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Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year

First published: June 29, 2020

Last updated: Oct. 14, 2020

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Updated information on Managing New Registrations was added on Aug. 11.

A link to the Government of Canada COVID-19 guidance for schools kindergarten to Grade 12 was added on Aug. 11.

The following documents from Manitoba Education were added on Aug. 13: 


Information on School Attendance was updated on Aug. 14.

Updated information on the use of masks in schools was added on Aug. 19.
 
Updated Information on Transportation as well as Practical Arts, Music, Physical Education, and Sports Teams was added on Aug. 21.

Sidebar link to #RestartMB Pandemic Response System added on Aug. 25 

Updated information on Employee Leaves was added on Aug. 28. 

The following documents from Manitoba Education were added on Sept. 1:

Information on Local Field Trips was added on Sept. 8.

Updated information on Sports Teams (High School Athletics) was added on Sept. 11.


Updated information on Masks Protocol was added on Sept. 21. 

Safe Work Procedures added on Oct. 14.


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Louis Riel School Division’s Response to Manitoba’s K-12 Guidelines for September 2020 Plan 

Our mantra to navigating the pandemic in 2020-2021 is:  
Together, we will do all that we can to implement public health measures to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering and being transmitted in our schools and on our buses. 

Despite our best efforts, we will never reduce the risk to zero.

Multiple measures such as communication, collaboration, self-screening, enhanced personal hygiene, enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing, use of cohorts, appropriate use of masks and outbreak management will be paramount in keeping students and staff safe, healthy and in schools this fall and throughout the pandemic.

Our Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year was posted on June 29 and is regularly updated. Here are some of the highlights:  

  • One of the most effective measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is to ensure a two-metre (six feet) physical distance between individuals and the use of physical barriers. 
  • All 40 schools have effectively implemented  two-meters (six feet) of physical distancing between students and the use of cohorts for all students and staff in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
  • In Kindergarten to Grade 8, students have returned for five days of in-class instruction per week.  
  • In grades 9 to 12, students have returned to daily in-class instruction in the morning or afternoon. 
  • Students with special needs in all grades have returned for five days of in-class instruction (full instructional day) per week, with physical distancing requirements and care for students with complex needs requirements being followed.
  • Cohorts involve keeping groups of students (and staff) together and avoiding interactions with other groups (called cohorts). Ideally, students and staff are in one cohort. The more cohorts you have defeats the purpose of a cohort. 
    • Schools will keep students and staff together with the same cohort throughout the day, including lunch breaks, recesses and other non-instructional time.  
    • Schools will stagger schedules and movement of cohorts to avoid being in shared spaces such as foyers or hallways at the same time. 
    • To avoid the movement of classes and cohorts of students whenever possible and the co-mingling of classes and cohorts, the following is being reviewed 
      • locations of classrooms,  
      • use of all spaces in a school, and  
      • timetabling.

Physical distancing is not enough (no one measure is enough). We need to implement a multi-layered approach that includes multiple measures: 

  • It starts with: Staying at home when sick! 
  • Staff will screen for symptoms to identify any potential cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible before exposure to others.  
    • Signage, with exclusion criteria, will be posted at all entrances. 
    • Clear and consistent symptom and exposure screening protocols will occur at the start of each day in all 40 schools. 
  • Visitor access will be minimized to the greatest extent possible.  
    • Community use of schools will be suspended, except for childcare centres operating in schools. 
  • Schools will have a supply of non-medical disposable masks available for students and staff who forget to bring their own reusable mask. 
    • The use of non-medical masks is recommended in situations where a person cannot maintain a two-metre physical distance for extended periods of time and is in close proximity to a person outside of their regular contacts.
    • The bus driver and all school bus passengers are required to wear a non-medical mask on the bus. Masks should be put on before getting onto the school bus and taken off after disembarking, if appropriate for the environment.

For a comprehensive understanding of our ever-evolving plan and its multiple dimensions, you can go to the Table of Contents below.  

We will continue to notify staff and families of important updates to the Navigating the 2020-2021 School Year plan via email and social media. 

Our goal is to work with staff, students, and families to co-create safe and healthy pathways so we can all have a successful 2020-2021 school year. 

