registration appointment. Families who are uncertain of which school to contact can use the online LRSD School Finder or contact the Board Office for assistance. 
  • The school will arrange an appropriate time and mechanism for registering new students (in-person, online, or other).
  • If the family is relocating from a region that warrants a mandatory quarantine or isolation period, they may be asked to verify their travel dates, and quarantine dates and plans. New registrations will only occur after any mandatory quarantine or isolation period has been completed.
  • Scheduling and timetabling of new students may require additional time to comply with distancing and cohort limitations. Families will be advised that this may take several weeks or more. 

Out-of-Province Student and Staff Travel

All out-of-province student travel is suspended for the remainder of the 2020 calendar year. A similar suspension of any LRSD-related staff travel is likewise in place. The travel ban will be reviewed no later than September 30, 2020, regarding any trips intended for the period from January 2021 to June 2021.  

The rationale for the suspension of travel is as follows: 
  • The obvious concern for student and staff safety and wellbeing.
  • Continued uncertainty about predicting the spread, impact, and potential second wave occurrences of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Travel restrictions and quarantine requirements vary across regions and countries. 
  • Significant and unpredictable insurance issues regarding both medical and liability insurance for travellers and the Division.
  • Unpredictable cost projections due to uncertainty regarding the availability and cost of transportation, variability of currencies and exchange rates.
  • Reducing the financial impact on families by cancelling trips with as much advance notice as possible.

International Student Program

Homestay Program

LRSD, through the Director of the International Student Program (ISP) and EAL, assumes legal custodianship of all international students who utilize our Homestay Program. However, LRSD and our homestay families will not be able to support mandatory self-quarantine or self-isolation requirements for international students. As a result, LRSD has suspended offering the Homestay Program to new international students until such time that federal and provincial health authorities remove all requirements for self-quarantine and self-isolation periods following any international and interprovincial travel. The Homestay Program will continue to be available to international students who began their studies in LRSD prior to the pandemic and who have remained in Winnipeg over the summer. 

Suspending the Homestay Program will result in many new international students not being able to come to Canada to study. For those students affected by this decision, the following is available:
  • Students can defer their registration until a later date.
  • Students can cancel without penalty.

Independent International Students

Many international students arrive as 'independent' students, meaning their parents have made private arrangements for custodianship and accommodations, often involving immediate or extended family members. For these students, their legal guardians and custodians would be responsible for any self-quarantine or self-isolation requirements that may be in place at the time of arrival.

When independent international students are anticipated to arrive, the following guidelines apply:
  • All travel plans and dates for independent international students must be submitted to the ISP office well in advance of travel to Winnipeg. 
  • A copy of the quarantine plan that the student will submit to Canada Border Services must also be provided to the ISP office. 
  • Upon arrival in Winnipeg, independent international students will be asked to confirm their arrival by calling or emailing the ISP office. 
  • Registration of independent international students in schools will not occur until after the student has completed all mandatory self-quarantine or self-isolation plans. These dates will be scheduled by the ISP office.
  • Scheduling and timetabling of new students may require additional time to comply with distancing and cohort limitations. Independent international students will be advised that this may take several weeks or more.  

Travel Restrictions and Denied Study Permits

Given current travel restrictions, the limited availability of international flights, and limited granting of study permits to international students, the Louis Riel School Division will offer the following to students who are unable to arrive in Canada for their intended program of study in LRSD:
  • Students can defer their registration until a later date.
  • Students can cancel without penalty. 

Online learning options will not be made available to international students who are unable to travel to Winnipeg. 

