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Navigating the 2021-2022 School Year

​Louis Riel School Division’s Response to Manitoba’s K-12 Guidelines for September 2021 Plan 

The Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) applauds Manitoba Education's efforts to return to in-class learning for the 2021-2022 school year. The province recognizes that our public schools are essential "to the mental health and well-being of children.”

The measures taken in our schools and supporting policies are not intended to be barriers to education; they are a means to promote safety and incentivize collective behaviours to not only start school in September in a safe and welcoming way, but also to sustain that effort and stay in school despite the fourth wave.  
The information outlined below is LRSD's comprehensive and up-to-date approach to navigating the 2021-2022 school year as informed by Manitoba Education’s Return to School Plan for 2021-2022. It will continue to evolve and be updated throughout the year

Christian Michalik, Superintendent


COVID-19 Parent/Guardian Resources
Positive Cases of COVID-19 in LRSD 2021-2022

Table of Contents

Institutional Preparedness

13. School Photos *NEW - Sept. 10

Student and Family Preparedness

Learning Preparedness

School Staff Preparedness


Schools will begin the 2021-2022 year at the Caution (Yellow) on the Pandemic Response System (PRS). Public health measures in our school communities have been modified to reflect the current public health situation. While current case numbers and vaccination rates are encouraging, there is a continued need to plan for and be ready to implement additional measures as conditions evolve. Schools will continue to be ready for Restricted (Orange) and Critical (Red) level on the PRS plan should the public health situation changes in a school or larger part of our community.
Multiple measures such as vaccination, communication, collaboration, self-screening, enhanced personal hygiene, enhanced cleaning protocols, physical distancing, use of cohorts, appropriate use of masks and outbreak management are paramount in keeping students and staff safe, healthy and in schools throughout the pandemic. 

LRSD has developed policies related to mask usage and staff COVID-19 vaccination:

School and board office staff will continue to make it a priority to co-create with students and families, safe and healthy pathways to successfully navigate the 2021-2022 school year in relation to the pandemic. 

Four priority areas will guide planning as students and staff return to class:
  • implementing health and safety measures guided by public health agencies
  • promoting mental health and well-being
  • assessing and addressing learning impacts
  • vaccinating Manitobans through outreach and promotion
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.    

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students will return to in-class learning in September 2021. Staff and students will continue to follow the fundamentals including:
  • vaccination
  • self-screening
  • hand hygiene
  • staying home when sick
  • mask usage
  • physical distancing where possible

We will also continue to maximize the use of the outdoors for teaching and learning.

School Attendance

Regular attendance is mandatory, whether learning at school or from home. All students are expected to participate fully in their educational instruction. Students will be assessed on their work, reflective of their performance and learning. LRSD will ensure that all students who have been accepted in the Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre have access to the required technology.

School Calendar

Non-instructional Days in LRSD for 2021-2022

1.     Tuesday, September 7, 2021
2.     Monday, September 27, 2021
3.     Friday, October 22, 2021
4.     Friday November 26, 2021
5.     Friday, February 4, 2022
6.     Friday, March 18, 2022
7.     Friday, April 22, 2022
8.     Friday, May 6, 2022
Winter Break
Last Day of School: Wednesday, December 22, 2021
School Re-opens: Thursday, January 6, 2022

Spring Break
Last Day of School: Friday, March 25, 2022
School Re-opens: Monday, April 4, 2022
Last day of school in 2021-2022: Thursday, June 30, 2022

Mental Health and Well-Being

LRSD is committed to the systemic promotion of mental health and well-being. The pandemic has inspired us to draw upon our prior learning and bring it to the forefront in our planning.
We aspire to help those in our communities to be able to answer the following:
  • I know what well-being is.
  • I know what impacts my well-being and the well-being of my community positively and negatively.  
  • I have strategies to improve my well-being and the well-being of others.

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 with staff 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. Clinical Supervisors and clinicians are valuable support to the work of Mental Health Promotion teams and promoting positive mental health in schools.

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 encourage students, families and staff to engage in thinking and activities to support their wellbeing.
  • be active
  • be positive
  • be social 
  • be curious
  • be purposeful
  • be mindful

A video explanation is available here.

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 well-being.

Well-being and Resilience: Recommendations to Support Students
The LRSD Inclusion and Clinical Services team has created the following resources to support well-being and resilience.