The information outlined below is LRSD's comprehensive and up-to-date approach to navigating the upcoming school year. 

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. Mask Etiquette
  7. Communication
  8. 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
  7. Planning for Kindergarten

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. Mask Etiquette
  6. Safety-Related Adaptations to Teaching and Learning
  7. Professional Learning
  8. Communication


Introduction

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 co-authored 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 well-being 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 plan to resume in-class learning in 2020-2021 identifies three re-opening scenario or response levels. The information related to the three scenarios or levels of response has been adapted from the June 25, 2020 planning framework in light of public health advice and the need for different levels of response that may be required at any point in time and across different communities based on the risk of transmission (see pages 15 and 16 of Manitoba’s back-to-school plan.) 

On July 30, the government of Manitoba confirmed a Level 1: In-Class Learning response for September 2020. 

Level 1: In-Class Learning (September 2020)
  • All Kindergarten to Grade 8 students and students with special needs will return to in-class learning 5 days per week.
    • LRSD K-8 school principals communicated details with their communities regarding a staggered entry, class lists, school supplies and other school specific information.
  • Grades 9 to 12 students will be in-class to the greatest extent possible. Blended learning for high school students may vary from school to school.
    • In LRSD, all high school students will participate in learning at school for a minimum of 50 per cent of their scheduled time and will be working independently at home for the remaining time.
    • Routines, skills, and relationships will be built for both together and independent learning. 
    • Students will attend school every day for half of the day on a two-day rotating schedule.*

      *We are aware of the logistical issues regarding public transportation for some families in the Sage Creek, Royalwood and Southland Park neighbourhoods and are actively working to solve the problem to ensure a smooth return to school for all of our learners. We will provide updates as soon as they are made available to us. Please reach out to your school principal if you have any questions or concerns.
  • In order to implement this public health directive, minimal relocation was required of staff and students from schools that have high occupancy to nearby schools that have low occupancy.
    • All families and staff that have been affected by this proposed relocation have been notified. We are now listening to any and all concerns of affected families and staff. If you have a question or concern regarding the relocation of your child, please reach out to your school’s principal.

Level 2: Blended Learning (in-class and remote)
  • K-8 students and students with special needs are prioritized for in-class learning.
  • Grades 9 to 12 will participate in teacher-led remote learning, with limited use of school facilities for specific programming and assessment. 

Level 3: Remote Learning (with exceptions) 
  • Remote learning in place.
  • Schools are closed to the public with the exception of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students of critical workers.

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

All levels of response need to support continued learning and well-being during the pandemic. 

The SLT will continue to comprehensively plan for all three levels of response. 

One important exercise this June has been a thorough audit of spaces in all 40 schools that accounts for adequate social distancing and cohorting of students and staff in schools as outlined in Levels 1, 2 and 3. Cohorts involve keeping groups of students (e.g. classes) together and avoiding interactions with other groups.

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

The overcrowding in several of our schools and the class-size in all our schools will require everyone's collaboration and contributions to accommodate social distancing and cohorting of students and staff in many of our schools.

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

  • the use of all spaces in relationship to smaller groupings of students 
  • teachers and educational assistants in relationship to smaller groupings of students
  • the design and delivery of curricula in relationship to smaller groupings and cohorting of these groups, especially in Grades 9 to 12
  • the design and delivery of curricula to accommodate Blended Learning (in-class and remote)
  • the relationship of scheduling and timetabling in relationship to cohorting and Blended Learning


We use the words 'group' and 'cohort' rather than 'classroom' purposely. For all three levels of responseone of our new realities will be to manage the circulation and interaction of students and staff in K-12 outside of their cohort and to consider all available spaces for these small learning groups and larger cohorts when they come together in a school. 