Staff Services

The following paragraphs present additional information on employee leaves and recent amendments to the Employment Standards Code – Bill 55, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Leaves

As a result of COVID-19 if an employee cannot work because they are providing compassionate care to a family member or they are needing to provide childcare due to school/daycare closures: 
  • An Employee is to submit an unpaid leave request stating their need to provide compassionate care/childcare due to the impact of COVID-19.
  • The employee will email in writing their unpaid request or submit a Leave Form to their administrator/supervisor who will forward the request to Lisa Aitken or Jennifer Hume (Clerical). 
  • The employee applies to the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). 
  • Unless further notified by the division, we anticipate staff will return to work for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  

If the employee is instructed to go into quarantine by Manitoba Health Links or self-isolates: 
  • Sick days will be used for absences, and "illness" is reported in AMS. 
  • When all sick days have been used or if no sick days are available, the employee will be placed on an unpaid sick leave. 
  • For long-term unpaid sick leave, employee should apply to CERB. 
  • Teachers only: if no available sick days, may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits.  

If the employee is home because of an ill partner or unwell children: 
  • Depending on the symptoms and situation related to the illness, the employee is to call Health Links and follow their directive. 
  • Family Leave should be used as defined in the Collective Agreement and reported in AMS. 
  • Pending the situation, sick days may be used for absences and reported in AMS. 
  • If all sick days have been used or if no sick days are available, the employee will be placed on an unpaid sick leave. 
  • For long-term unpaid sick leave, employee should apply to CERB. 
  • Teachers only: if no available sick days, may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

If the employee is ill: 
  • Depending on the symptoms related to the illness, employee is to call Health Links, and follow directive given by Health Links. 
  • Sick days are be used for absences, and illness reported in AMS. 
  • When all sick days have been used or if no sick days are available, employee will be placed on an unpaid sick leave. 
  • For long-term unpaid sick leave, employee should apply to CERB. 
  • Teachers only: if no available sick days, may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits.  

If administrator/supervisor is concerned an employee is ill, and/or their exposure to others:
  • Administrator/supervisor will send employee home. 
  • Depending on the symptoms related to the illness, employee is to call Health Links, and follow directive given by Health Links. 
  • Sick days should be used for absences, and illness reported in AMS. 
  • When all sick days have been used or there are no sick days available, the employee will be placed on an unpaid sick leave. 
  • For long-term unpaid sick leave, employee should apply to CERB. 
  • Teachers only: if no available sick days, may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

Refusal to work

If an employee whose assignment requires them to work at school/work location and they refuse to report to work because of an immune-compromised partner or child who cannot leave the home: 
  • The employee should contact Health Links and if they instruct the employee to stay home: 
  • Sick days should be used for absences, and illness reported in AMS. 
  • When all sick days have been used or there are no sick days available, the employee will be placed on an unpaid sick leave. 
  • For long-term unpaid sick leave, employee should apply to CERB. 
  • Teachers only: if no available sick days, may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

If an employee whose assignment requires them to work at school/work locations and refuses to report to work and stays home for reasons that have not been discussed or confirmed by Health Links: 
  • The employee should follow Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) process for refusal to work due to health/safety concern. Employee Right to Refusal Work Procedure 
 
Medical Notes

Bill 55, The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act has suspended the requirement of a physician's certificate or medical note for the following employee leaves: maternity; compassionate care; unpaid leave organ donation; critical illness; long-term serious injury or illness; public health emergency leave.


Student and Family Preparedness

As mandated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools, LRSD shall promote student and family preparedness by:
  • Identifying students with disabilities and those who are vulnerable to disengage from school, develop and implement strategies to re-engage them and prioritize these students for five days a week in-class learning, where possible.
  • Communicating expectations for in-class attendance and participation in remote learning.
    • Students are expected to attend in-class learning. If remote learning is included as part of their learning plan, students will be expected to participate.
    • Students who are unable to return to school due to personal or family health risks factors related to COVID-19 will be supported in remote learning.
  • Developing comprehensive strategies for regular communication with families to raise awareness of the health and safety measures implemented at the school
  • Ensuring the understanding that students may not attend school when sick or exhibiting symptoms of illness.
    • Refer to the online COVID-19 screening tool to develop materials.
    • Signal that in-class learning may be increased or suspended on short notice in response to changing public health advice

The following paragraphs detail specific measures that LRSD will implement to achieve these goals.