Schooling during the pandemic is a significant transition for all students and staff. Well-being and Resilience: Clinical Recommendations to Support Transitions to School Re-opening references 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 help reduce the impact of the pandemic on the well-being of students
  • Strategies that support student's resilience and well-being for the transition back to school

Manitoba Education has also recommended resources in their Restoring Safe Schools document to support Mental Health and Well-being for students, staff, and families.

Opening Day Conferences

After consulting with school administration and the Senior Leadership Team, all Opening Day Conferences in the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) will occur virtually this year.

With requirements for proof of vaccination of visitors to LRSD schools, virtual Opening Day Conferences will allow schools time to familiarize themselves with the policy and process of verifying vaccination status of visitors and work out logistics. We look forward to welcoming parents/guardians back into schools soon; however, limiting the number of visitors to our buildings is important to keep students, staff and families safe in the context of the fourth wave.

Schools will communicate about the scheduling of Opening Day Conferences to their communities.

Provincial Assessments

Manitoba Education's Restoring Safe Schools: Planning Guide for 2021-2022 School Year released on August 5, 2021, indicated the province’s commitment to developing a new student assessment framework that includes strengthening classroom assessments in all grades and creating new summative assessments in the early years, middle years and Grade 10.

Manitoba Education has shared that in the 2021-2022 school year, the Grade 3 Assessment in Reading, Lecture and Numeracy and the Grade 4 Assessment in French Immersion Lecture, and the Middle Years Assessment of Key Competencies in Mathematics, Reading Comprehension and Expository Writing will continue.

The pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the Grade 12 provincial exams during the last two school years. Manitoba Education has indicated that during the 2021-2022 school year they will move forward in developing a Grade 10 assessment. In light of this, we have been advised that the Grade 12 provincial tests will not proceed in 2021-2022.

Institutional Preparedness

Safety and Health Protocols

Modifying Behaviours that Mitigate Risk

There are many uncertainties about the COVID-19 pandemic that may cause us to feel stress. You might be wondering how long the pandemic will last, how it may evolve, or how long will in-school learning continue?

The answers are uncertain 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 


Screening for symptoms is critical to identify any potential cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible before exposure to others. If you are unsure whether or not your child should be tested and self-isolate, use the COVID-19 Screening Tool to confirm next steps.
All screening that identifies suspected cases of COVID-19 should be referred to Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.

Symptom and exposure screening must occur at the start of each day.
  • Staff and students must self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Staff who have any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home, isolate, and be excluded from work. Schools will maintain records of staff absenteeism.
  • Parents and caregivers are responsible for ensuring their children are not displaying symptoms before sending them to school or on the bus. Screening questions are available at COVID-19 Screening Questions to facilitate this process.

Signage, with exclusion criteria, will be posted at all entrances to all schools and facilities. 

A student or staff member who meets any of the exclusion criteria will not be admitted to the school and will be advised to immediately isolate and consult Health Links – Info Santé or their health care provider. More information on isolation requirements and exemptions.

A chronic stable cough, sneeze, runny nose, or nasal congestion that is unchanged and clearly linked to a known medical condition such as asthma or allergies, is not an absolute requirement for exclusion. As well, children who are crying can exhibit a runny nose. Changing or worsening of chronic symptoms requires isolation and contacting Health Links — Info Santé. Staff will exercise judgment based on the symptoms, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution by excluding the child and advising the parent or caregiver to contact Health Links — Info Santé or their health care provider.

Routine screening or monitoring of temperatures with a thermometer or other device to assess for fever is not recommended. Normal temperatures can vary throughout the day and can be different between individuals. It is recommended that parents and staff focus on monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, as outlined in the Screening Tool.

Contact Tracing

Case and contact management of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has been an important and effective public health strategy for reducing transmission. It is anticipated that with declining cases of COVID-19 and increased vaccinations, case and contact management will continue to evolve over time as we transition back to normal processes. COVID-19 case and contact management processes that are currently in place will remain until public health advises otherwise. View the current case and contact management processes.

Manitoba Education has established a dedicated Notification Support Team to respond to official school inquiries, support the process, and provide current documents and templates, upon request. The Notification Support Team is available to school officials seven days per week, excluding statutory holidays. 

If a principal is notified by Public Health about a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they inform LRSD Senior Leadership Team members and work closely with public health officials throughout the process.