Cohorts (see pages 7 and 8 in Manitoba’s back-to-school plan)
  • Cohorts involve keeping groups of students (e.g. classes) together and avoiding interactions with other groups. 
  • Physical distancing within the cohort is required to the greatest extent possible, including separation between desks. However, it is recognized that strict physical distancing at all times, particularly with young children, is not practical in the school setting. 
  • The purpose of cohorts is to limit the mixing of students and staff so that if a child or employee develops an infection, there are fewer possible exposures and contact tracing can be more easily done.
  • There is no limit on the number of cohorts, as long as distinct cohorts can be separated to prevent contact with other groups. 
  • Each cohort must be able to arrive, depart, and participate in school activities without co-mingling as much as possible with members from other cohorts.
  • Whenever possible, keep children and staff together with the same cohort throughout the day, including lunch breaks and recesses. 
  • Locations of classrooms, use of additional space and timetabling by cohorts can all be considered to reduce mixing. 
  • Stagger schedules and movement of cohorts to avoid being in shared spaces (e.g., foyers, hallways) at the same time. 
  • Avoid the movement of classes of students where possible. It is preferable that teachers move between classrooms instead of students. 
  • Keep daily records that include the names of students, staff, and volunteers of cohorts.

Physical Distancing (see pages 5 and 7 in Manitoba’s back-to-school plan
  • Two metres of physical distancing is required, to the greatest extent possible. When this is not possible (and it is not possible in many of our schools), students must remain within cohorts to reduce exposure to others. Cohorts (designated groups of students) will distance themselves from other groups to limit exposure. In these instances, there must be at least one metre between students as they sit at their desks.
  • Install signage outlining physical distancing protocols and floor markings where any lines may form, both inside and outside the facility.
  • Where possible, arrange spaces and schedules to encourage the recommended separation. A thorough audit of instructional and non-instructional spaces was completed in July and August to assist with the design of smaller learning groups and cohorts in all 40 schools.
    • Signage will be in place to promote recommended physical distancing and provide visual prompts for students and staff.
    • Physical barriers, where appropriate, are also an option when physical distancing is not possible. 
    • Additional cleaning and disinfecting of any barriers or dividers will be required. 
  • Be outdoors as much as possible. Promote individual activity to minimize contact. We are studying the design of curricula, instructional approaches and infrastructure to leverage the outdoor environments in our school communities.   
  • Contact sports and games, or the use of shared equipment, is strongly discouraged. 


Given the size of many of our school populations and the overcrowding in many of our schools (most of our French Immersion Schools), the temporary relocation of learning cohorts to other schools and community buildings is 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.

 

School Attendance

The Manitoba government has communicated that unless an underlying health condition prevents a student from being at school, regular attendance is mandatory. 

The Manitoba government's back-to-school plan does state that "Arrangements will be needed for students, teachers, administrators and school staff who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or other risk factors. Division-level remote learning will be in place for students who are medically advised not to return to in-class learning due to COVID-related risk factors. These situations should be rare and limited to children with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions that increase their risk. Parents and caregivers must consult with physicians on the need for an accommodation."

All students are expected to fully participate in their education instruction, even when remote learning is required. Students will be assessed on their work, reflective of their performance and learning. School divisions and schools will ensure that all students who are participating in remote learning have access to technology (see page 4 of Manitoba's back-to-school plan). We have made additional investments in mobile technologies to support learners and teachers in 2020-2021. We will share the details of these investments in late August.

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 responses, including the province-wide professional development day on October 23, 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  K-12, can anticipate staggered entries into schools in order to best navigate our 2020-2021 school year. 

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 (June 2020) and Manitoba's back-to-school plan (July 2020), 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 well-being 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 the Level 1 response and smaller cohorts in Level 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 are adhered to at all times.


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 Well-being

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 Well-being and Well-becoming 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 the well-being of the pandemic and support resilience and well-being for the transition back to school

 

Masks Protocols

The use of masks is mandatory for staff and students in schools when two metres (six feet) physical distancing can't be achieved. The bus driver and all school bus passengers are required to wear a non-medical mask on the bus. Masks should be put on before getting onto the school bus and taken off after disembarking, if appropriate for the environment.

The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) has redesiged spaces in all 40 LRSD schools to ensure two metres (six feet) of physical distancing for all students and all staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 when in learning groups. This means new classroom configurations were created with lower adult to student ratios.

To create spaces for learning groups where two metres (six feet) of physical distancing can be achieved, there is a need for minimal relocation of staff and students from schools that have high occupancy to nearby schools that have low occupancy.

There will be times when two metres (six feet) of physical distance cannot be maintained when students and staff move from one space in the building to another. In any situation where two metres (six feet) of physical distance cannot be achieved, mask-wearing will be mandatory for all staff and students in Grades 4 to 12. There will be an exception to this directive for individuals with certain conditions and needs.