Modifying Behaviours that Mitigate the Risk 

There are many uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic that may cause us to feel stress. How long will the pandemic last? How long will I have to work from home? How long until I can return to school full time? Will I or my loved ones get sick?

We are not in control of the answers to these questions and spending too much time worrying about them may make us feel worse.  Some things that you CAN control daily:
  • Stay home if you show any cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle ache, headache, nausea, fatigue)
  • Wash hands regularly
  • Exercise every day
  • Spend time outside
  • Take time to focus on breathing
  • Treat others with kindness
  • Focus on schoolwork
  • Talk with friends or family members on the phone or online

Student Screening and Self-Assessment

Students must be in good health to attend school. Before leaving for school parents/guardians are to use the Manitoba COVID-19 Screening Tool, using the following guidelines:

  • If a student shows any cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle ache, headache, nausea, fatigue) they should remain at home.
  • If a person in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, or if anyone in the household has travelled out of the province, they are required to consult with Health Links prior to attending school and follow their directions.

Reporting and Contact Tracing

In the event of a student or member of the same household reports that they have received a positive test for COVID-19:
  • The parent/guardian will immediately advise the school principal.
  • The school and division will work with public health officials.

To facilitate contact tracing, schools will record attendance regularly and accurately. Upon request by public health officials, schools will provide contact information for other students or staff who would be considered "close contacts" of the individual that received a positive test result. Public health officials are responsible for communicating with "close contacts" and for advising the wider school community. Schools will not communicate such information without specific direction from their liaise assistant superintendent and public health officials.

Personal Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

  • Students will use hand sanitizer or wash their hands immediately upon entry into the school.
  • Students will be instructed to follow all floor signage such as directional arrows or physical distancing spacing at all times within the school building.
  • Personal hygiene practices that minimize the risk of virus transmission must be followed at all times. These include:
    • covering the mouth and nose during coughing or sneezing with a tissue or a flexed elbow
    • immediately disposing of used tissues in a garbage container
    • washing hands frequently, particularly after coughing or sneezing without a tissue, touching frequently used surfaces such as door handles or taps as well as before and after eating
    • avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth

  • Cleaning and sanitizing of shared spaces will be a priority in LRSD schools and facilities. Washrooms will be cleaned on a regular basis according to health and safety guidelines.

Communication

Since the onset of the pandemic, LRSD has gathered feedback by surveying stakeholders including:
  • Teachers/Support Staff regarding barriers impacting their work
  • Parent survey regarding the remote learning experience
  • School leaders regarding student and staff engagement
  • School contact with each family to assess needs

Our divisional website will continue to provide the most up to date and comprehensive information for students and families. Regular email and social media updates will also be provided.

LRSD will continue to engage all stakeholders as we approach a return to schools in the fall to share up-to-date plans and procedures for re-entry and gather feedback from all employee groups and various provincial organizations to support the safe return to school.

Safe and Healthy Pathways for a Return to School

The LRSD Mission is to provide a safe, inclusive, and engaging environment, where personal and collective learning are valued and each one of us reaches our full potential. 

During the first six weeks of school, school teams will connect with students and families to create safe and healthy pathways for a return to school. These conversations support the work of the Multi-Year Strategic Plan by:
  • Knowing and valuing the story of each learner, family, and community
  • Ensuring every learner sees a place for themselves in classrooms, schools, and LRSD
  • Developing systemic approaches to promoting and supporting our students' health, wellbeing and well becoming.
  • Ensuring all learners feel valued and contribute their voice and agency
  • Creating a collaborative learning culture where all members of the LRSD community feel safe to take risks, share successes and failures, and learn together 

Fullan and colleagues remind us to be mindful of wellbeing and not to underestimate the effects of the disruption on students, families, and staff members. Change affects everyone differently. Consider these realities when welcoming families back to school:

  • Each of us has been affected in unknown ways. This self-awareness will come at different times for different people and will manifest itself differently for each of us.
  • Assume people are not their best selves right now. Temper your expectations with empathy and patience
  • We won't know what people need, until we ask them. Even then, they may not understand what they need. Know that one size does not fit all.
  • The situation will continue to be dynamic and so are the people we serve; their wellbeing is not in a fixed state. 