Principals collect basic information about the individual including, but not limited to:
  • Last date they attended the school
  • Seating plan
  • Cohort grouping
  • Schedule
  • Confirmation of physical distancing and mask usage 

If a risk of exposure at the school is determined, principals will send a letter from Public Health to the school community. If potential close contacts are identified, principals will send a letter from Public Health to those individuals that outlines the necessary next steps. 

In some situations, an individual within a school community will notify a principal about a potential positive COVID-19 test before Public Health can complete its case investigation. Principals will collaborate with senior leadership and begin to collect basic information. If a risk of exposure at the school is suspected, a principal will send a letter from Superintendent Christian Michalik to the school community. A principal will collaborate with senior leadership to make the decision to, out of an abundance of caution, send a letter from Superintendent Christian Michalik to any potential close contacts that asks them to self-isolate (quarantine) until they are contacted by Public Health or school officials with next steps. 

Mask Protocols

The use of masks is mandatory for students, staff and visitors in schools and facilities in the Louis Riel School Division. All students and staff are required to wear masks throughout the school day, with allowance for scheduled 'mask-breaks'. An exception to this directive applies to individuals with documented conditions and needs as outlined in Divisional Policy GBGBB-JLIH. We have confirmed that Manitoba Education and Public Health are in support of mask mandates in our schools. 

Students and staff are required to wear masks in LRSD schools and facilities. On August 24, 2021, public health officials announced mandatory mask use in all indoor public spaces, including schools for all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students. This requirement includes wearing masks in the classroom and while riding the bus. Mask use during sports should follow public health guidance for sports in place at the time: Province of Manitoba - COVID-19 Sports Guidelines. Mask breaks can occur where there is physical distancing of 2 meters. Masks can be removed when outside.

Masks are required for school bus transportation. The bus driver and all school bus passengers are required to wear a mask on the bus. Masks should be put on before getting onto the school bus and taken off after disembarking.

LRSD continues to provide medical-grade masks for every student and staff member. LRSD staff will continue to teach the appropriate use and wearing of masks to all students in all grades.


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. 

It is likely that K-6 students will be in cohorts other than their classroom cohort, including separate cohorts for the school bus, daycare, and extracurricular activities.

For the fall of 2021, cohorts will be used in kindergarten to Grade 6 to assist with contact tracing and minimize exposure. The need for cohorts will be reviewed over the coming months
  • Cohorts involve keeping groups of students (e.g., classes) together and avoiding interactions with other groups.
  • Maximum cohort size is to be no more than 75 students. There is no limit on the number of cohorts in a school, as long as distinct cohorts of 75 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 with members from other cohorts as much as possible.
  • Whenever possible, we will 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.
  • Staggered schedules and movement of cohorts to avoid being in shared spaces (e.g., foyers, hallways) at the same time will be implemented.
  • Wherever possible, different cohorts/groups should not be in shared spaces at the same time. Where this is not possible, physical distancing between groups is required. It is important to maintain at least four metres between groups or cohorts of children (i.e., two groups of children can be in the same area, provided the groups do not intermingle and four metres of space is maintained between the two groups).
  • Schools will keep daily records that include the names of students, staff, and volunteers of cohorts.
  • Morning and afternoon or alternate day pre-school and Kindergarten classes are considered separate cohorts.
  • In the event of an exposure to COVID-19, it may be necessary for all individuals in the cohort to self-isolate if exposure has occurred throughout the cohort. Schools are encouraged to keep the cohort size as small as feasible to avoid large group disruptions to in-person learning.

Creating and nurturing a sense of community for each of these cohorts is essential to ensure that students and staff thrive in 2021-2022.

Physical Distancing

While two-metres of physical distancing is no longer required, it is encouraged to the greatest extent possible. There should always be at least 1 metre of physical distance between students while seated in class. Physical distancing should be prioritized in common areas. Each classroom space should be verified using the Physical Distancing Calculator to ensure that all available space has been used to maximize distancing between students. 

For Kindergarten to Grade 6 where cohorts are in place, physical distancing should be practised outside of the classroom/cohort and during non-instructional activities (e.g., entering/exiting the school, recess, lunch, breaks, etc.).  