LRSD staff will be teaching the appropriate use and wearing of masks to all students in all grades during the resumption of in-class learning in September.

LRSD will be providing masks for every student and staff member. Disposable medical masks are being distributed to schools and departments this week. Reusable masks will arrive by mid–September.

The Government of Manitoba has released guidance for mask use in schools, including a Wear It Well poster (in English and French) and video for parents/guardians and students to review. They have also released Guidance for Mask Use in Schools and Further Guidance on Mask Wearing Limitations and School Accommodations

Transportation

As we collectively continue to navigate the pandemic with the return to in-school learning on the horizon, providing transportation for our community in a safe, reliable and equitable manner has been a top priority.

Throughout the summer, we were in touch with families who access school bus transportation in Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) on multiple occasions to gauge how many people would be able to find other ways to get their children to and from schools.

With the current Manitoba health and safety regulations in place for transportation, we knew it was going to be a challenge to provide the same capacity of service for our entire community.

As we reviewed the results, the parents of approximately 500 students or 20 per cent of eligible riders indicated they were able to make alternate arrangements. To everyone who was able to devise a new plan for getting their kids to school, I’d like to extend deep gratitude and a genuine thank you for your flexibility and understanding. The reduction in ridership has helped us focus our efforts on building a solution for the remaining 80 per cent of students who need safe school bus transportation.

We are pleased to announce that we have finalized an agreement that will add an additional 25 school buses to our current division inventory.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the LRSD Board of Trustees approving the Senior Leadership Team’s recommendation to re-direct budgeted dollars to resolve this and other related COVID-19 budget needs. We also want to recognize First Student Canada who have been instrumental in helping us find and source additional buses. 

These additional vehicles will give us the capacity to provide safe, reliable and equitable transportation for the approximately 2,400 eligible riders (80 per cent of the ridership) who indicated they rely on school buses to get them to school. 

I need to acknowledge the efforts of our Transportation Taskforce including team lead, Henri Peloquin, and team members Amarbeer Bhandari, Burke Okrainec, Steven Karalash, and Marna Kenny. I am incredibly impressed with the team’s collective efforts and commitment to finding a solution. The division is fortunate to have this group of individuals who have done everything they can, along with support from First Student Canada, to find seats on school buses for every student that needs one. 

We are now focused on recruiting and hiring additional trained bus drivers to safely deploy these additional buses on routes during the month of September. Our goal is to fill these positions as soon as possible. 

Thanks again to our entire community for your patience and support.


Practical Arts

To avoid the mingling of school populations and to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission, transportation of students from one school to a different school in the division to attend Practical Arts has been suspended indefinitely. Practical Arts teachers will collaborate with grade-level teachers to support project-based learning in home schools. 

Music Programming

We are diligently working on redesigning spaces in all 40 Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) schools to ensure two-metres (six feet) of physical distancing for all students and all staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 when in learning groups. This means that music rooms in some schools will need to be reallocated for classroom instruction.  

In schools where a dedicated music room is not available, the teaching of music outcomes will be integrated into instruction by grade level teaching teams. 

The Music Specialist may support this integration if not required to directly support a different cohort of students. This will vary depending on local school needs.  

As part of Restoring Safe Services: Phase Two, choirs or musical theatre activities are not allowed due to a higher risk of transmission through singing compared to speaking. Infected people may transmit the virus over greater distances through their saliva or respiratory droplets while singing and when playing certain instruments such as wind or brass instruments. As the evidence for assessing the risk of these activities is still not well understood, these guidelines have been established to guide vocalists and instrumentalists in taking measures to protect themselves and others. 

Physical Education

We are diligently working on redesigning spaces in all 40 Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) schools to ensure two metres (six feet) of physical distancing for all students and all staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 when in learning groups. This means that gymnasiums in some schools will need to be reallocated for classroom instruction or breakout spaces.  

In all of our schools, physical education classes will take place outdoors for the year. When it is unsafe for staff and students to be outdoors, programming will take place in classroom spaces with additional safety measures in place. 

Sports Teams

Indoor or outdoor non-contact sports are permitted, as long as physical distancing can be maintained during the play, except for brief exchanges of close contact.   