Manitoba Education reminds us that "Dialogue between the previous year's teacher(s) and the current teacher(s) will aid in transition planning". Families may add insights about the student's experiences with remote learning. Schools need to ensure that there are sufficient supports in place to facilitate this dialogue, as well as joint planning among colleagues, parents, and students.

Fullan and colleagues recommend that staff members "promote a safe and healthy transition back to school by:

  • Fostering connection and conversation to find out what families perceive as potential barriers to a return to school
  • Re-creating norms that will allow students to feel psychologically safe in an optimistic and efficacious learning environment;
  • Promoting health and mitigating risk through the interactive modelling of personal safety protocols (physical distancing and handwashing);
  • Inviting each student's perspective by asking open questions so that each student feels connected to the learning community;
  • Inquiring about each student's learning and engagement during the time of remote learning."

School teams will develop a process to ensure that each student's wellbeing remains a focus during the first six weeks of school and beyond. Providing trauma-informed learning for staff, parents and students will enable everyone in the school community to recognize and respond mindfully during this unusual situation. Further conversations will take place amongst school teams in August regarding possible implementation strategies.

School based strategies will include:
  • Appointing a caring adult to build a relationship for students known to be vulnerable;
  • Identifying a key point of contact for every student/family;
  • Connecting with each student and family, as during the period of remote learning;
  • Adhering to public health directives. 

All teaching staff must be actively engaged in supporting learners and parents/guardians' return to school. Schools may want to create a video to share with families to introduce them to the protocols and safety routines specific to their school.

As we create safe and healthy pathways during this unique transition, open dialogue between parents/guardians and teachers is more critical than ever. Positive relationships enhance student achievement and parent engagement. During the transition back to school, it is important for:
  • parents/guardians to share information about their children;
  • learners to share information about themselves;
  • teachers to offer a process that encourages goal setting and to respond to any questions about their expectations for learners.

Fullan and colleagues remind us that:
Learners will not learn when they are uncomfortable or contribute when they are self-conscious. As we know, "Emotion is the gatekeeper of motivation, cognition and attention." Therefore, establishing an environment that focuses on wellbeing and belonging for all is job one for teachers. In short, wellbeing and quality learning are intimately related.

By nurturing safe and healthy pathways, school teams demonstrate their genuine care for students and families and create the conditions necessary for academic and personal growth.

Learning Preparedness

As mandated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools, LRSD shall ensure learning preparedness by:
  • Planning for recovery learning.
  • Developing action plans to address students' recovery learning needs identified in the June 2020 report card and referring to the Recovery Learning Guidelines to inform this planning.
  • Adapting schedules to facilitate levels of physical distancing (outdoor classrooms, frequent and staggered hand-washing breaks, staggered recesses and lunch breaks, physical distancing measures in place in classrooms and bathrooms).
  • Planning for blended in-class and remote learning models and referring to the list of learning resources for educators provided on the Manitoba Education website.

The following paragraphs detail specific measures that LRSD will implement to achieve these goals.

Manitoba Education Recovery Learning Principles

Manitoba Education has defined Recovery Learning as the "process to enable Manitoba students to transition back from remote learning to classroom learning in schools, while addressing their mental and physical wellbeing and academic success". Manitoba Education highlights the following principles for school teams to reference as we plan for students' return to school:
  • When in-class learning resumes, schools will plan for a period of reorientation to classroom routines, rebuilding community and relationships, and planning for instruction. In September 2020, educators will use their existing assessment processes, along with the information provided on recovery needs on the June 2020 report card.
  • Dialogue between the previous year's teacher(s) and the current teacher(s) will aid in transition planning. Families may add insights about the student's experiences with remote learning. Schools should ensure that there are sufficient supports in place to facilitate this dialogue, as well as joint planning among colleagues, parents, and students.
  • Recovery learning will differ according to the opportunities and constraints of the school year. Schools are encouraged to develop a flexible learning approach and allow the implementation of recovery learning to vary according to the needs of the students, the opportunities and constraints of the school schedule, and available resources (see the UNESCO COVID-19 Response Sector Brief: Prepare for School Reopening.)