All schools should avoid overcrowding in indoor common spaces and spread people out within the available space. Schools will manage the flow of people in common areas, including hallways, to minimize crowding and allow for the ease of people passing through. They will implement the practice of staggered entrance and exit times or use separate entrances (if feasible). 

The maximum number of individuals congregating in a common space for extracurricular indoor and outdoor settings, including staff meetings, must comply with the up-to-date public health orders.

Safe Work Procedures

LRSD has developed Safe Work Procedures to ensure the safety and health of staff, students, and other individuals that access divisional facilities. These procedures are continually reassessed and revised in accordance with current public health orders and guidance. Divisional Policy GBG – Board Commitment to Safety and Health requires that "every employee of the Louis Riel School Division […] take all reasonable measures to support the safety of other employees, protect the public and environment, and prevent loss of assets and/or damage to property." Accordingly, 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.


In the 2020-2021 school year, the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) spent $103,722 of the province's Safe School's funding on improving air ventilation in schools.  

All school buildings in LRSD have well-functioning ventilation. At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the division hired a contractor to perform a comprehensive review of all ventilation systems. All repairs and replacements were completed. 

The division is committed to continuously improving ventilation in all of our schools and regular maintenance is performed on each ventilation system. All mechanical systems are continously operating in occupied mode to maximize fresh air and have the highest level of air filtration allowable within the manufacturer's operating parameters of the existing HVAC system. 

We are following the ventilation guidance document that was released by the Province of Manitoba.

At the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the division hired a contractor to perform a comprehensive review of all ventilation systems in LRSD. All repairs and replacements were completed. All filters are changed every three months, drive belts have been checked and conditioned, dampers have been adjusted to call for 100 per cent fresh air and repairs have been performed on pneumatic controls. All school buildings in LRSD have well-functioning ventilation. ASHRAE standards recommends Merv 13 or higher filters; however, we have some old systems. Some of the older systems are not designed for Merv 13 filters. Merv 13 filters either do not fit or make the air flow too restrictive. We have been using the highest rated Merv filters that the ventilation system is designed for based on specifications provided by the manufacturer.

To verify that exhaust fans and exhaust systems are operating correctly, the division has hired Air Movements Service Ltd. to measure air exchange rates per hour with music classrooms as priority followed by all other spaces in the school buildings. Based on the updated guidelines released by the National Association for Music Education for music education classrooms, a minimum of three air exchanges per hour should be used. The HVAC group is assessing any spaces with less than 3 air exchanges per hour and completing any necessary repairs and/or maintenance to achieve a higher air exchange rate. After repair/maintenance is completed, Air Movements Service Ltd. takes another reading and reports it to the division.

We had a carpenter checking all windows during the week of August 23-27. The carpenter checked all the hardware to ensure all operable windows can open and is also installing new screens on windows with missing screens.

All school buildings have been set to operate in occupied mode 24/7 to maximize fresh air to the space. Manitoba Education has not provided any specifics related to the use of HEPA air cleaners in classrooms.

Student 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 must complete a mandatory quarantine period. Families may be asked to verify their travel dates, quarantine schedules and plans. Families may also be asked if they would be willing to voluntarily disclose the vaccination status of their family members. 
  • Once all information is verified, the ISP office will contact schools to notify them that the registration process can begin. New registrations can be facilitated online but student attendance at school can only occur after any mandatory quarantine or isolation period has been completed.

International Student Program

Homestay Program

LRSD, through the Director of the International Student Program (ISP), assumes legal custodianship of all international students who utilize our Homestay Program. As a result, LRSD has ensured that all federal and provincial health requirements are met by all students participating in the Homestay Program. Homestay students will also be supported in accessing COVID-19 vaccinations when requested. 

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 are responsible for fulfilling quarantine 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 applicable quarantine plans. These dates will be scheduled by the ISP office.

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, 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.

Students Returning from Travel

For students returning from out of province travel: current Provincial Public Health Orders require that unvaccinated individuals returning to Manitoba from any out of province travel must self-isolate for 14 days after their return to Manitoba. Children under 12 are only exempt from this requirement if all individuals they travelled with are fully immunized.

For students returning from international travel: unvaccinated travelers returning from international travel are required to quarantine for 14 days after arrival in Canada. Children under 12 who are not vaccinated and have returned from international travel cannot attend school until 14 days after their landing date, even if travelling with fully vaccinated parents. See the attached document from The Government of Canada for further details.