Please refer to the province’s Sports Guidelines for further guidance on how sports and other activities may be modified/adapted to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.   

High School Athletics
On Tuesday Sept. 1, a recommendation was put forward to the Louis Riel School Division Senior Leadership Team (SLT) by the Coordinator of Healthy Living and High School administrators to temporarily suspend all high school athletics until Monday, Sept. 21. This recommendation gave schoo
ls time to plan and finalize the return to school for all students.  

This recommendation was accepted by SLT with the understanding there would be further review. Until that time, no individual, small group or team training of any kind was permitted. 

A meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, Sept. 16, with the Coordinator of Healthy Living and high school administrators to review how to get sports safely started by Sept. 21, while respecting grade level groupings, sub-cohorts and scheduling etc.


Re-Opening and Schooling Scenarios

The Manitoba government identifies three re-opening scenarios or levels of response:
  • Level 1: In-Class Learning (September 2020)
  • Level 2: Blended Learning (in-class and remote)
  • Level 3: Remote Learning (with the exception of Kindergarten to Grade 6 students of critical workers)

On July 30, the Manitoba government confirmed Level 1 will be our response to the pandemic in September 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's 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 (known as cohorting), and preventing circulation and exposure between cohorts whenever possible to limit exposure to and spread of COVID-19 while pandemic restrictions are in effect. 

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.

Rethinking Learning and Teaching

The three scenarios or levels 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. 

From Kindergarten to Grade 12, we will 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 three schooling response levels 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 schooling response levels. Since the beginning of the pandemic our priorities have been:
  • Ensuring students have access to the internet and laptops. 
    • 1,700 laptops were distributed for home use
    • additional laptops (and other mobile learning technologies) for students and staff have been ordered
    • We will provide details in LRSD's Blended Learning Action Plan to support staff's collective efficacy and maximize student engagement no matter where and when they're engaging with technology to support their learning 
  • Offering professional development for teachers to transition to an online teaching environment
    • More than 150 professional development sessions were offered
    • More than 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 took place
  • More than 31,000 group calls took place
  • Almost 500,000 channel messages were posted
  • Almost 5,000,000 chat messages were sent

Student Transportation

On July 30, the Manitoba government loosened its Guidelines for Transportation to Schools for the 2020-2021 school year. Despite the new guidelines, we will not have the capacity to transport the 3,000 students to and from school. Government and school divisions continue to reiterate that 'wherever possible, alternative transportation to school is encouraged.' Parents/caregivers/students may provide their own transportation, including carpooling, walking or cycling, to avoid possible virus exposure on the bus. Please note that carpooling can also be a risk for transmission.
Families can expect detailed communication in late August.

LRSD is working diligently on the student transportation plan.  School bus transportation to and from the school is an integral part of the overall plan.  Based on the July 2020 guidelines, school buses will not be operating at 100 per cent capacity due to physical distancing requirements. To meet the July guidelines and the needs of approximately 3,000 students who get to school on one of our buses, 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 buses. 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 École Varennes to École Marie-Anne-Gaboury, etc.)
  • Extending the minimum walk zone boundary from 1.6 kilometres to either 2 or 2.5 kilometres. Students living outside the walk zone boundary will be eligible for school bus transportation.

To better assess the needs of families and students, we surveyed parents/guardians with children served by our transportation department in early July. We sent the survey to 3,015 parents/guardians with children served by our transportation department. As of August 4, we have received 1,341 responses: 
  • 90 per cent answered “No” to the question “In light of COVID-19, would riding a school bus pose a health risk to your child or someone in your family?”  
  • 37 per cent answered “Yes” to the question “If school bus transportation is not available, do you have alternate means of transportation for your child's daily commute to and from school?” 
 
View a more in-depth summary of the survey results (as of July) here.  The division will have a plan to share with the community later in August. 
 