Manitoba Education requires that the following considerations be incorporated into planning for the return to school:
  • School teams will need to review the diverse student and educator experiences that will have unfolded during the suspension of classes and intentionally address the mental wellbeing of the school community upon their return to school.
  • Students who are most at risk due to the disruption of their learning will require additional supports when classes resume so that they may reach their full learning potential within their grade level.       
  • Schools will need to plan for varying lengths of time, as well as diverse models and strategies for recovery learning, depending on student needs, grade levels, subject areas, and school contexts.
  • There may be additional waves of COVID-19 over the next 18 to 24 months, and recovery learning and alternate ways of addressing learning needs will be considered as part of this planning.

Gathering Baseline Information about Students

In a collaborative position paper between New Pedagogies for Deep Learning and Microsoft Education title "Education Reimagined: The Future of Learning", Michael Fullan and colleagues state that:

Teachers can ease the social pathway by:
  • facilitating connection and conversation
  • re-creating norms that will allow students to feel psychologically safe in an optimistic and efficacious learning environment
  • inviting each student's perspective by asking open questions so that each student feels connected to the learning community
  • providing trauma-informed learning for staff, parents and students, enabling everyone in the school community to recognize and respond mindfully during this unusual situation
  • appointing a caring adult to build a relationship for those students you know to be vulnerable 

Learners will not learn when they are uncomfortable or contribute when they are self-conscious. As we know, "Emotion is the gatekeeper of motivation, cognition and attention." Therefore, establishing an environment that focuses on wellbeing and belonging for all is job one for teachers. In short, wellbeing and quality learning are intimately related.

Assessment practices that prioritize emotional wellbeing is what is needed during school reopening. Some recommendations include:
  • Be cautious of using diagnostic quizzes and high stakes evaluation that will heighten the stress for some learners and therefore will not provide meaningful or accurate direction for the teacher
  • Consider formative, low-threat assessments-for-learning to reveal students' strengths and needs
  • Facilitate interviews that invite student and family perspectives. These richer strategies will engage student voices positively and uncover unanticipated insights

Responding to the Needs of Students

Establishing a safe return to school and the building of school and classroom communities alongside recovery learning is the primary focus of the first six weeks of school and may extend further as needed or even recur should subsequent waves of COVID-19 take place. School teams will leverage existing structures such as opening day conferences and class profiles to plan for both the socioemotional and academic needs of students.

If, as expected, recovery learning needs are greater this fall than in a typical year, these processes will be even more important than ever. A coordinated, collaborative, intentional and responsive approach to recovery learning will promote accelerated learning.

An important aspect of recovery learning that differs from a typical school year relates to mental health promotion and wellbeing. See the documents:

Strategies to support the mental health and wellbeing of students should be documented using the Class Profile template; in instances where needs are particularly complex, a student specific plan may be necessary.


School teams are encouraged to continue to focus on establishing the essential outcomes for each curricular area with baseline assessments and learning plans that fit individual, small group and whole class needs.
  • Teacher teams will establish essential outcomes and determine what all students must know, understand and be able to do as a result of each unit of instruction.
  • Teachers will develop and implement common assessments to monitor student learning of all essential outcomes. The Learning Team anticipates releasing support documents in this regard in the Fall of 2020.
  • Schools will structure the school day to allow for recovery and extension learning activities by all available staff and as a result of the various team structures put in place to respond to students' individual, small group and whole class learning needs.
  • Schools will plan for those students who require additional time and programming to meet the needs of their recovery learning plans. Intervention efforts will be monitored and adjusted, as needed, using a regular cycle of data collection and sharing.