Student Transportation

School bus transportation in LRSD will return to pre-COVID-19 policies and practices, with buses running at full capacity while maintaining the additional cleaning protocols established in the 2020-2021 school year. The following measures will be in place:
  • Bus drivers and students will wear masks while on the bus
  • Students with symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend school or be passengers on buses. 
  • Drivers with symptoms of COVID-19 should not drive the school bus. 
  • All passengers and drivers should perform hand hygiene before and after being on the bus.
  • Windows and/or roof vents will be opened when possible and as weather permits, to allow for increased ventilation.
  • Seats will be assigned so the same students are seated in the same seats every day for regular bus routes.
  • Up-to-date lists of bus riders and drivers will be maintained to enable contact tracing if required.
  • Cleaning of seats and other high-touch surfaces (e.g., windows, railings) before each new group of students attends the bus.

LRSD is committed to providing safe, timely and reliable transportation to and from school. Our students' health, safety and well-being are our top priorities.

Student Services and Clinical Services

Student Services and Clinical Services staff will continue to prioritize support for the well-being and learning of students, staff and families.  Manitoba Education has provided guidance regarding Students with Special Needs and Students at Risk in the Restoring Safe Schools document. This includes guidance on supporting students who require interventions or supports that must be delivered in close proximity. Led by school principals, schools engage in collaborative planning at the student, classroom and school levels to plan for and support the inclusion and success of students in their school communities.

Principals lead and organize school Student Services Support Teams which include teachers, Student Services Teachers, and Clinicians. Important tasks include:
  • Reviewing Manitoba Education's Restoring Safe Schools document and LRSD PPE and Safe Work Resources with staff. 
  • Activating the school's Mental Health Promotion Team and supporting their planning for comprehensive school health and well-being.
  • Arranging Student Services School Support Team Meetings.
    • Confirming scheduled meetings and providing options for Microsoft Teams participation for itinerant staff.
  • Engaging in collaborative student, class, and school level Student Services planning. 
    • Review and assign student specific plan management to student services staff.
    • Ensure that an early connection with parents/guardians is established to create an ongoing communication plan.
    • Review Student Specific Profiles and Plans, Class Profiles, and school Support Intensity Scale data with teachers and identify students requiring new student-specific planning in the current context.

Childcare and Before- and After-School Programs

The division and its Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) 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 has not put our collaboration on hold. The division and ELCC partnership will continue to be paramount to ensure a safe and consistent collaboration for childcare centres located in divisional facilities. 
The ongoing collaboration helped support the numerous transitions 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. 

Family Centres

LRSD Family Centres will reopen in alignment with our return to school plan and all current public health measures. Schools will communicate details about timelines and schedules with their communities. 

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). 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. Students will be encouraged to respect physical distancing once they have arrived at the muster point.

Fire Drills: 
Both the Manitoba Fire Code and the Safe Schools Regulation require schools hold at least 10 fire drills in a school year. Public health advice is to limit large groups of students gathering in and around schools. While fire drills are imperative to ensure the safety of students, they may cause crowding in some school spaces, such as hallways and at gathering spots.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner has advised that the required 10 fire drills must continue to take place. However, public health recommendations and orders may require schools and school divisions to use alternative ways of conducting fire drills in order to accommodate public health advice. This may include:
  • the separate evacuation of one section of a school/a certain number of classrooms
  • the separate evacuation of one classroom at a given time
  • drills being held on different days
  • if any portion of the evacuation drill may not be conducted because public health guidance at the time does not allow for it, verbal instructions should be given. Students should also be reminded that in a real emergency situation, they should exit the school as quickly as possible.

Lockdown Drills: 
School divisions and schools will continue to hold one lockdown drill in each term or semester of the school year while ensuring public health guidance is followed. If any portion of the lockdown drill may not be conducted because public health guidance at the time does not allow for it, verbal instructions should be given. Students should be reminded that in a real emergency situation, it is not necessary to adhere to public health restrictions.