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 the return to school based on our new reality in the 2020-2021 school year. This includes smaller student learning groups and 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
  • The well-being 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 whenever 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 the 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 that an 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 that are 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
  • Identify 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/Microsoft 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. .PowerPoint, 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

The division and its Early Learning and Childcare partners have 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 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 Division Board of Trustees 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

LRSD 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, which includes 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. Unscheduled in-person visits to the school will not be accepted. 
  • The school will arrange an appropriate meeting time and communication method (in-person, online, or other) to facilitate new registrations.
  • If the family is relocating from out of province, they will be asked to contact the International Student Program (ISP) office (204) 253-8025. ISP staff will verify whether the family has arrived from a region that warrants a mandatory quarantine or isolation period. Families may be asked to verify their travel dates, quarantine schedules and plans. 
  • Once all information is verified, the ISP office will contact schools to notify them that the registration process can begin.  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.

Local Field Trips

Field trips and off-site activities form an essential part of the learning experience for students at all grade levels. In planning for the safe return to school, careful consideration must be given to any plans that might involve taking students off the school property. To support decision making for possible field trips, teachers and administrators must use the following guidelines: 

  • All proposed trips must be structured to adhere to health regulations in effect at the time of booking, including transportation guidelines, supervision requirements, groups size limits, cohort structures (including the supervisors), food and nutrition requirements, and physical distancing limitations at the site of the field trip.
  • All plans for local field trips must be approved by the school administrator prior to booking sites and transportation. Detailed records must be kept of the trip plan, participants (including supervisors), and transportation details.
  • Overnight field trips within province must be approved by the Superintendents Department and must meet all health requirements for physical distancing and transportation, for the entirety of the intended trip. Detailed planning documents must be submitted as part of the approval process.

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 well-being.
  • 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 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 LRSD 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


An employee will be entitled to an unpaid leave of absence, if due to COVID-19 they cannot work for an extended period of time because they are providing primary care and support to a dependent family member. This also includes care or support of their child as a result of the closure of a school or premises where childcare is provided: 
  • The employee is to submit their request for an unpaid leave in writing to Lisa Aitken or Jennifer Hume (Clerical) and copy their school administrator/supervisor.
  • The employee will provide information on the reason for the leave, start and end date, and reasonable verification of the necessity of their request for leave.  
  • The employee may be eligible for federal government 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. 
  • Complete a Leave Form for Family Leave with details and send to Lisa Aitken. 
  • Pending the situation, leave without pay may be used for absences and reported in AMS. 

If an employee is instructed to go into quarantine or to self-isolate by Public Health and/or Manitoba Health Links: 

  • Sick days will be used for absences with illness recorded as the reason 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 unpaid sick leave, the employee may be eligible for federal government benefits. 
  • Teachers onlyIf all eligible sick days have been used, teachers may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

If the employee is ill: 

  • The employee must stay at home. 
  • Use either the online Shared Health COVID-19 Screening tool or the printed PDF: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-staff-screening-tool.pdf  
  • Depending on the symptoms related to the illness, the employee may be advised to contact Health Links or their health care provider and follow their directives. 
  • 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 unpaid sick leave, employee may be eligible for Federal Government Benefits. 
  • Teachers onlyIf all eligible sick days have been used, teachers may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

If administrator/supervisor is concerned an employee is ill at work, or if an employee becomes ill at work: 

  • Administrator/supervisor will send the employee home, or the employee will notify their administrator and go home. 
  • Depending on the symptoms related to the illness, the employee is to use either the online Shared Health COVID-19 Screening tool or the printed PDF: https://sharedhealthmb.ca/files/covid-19-staff-screening-tool.pdf and follow the recommendations it provides. 
  • 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 unpaid sick leave, employee may be eligible for Federal Government Benefits. 
  • Teachers only: If all eligible sick days have been used, teachers may be eligible for short-term or long-term benefits. 

If an employee travels to a high-risk area or to any destination to which the government or health authorities have advised against travel, whether international travel or otherwise, which is also deemed to be high-risk (Note: travel destinations may be identified as high-risk prior to, during, or at the conclusion of travel) for the transmission of COVID-19 will:  

  • Notify their direct supervisor of their intent to travel internationally, and  
  • Upon their return, will be required to undergo a 14- day self-isolation period before they can return to work or enter any school division property. The period of self-isolation will be unpaid.  
  • Depending on the circumstances, there may be other leaves under the collective agreement that can be accessed such as: discretionary leave; extra-curricular leave; vacation; family leave; and/or leave of absence without pay. 