Laura Lipton and Bruce Wellman have designed a well-researched process for structuring conversations centred on data (see Collaborative Learning Cycle presented in Got Data? Now What?: Creating and Leading Cultures of Inquiry, 2012; Printable reproducibles available here; English summary available here; French summary available here).

Printable reproducible resources available here.

Planning for Recovery Learning is Not New

Each year, students arrive in classrooms with varying abilities. To mitigate this reality and thus promote the success of each student, schools employ a number of valuable processes, notably:
  • referencing learning goals indicated on the final report card
  • holding transition meetings between the teachers of the current and previous years
  • holding Opening Day Conferences to learn more about students directly from families
  • conducting baseline assessments and addressing gaps in learning by re-teaching concepts before introducing new content
  • preparing class profiles to document Tier 1, 2 & 3 strategies

If the prospect of recovery learning seems daunting, don't stress – you're already doing it! It will just look a little different in 2020-2021.

Expecting that the extended period of remote learning will amplify learning gaps, the provincial government has formalized the reporting of recovery learning needs. To this end, the June report card will indicate whether recovery learning is required in specific subjects and what specific recovery learning needs exist.

In August 2020, teachers will have access to a report in Tyler that will indicate which students in their class have recovery learning needs in a particular subject:

Kindergarten    
Not applicable – EYE-DA results will inform transition planning

Grade 1
Literacy, Numeracy & Science

Grades 2-9
English Language Arts, French Language Arts, Math

Grades 10-12
English Language Arts, French Language Arts, Math, Science

To know more about the specific recovery learning needs of each student, teachers will:
  • refer to the June report card
  • communicate with last year's teacher, parents, and students
  • conduct baseline assessments

just as they have always done.

To promote student success, teachers will:
  •  adapt their teaching practices to meet the needs of their students
  • articulate clear learning targets
  • provide ongoing feedback
  • adjust learning targets or set new learning targets
  • ensure regular communication with students and their families
  • document strategies to support academic learning using the Class Profile template

just as they have always done.

Planning Structures

School teams may want to consider the team structures that they utilize to meet student needs to streamline the intervention and ensure a focused approach to addressing recovery learning needs with an expedited timeframe:
  • Same course or grade level teams
    • For example, all the math teachers who support a group of students or all of the grade 2 teachers in a school form a collaborative team to design baseline assessments and learning moves to address identified essential outcomes.
  • Vertical teams
    • Link teachers with those who teach content above or below their grade level to support differentiated responses to the range of recovery learning needs.
  • Electronic teams
    • Use remote technology platforms to create connections amongst teachers across Families of Schools and/or the division to cocreate learning plans for like students.
  • Interdisciplinary teams
    • Create cross curricular teams of teachers where the focus of planning is on a shared student; look for opportunities to address shortfalls in literacy
  • Logical links
    • Group teachers together based on similar focus (Could be cross grade, cross curricular, across schools, etc.). (see Whatever it Takes, R. Dufour, 2004)

Planning Support

To support the return of students to school, the Learning Team has produced Recovery Learning in LRSD: Planning for Student Success Upon the Return to School. The document proposes strategies to:
  • build a classroom community;
  • establish routines; and
  • assess baseline skills and knowledge in the areas of literacy and numeracy.

At each grade band, consideration for essential outcomes and powerful student-centred learning strategies are shared. Play-based, inquiry, and project-based teaching strategies are emphasized.

The document is not prescriptive and does not presume to have all the answers; however, it is hoped that teachers will use the structure as a planning tool, selecting sample strategies that work for their students and inserting others from their repertoire. It is for this reason that the document is being shared in both Word and .pdf formats.

The document promotes a framework that is familiar to LRSD teachers, namely The First Six Weeks of School from Responsive Classroom. With its emphasis on both academic and social emotional wellbeing, this framework aligns well with provincial expectations related to recovery learning. 