Bus Evacuation Drills: 
School divisions and schools will ensure that all students participate in emergency school bus evacuation drills, which will be conducted at least once during the fall term and at least once during the spring term. In Kindergarten to Grade 6, school bus evacuation drills should be conducted separately with groups of students already established as in-school cohorts and/or school bus cohorts. These drills may need to be adjusted to prevent overcrowding when exiting the bus and when gathering at the muster point. Portions of the evacuation drill may not be able to be conducted, such as evacuating a school bus from the rear exit door because it requires physical contact to assist students exiting the bus. In this case, verbal instructions should be given. Students should also be reminded that in a real emergency situation, they should exit the bus as quickly as possible. Hand hygiene must be performed before and after being on the bus.

Board and PAC Meetings

The LRSD Board of Trustees will continue to meet regularly throughout 2021-2022 (see schedule). Meetings will occur at our Monterey Board Offices as well as via Microsoft Teams to adhere to current Public Health orders. Public participation is welcome, with advance registration required. 

Parent Advisory Councils may return to in-person meetings, providing all public health measures are followed.

Vision and Mission

LRSD remains firmly committed to its Vision, Mission and Values, Multi-Year Strategic Plan, and policies. By articulating LRSD's foundational principles, these documents provide clear direction. With the uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, clear direction is more important than ever. 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 2021-2022 and beyond.

Facility Use Permits

The permit process is being reviewed and the division is working to make updates that align with current public health orders and divisional policy.

School Photos

School photos may proceed provided that public health measures and divisional policy are followed. Photographers count as visitors to the school and therefore must show either proof they are fully vaccinated or a negative COVID test result within 48 hours. Photographers must wear masks while in the building. Scheduling must be arranged to avoid congestion and comingling of cohorts (K-6). Students must wear masks until just before photo is taken, remove them for the photo, and then put them back on. Photographers must be positioned 6 feet away. Traditional class photos are not an option at this time.

Food Handling

Only school staff or contracted service providers will handle, prepare, and serve food. Utensils will be used where applicable. School staff will remove shared food containers from eating areas. If single service packets of condiments are used, they will be provided directly to students. Prepackaged snacks are to be used and served directly to students.

School staff will open kitchen and cafeteria areas to eat but manage overcrowding and ensure proper hand hygiene practices.

Food and nutrition courses involving food preparation with students may continue if supervised by qualified staff who follow industry standards.

It is important to reinforce in children the policies of no food sharing and no water-bottle sharing. Generally, these policies are intended to reduce potential exposures to allergens, but the practice of not sharing food or water bottles in schools also helps reduce all communicable disease transmission among staff and children. 

Staff Services

LRSD staff should refer to the Safe Work Procedures on the Staff Services site to address staff-related matters about COVID-19.

Student and Family Preparedness

As mandated by Manitoba Education in Restoring Safe Schools: Planning Guide for 2021-2022 School Year, LRSD will continue to promote student and family preparedness by:
  • Developing comprehensive strategies for regular communication with families to raise awareness of the health and safety measures implemented at the school and across the division.
  • 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 has implemented to achieve these goals.

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 to ensure their children are not displaying symptoms prior to sending them to school or on the bus.
  • Daily screening for symptoms is critical to identify any potential cases of COVID-19 as quickly as possible before exposure to others. If someone is unsure whether they or their child should be tested and self-isolate, they should be directed to the COVID-19 Screening Tool. Screening questions are available at COVID-19 Screening Questions to facilitate this process.
  • 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.

All screening that identifies suspected cases of COVID-19 should be referred to Health Links – Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.
Symptom and exposure screening must occur at the start of each day.
  • Staff must self-monitor daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Staff who have any symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home, isolate, and be excluded from work. Schools must maintain records of staff absenteeism.
  • Signage, with exclusion criteria, will be posted at all entrances to the school.
A student or staff member who meets any of the exclusion criteria will not be admitted to the school and will be advised to immediately isolate and consult Health Links – Info Santé or their health care provider. More information on isolation requirements and exemptions.

A chronic stable cough, sneeze, runny nose, or nasal congestion that is unchanged and clearly linked to a known medical condition such as asthma or allergies, is not an absolute requirement for exclusion. As well, children who are crying can exhibit a runny nose. Changing or worsening of chronic symptoms requires isolation and contacting Health Links — Info Santé. Staff should exercise judgment based on the symptoms, but when in doubt, err on the side of caution by excluding the child and advising the parent or caregiver to contact Health Links — Info Santé or their health care provider.