If due to COVID-19 an employee believes they cannot report to work because an immune-compromised family member resides in the same house: 

  • The employee should contact their family member's medical physician for advice.  
  • If the medical physician advises that the employee cannot attend work due to the health risk to their family member, the employee can request a family status accommodation which will require documentation. 
  • Sick leave and/or an unpaid leave of absence may be approved for Family Status Leave. 
  • All requests should be submitted in writing to Lisa Aitken or Jennifer Hume (Clerical) and copy their school administrator/supervisor. 
  • The employee will provide information on the reason for the leave, start and end date, and reasonable verification of the necessity of their request for leave.  
  • The employee may be eligible for federal government benefits. 
  • Teachers only: If all eligible sick days have been used, teachers may be eligible for short-term or long-termbenefits

If an employee refuses to work because they believe the workplace is unsafe as a result of COVID-19 they should follow Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) process for refusal to work due to health/safety concern. Employee Right to Refusal Work Procedure can be found within the employee portal in WSH or People Services. 

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 will need to complete the online COVID-19 Screening Tool assessment and follow the direction given. If the employee is advised 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, employees should apply to CERB. The Benefit is available from March 13 to October 3.
  • 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: 
 
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.

Recess

The social relationships formed during recess are critical for students’ health and well-being. In LRSD, we intend to use evidence-based strategies that ensure opportunities for healthy, meaningful play while minimizing the spread of the virus.  

To accomplish this, we plan to adapt current schedules, including recess breaks, to facilitate levels of physical distancing and promote smaller, more manageable groups.  


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 should not attend school when sick or exhibiting symptoms of illness.
    • Refer to the online COVID-19 Screening Tool to determine if a person should contact Health Links.
    • 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 will in-school learning continue? 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, excluding western Canada* or northwestern Ontario**, they are required to consult with Health Links prior to attending school and follow their directions.

* Western Canada refers to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
** Northwestern Ontario refers to the portion of Ontario located west of Terrace Bay.

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.

Mask Etiquette

Non-medical masks can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Wearing non-medical masks is an additional layer of personal protection that can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading. In order for masks to be effective, they must be put on and removed properly. 

DO’S

  • Before putting on a mask, wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Inspect the mask for damage or dirt. Any disposable masks that meet these criteria should be discarded properly. If the mask is reusuable, ensure it is cleaned or repaired prior to use.
  • Apply the mask and adjust to your face without leaving gaps on the sides and ensuring to cover your mouth, nose and chin.
  • Avoid touching the mask while it is being worn .
  • If you need to remove your mask, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Remove the mask by the straps behind your ears or head ensuring not to touch the front of the mask.
  • Pull the mask away from your face and dispose of it immediately into a garbage, or if reusable into a ziplock bag or your personal backback.
  • Wash your hands or apply alcohol based sanitizer.

DON'TS
  • Do not use a mask that appears damaged or dirty.
  • Do not wear a loose mask.
  • Do not wear the mask under the nose.

Communication

Since the onset of the pandemic, LRSD has regularly gathered feedback by surveying stakeholders including:
  • Teachers/support staff regarding barriers impacting their work
  • Parents/guardians regarding the remote learning experience and to assess needs
  • School leaders regarding student and staff engagement

Our divisional website continues to provide the most up to date and comprehensive information for students and families. Since March, our website has been updated as often as necessary to provide answers to frequently asked questions, important health protocols and the latest COVID-19 news. The total monthly visits to our website rose, on average, by 87 per cent during the months of March to June. 

LRSD’s social media accounts also provide regular, real-time updates. The total monthly reach of our social media posts increased by 698 per cent during the months of March to June. 

The division uses the MailChimp email platform to communicate with parents/guardians and 16 email campaigns have been sent since March to a subscriber list of more than 13,000. 

LRSD will continue to engage all stakeholders as we work on plans for a return to schools in the fall. We will also share the new and updated 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 well-being 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 well-being 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.

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 will 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 well-being and belonging for all is job one for teachers. In short, well-being 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 that are 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 Learning 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 in September, 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 

Assessment practices that prioritize emotional well-being are 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 staggered 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 well-being. See the documents:

Strategies to support the mental health and well-being 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 staggered 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 education 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.