The Learning Team looks forward to supporting teacher teams as they collaborate to plan and implement recovery learning. Requests for assistance should be directed to your school principal.

School Staff Preparedness

As mandated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools, LRSD shall ensure staff preparedness and compliance with Public Health orders and guidelines in all our schools and workplaces by:
  • Orienting staff to new public health protocols that must be followed in the school, before resuming in-class learning. 
  • Including all staff in orientation, including bus drivers, custodial staff, etc. 
  • Providing orientation to volunteers, if they are on site in a limited way, to ensure they receive orientation when they begin. 
  • Using the online COVID-19 screening tool  to inform staff orientation.
  • Presenting information on self-monitoring, managing a suspected case of COVID-19, managing shared spaces, etc.
  • Identifying staff who may need to work at home due to underlying health concerns that make them more vulnerable to exposure to COVID-19, and making any necessary adjustments.
  • Planning for health and safety training that may be required, and also ensuring that professional learning focuses on COVID-19 pandemic priority areas, including recovery learning, collaborative planning, mental health and wellbeing and remote learning strategies.

The following paragraphs detail specific measures that LRSD will implement to achieve these goals.

Modifying Behaviours That Mitigate Risk

To ensure the safety of the work environment for all, staff will adhere to the safe work procedures and keep abreast of updated procedures and protocols.

In the event that a family member of the staff person in the same household reports that they have received a positive test for COVID-19:
  • The staff member will immediately advise their direct supervisor.
  • The school and division will work with public health officials.

Staff Screening and Self-Assessment

Staff members must be in good health to attend work. Before leaving for the worksite all staff are to use the Manitoba Health COVID-19 Screening Tool, using the following guidelines:
  • Any cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, muscle ache, headache, nausea, fatigue) they should remain at home.
  • If a person in the household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, is in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19, or if anyone in the household has travelled out of the province, they are required to consult with Health Links prior to attending school. 

As indicated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back – Restoring Safe Schools, arrangements will needed for teachers, administrators and school staff who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or other risk factors. This topic will be considered in July and August 2020 as LRSD's senior leadership team (SLT) continues to refine the plan for the reopening of schools in September.

Reporting and Contact Tracing

To facilitate contact tracing, staff attendance will be tracked through the Absence Management System (AMS).

Visitors to schools and itinerant Divisional Employees will upon entry to each work site, sign-in on the Entry Log with the date, name, and entry time, and the location(s) being accessed in the building. Staff will need to sign-out their departure time on the Entry Log.

Upon request by public health officials, schools will provide contact information for staff who would be considered "close contacts" of any individual that received a positive test result. Public health officials are responsible for communicating with "close contacts" and for advising the wider school community. Schools will not communicate such information without specific direction from their liaise assistant superintendent and public health officials.      

Personal Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

 It is especially important to clean your hands:

  • after coughing or sneezing
  • when caring for a sick person
  • before, during and after you prepare food
  • before eating
  • after toilet use
  • when hands are visibly dirty

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, or cough or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw used tissues in the garbage and immediately wash your hands, or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser. 

Physical distancing measures to reduce your risk of infection:

  • Minimize prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than two meters/ six feet) contact between your co-workers and other individuals in public. 
  • Where possible, meet with colleagues online or via telephone instead of in person. 
  • Avoid greetings that involve touching, such as handshakes.
  • Avoid travel, crowded places, and events, especially if you are at higher risk (e.g., seniors and those with underlying medical conditions).
  • Disinfect frequently used surfaces in your workspace.
  • Follow public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have been exposed to COVID-19 through travel or contact with someone infected with COVID-19.

Safety-Related Adaptations to Teaching and Learning

The Province of Manitoba has issued the following directives for learning and teaching safely during the current public health situation:

LRSD is committed to ensuring that all staff are aware of such guidelines and that all guidelines are implemented faithfully. As more guidelines are developed and approved by the Province, LRSD will communicate them to staff and support their implementation.

Professional Learning

The following professional learning norms (articulated in Policy GCIA) shall guide our professional growth as we prepare for the return to school and respond to the ever-evolving public health situation.