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 co-create 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.

Planning for Kindergaten

Manitoba Education recently released Learning and Joy in the Pandemic: Manitoba Kindergarten Practice Resource to help educators prepare for the fall. The document answers the question “How do we mediate COVID-19 through the lens of developmentally appropriate pedagogical practices?” 

Suggestions from Manitoba Education include:  
  • Reaching out in new ways to families since many traditional orientation events will be cancelled 
  • Strengthening communication channels with families and actively promoting engagement 
  • Adapting meaningful child-focused play and teacher-guided learning to adhere to safety guidelines 
  • Continuing to encourage and focus on purposeful play 

Young learners achieve their Kindergarten outcomes best when teachers value child-centredness, purposeful play and inquiry, and authentic literacy and numeracy experiences that also support social interactions, community building, and children’s growing ability to regulate emotions and behaviours. In LRSD, we will consider the importance of social and emotional well-being as carefully as we do children’s physical well-being. 

School Staff Preparedness

As mandated by the Manitoba government in Welcoming Our Students Back: Restoring Safe Schools and Manitoba's back-to-school plan, 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 well-being 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, excluding western Canada* or northwestern Ontario**, they are required to consult with Health Links prior to attending school.

* Western Canada refers to British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
** Northwestern Ontario refers to the portion of Ontario located west of Terrace Bay.

As indicated by Manitoba Education in Welcoming Our Students Back – Restoring Safe Schools, arrangements will need to be made for teachers, administrators and school staff who may be at higher risk of COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions or other risk factors.

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 worksite, 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.

Mask Etiquette

Non-medical masks can help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Wearing non-medical masks is an additional layer of personal protection that can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading. In order for masks to be effective, they must be put on and removed properly. 

DO’S
  • Before putting on a mask, wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Inspect the mask for damage or dirt. Any disposable masks that meet these criteria should be discarded properly. If the mask is reusuable, ensure it is cleaned or repaired prior to use.
  • Apply the mask and adjust to your face without leaving gaps on the sides and ensuring to cover your mouth, nose and chin.
  • Avoid touching the mask while it is being worn .
  • If you need to remove your mask, wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  • Remove the mask by the straps behind your ears or head ensuring not to touch the front of the mask.
  • Pull the mask away from your face and dispose of it immediately into a garbage, or if reusable into a ziplock bag or your personal backback.
  • Wash your hands or apply alcohol based sanitizer.

DON'TS
  • Do not use a mask that appears damaged or dirty.
  • Do not wear a loose mask.
  • Do not wear the mask under the nose.

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 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. 

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.

Even with the loosening of public health orders and guidelines in the Level 1: In-Class Learning Response, the continued vigilant practice of screening for symptoms, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing, and cohorting will be required to mitigate health risks.

Most importantly, we need to recognize the likelihood that our upcoming school year will bring continued uncertainty and we may find ourselves implementing all three levels of responses, which would include learning and teaching in school, at home and a hybrid of both. No matter what the level of response to the pandemic we find ourselves in and regardless of the physical location we learn and teach in, 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. 

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 navigating 2020-2021 will continue to focus on two interconnected purposes that are the core mandate in LRSD: learning and well-becoming.

Christian Michalik, Superintendent 


References





 
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      <span title="_title">#RestartMB Pandemic Response System</span>
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        <a href="https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/restartmb/pandemic_response_system.pdf">https://manitoba.ca/asset_library/en/restartmb/pandemic_response_system.pdf</a>
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      <span title="_openinnewwindow">True</span>
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      <span title="_title">COVID-19 Symptoms and Exposure Screening Questions </span>
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RT @transportLRSD: Due to circumstances out of our control, we are unable to provide transportation services to students on bus route 49 October 21, 2020. Students affected on this route attend @provencherLRSD We apologize for this inconvenience. @louis_riel_sd

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Emily Mandamin, a @dciLRSD alumna, is heading south to pursue her dream of playing college basketball. She was recently featured as the Sports Star of the Week🏀⭐ https://t.co/7cYu8JEuLZ

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RT @ONF_Education: Profitez d'une mini-leçon sur le film Cauchemar à l’école qui met l'accent sur la santé mentale/stress : https://t.co/kzjVxFwnf1

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