  • Student learning informs professional learning.
  • Professional learning is most efficacious when it's personalized, differentiated, job-embedded and collaborative.
  • Professional learning is a continuous, collaborative inquiry:
    • designed to incrementally improve practice;
    • informed by student learning data;
    • grounded in current research; and
    • guided by both the school's and division's multi-year strategic plans.
  • Professional learning must be framed by continuous cycles of assessment, planning, and action that measure the impact of collective teaching practice on student learning and lead to greater collective efficacy.

Communication

 Since the onset of the pandemic, LRSD has strived to communicate effectively with staff through:

  • Emails
  • Memos
  • Social media
  • News stories on the internal portal and public-facing website
  • Announcements in pertinent Microsoft Teams channels
  • Presentations by principals/supervisors at staff meetings
 
In addition, LRSD has sought to gather feedback from staff through various surveys (for example, surveys of various employee groups regarding barriers impacting their return to work) and direct consultations (primarily with members of the Leadership Team and leaders of employee groups). 

Our divisional website will continue to provide the most up-to-date and comprehensive information for staff. Other forms of communication will be used, as deemed appropriate. 

LRSD will continue to engage staff as we prepare to return to schools in the fall. Up to date plans and procedures for re-entry will be shared with all staff. Staff are encouraged to check their email prior to returning to school.

It is anticipated that public health orders may change suddenly, prompting an immediate change to existing practices. It is essential that staff stay informed. Staff are expected to check their email regularly. Should the need arise, schools will activate their emergency phone tree to ensure timely communication with staff when class is not in session.

Staff must advise their supervisor immediately should they learn that they or a member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 or that they or a member of their household has been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19. Staff should note their supervisor’s contact information so that such communication can occur after school hours, if necessary.

A Collaborative Approach

No one has previously experienced a global pandemic of this scale. We are living an unprecedented time of dynamic change that requires collaborative, evidence-informed, agile and solution-focused thinking.

In LRSD, we share everyone's hope that September will see us returning to school under Scenario 1. Even with the loosening of public health orders and guidelines in Scenario 1, the continued vigilant practice of screening for symptoms, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, and some physical distancing, will be required to mitigate health risks.

Most importantly, we need to recognize the likelihood that next school year will bring continued uncertainty and we may find ourselves implementing all three scenarios. Learning and teaching will occur in school, at home and a hybrid of both. Whatever the scenario and place from where we learn and teach, we will ensure equity and inclusion are guiding principles. 

Collaboration among education systems, schools, staff and families has been key to our ability to thrive and flourish under extraordinarily challenging circumstances. 

As we prepare to reopen in September, we will engage in a collective process of reflection to strengthen what has worked and respond to needs we are not adequately satisfying. 

Our approach to navigate 2020-2021 will continue to focus on two interconnected purposes that are the core mandate in LRSD: learning and wellbecoming.

Christian Michalik, Superintendent 


References



 
 
 
   
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CBC Manitoba collaborated with high school students across Manitoba to give a voice to their range of experiences and emotions about graduating during a pandemic. Check out the virtual yearbook and keep an eye out for some familiar LRSD faces: https://t.co/N3cnNmKkAJ https://t.co/pDjOs9pwRN

ico twitter

Congrats to the 71 Grade 12 students who earned their LRSD Skills Credential! The Credential is a unique LRSD career program that offers Grade 11 and 12 learners intensive career prep and workshops. Learn more: https://t.co/bNV6b3iori #ThrivingLearners #FlourishingCommunities https://t.co/ge4kUe3fAq

ico twitter

LRSD alumni Tyler Cox-Yestrau from @jhbLRSD and Graham Hutchison-Campbell from @gciLRSD were recently recognized as two of the top 13 Manitoban recruits on the University of Manitoba Bisons Track and Field team for the 2020-21 season! https://t.co/Z3osb1SuUT https://t.co/MMnxQC15tQ

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