Routine screening or monitoring of temperatures with a thermometer or other device to assess for fever is not recommended. Normal temperatures can vary throughout the day and can be different between individuals. It is recommended that parents and staff focus on monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, as outlined in the Screening Tool.

Rapid testing is another tool in Manitoba's testing arsenal to slow the spread of COVID-19 through fast identification.  Fast Pass sites offer a dedicated testing stream to teachers, educational support staff and other staff working in schools and directly with students. Fast Pass sites are also open to individuals working in licensed childcare centres, nursery schools and family/group child care homes throughout Manitoba. In most cases, Fast Pass clients will be able to access their test result on the same day of receiving a test.

Student Public Health Safety Protocols 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 always followed. 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 are a priority in LRSD schools and facilities. Washrooms are cleaned on a regular basis according to health and safety guidelines.

Mask Etiquette

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

  • 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 reusable, 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 backpack.
  • Wash your hands or apply alcohol-based sanitizer.

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

Disposable medical grade masks will be made available to staff, students, and visitors. The use of reusable cloth masks is discouraged in accordance with direction from Public Health.


Our divisional website continues to provide the most up to date and comprehensive information for students and families. Since March 2020, 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. LRSD's social media accounts also provide regular, real-time updates. 

The division uses the MailChimp email platform to regularly communicate vital information to families. If you are not receiving our MailChimp updates, please reach out to your child’s home school to ensure your contact information is updated and you are opted in. 

In addition, LRSD's Senior Leadership Team will continue to engage all stakeholders and gather feedback from the community through various surveys and direct consultations as we move into the 2021-2022 school year. 

Learning Preparedness

The impacts of COVID-19 on student learning will be felt into the 2021/2022 school year and beyond. These impacts have affected students and staff in different ways and a varied, strategic approach to address them is required. 
As the new school year begins, teachers and students will collaboratively assess strengths, identify challenges, and set new learning goals. The information gathered from these formative assessments can be used to plan rich learning experiences and targeted interventions. Student assessment and transition planning should emphasize and respond to learning needs identified in June 2021 report cards.
School teams will incorporate the following principles in their approach to addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on student learning:
  • addressing the mental well-being of students and staff upon resumption of in-class learning as a foundation for learning
  • using assessments to further understand the impacts of COVID-19 for learners, examining themes across classes and school communities, and using the results to inform planning
  • understanding individual students’ unique strengths and needs
  • building plans that acknowledge the diversity of student and educator experiences during the pandemic
  • collaborating with students, parents/caregivers, other classroom teachers, and student services personnel
  • meeting students where they are in their learning process as they transition from periods of remote learning back to in-class learning
  • developing plans to address the holistic needs of students, especially students identified as having been most at risk during the pandemic
  • providing access to rich learning experiences in all subject areas

Teaching and Learning

Classroom Seating and Physical Distancing

We should maintain distancing up to 2 metres as much as possible. There should always be at least 1 metre of physical distance between students while seated in class. Physical distancing should be prioritized in common areas. Each classroom space should be verified using the Physical Distancing Calculator to ensure that all available space has been used to maximize distancing between students.

Kindergarten and Hands-On Learning

Play is a powerful antidote to stress and can be very therapeutic for children who may have experienced trauma related to the impacts of COVID-19 on their family. Play promotes physical and mental health and development, and gives young learners an  outlet for their energy, concerns, and emotions. Grade 1 students who did not attend in-person Kindergarten due to COVID-19 may also benefit from a more playful introduction to school.

Play centres are recommended for kindergarten and pre-school classrooms, provided children follow good hygiene practice before and after use. As classroom space allows, teachers may reduce the number of children at each play centre to minimize direct contact as much as possible and allow children to make self-selected choices during this time. Environmental cues, such as two chairs at a centre, will help children see how many friends can play there.

Morning and afternoon or alternate day kindergarten classes will make up separate cohorts. Many materials and games can remain in use if children wash their hands before and after their use. Clean and disinfect the tables at least once per day. Manipulatives should be cleaned as per regular pre-COVID-19 procedures and practices.

As per standard procedures, it is recommended that schools have toys that are easily cleaned and disinfected. It may be prudent to increase the frequency of the cleaning schedule for these items, especially when illness is circulating in the setting or the local community, or if symptomatic staff and children have been touching the toys. Toys without hard surfaces, should be removed as they cannot be easily cleaned.

Plush toys should be avoided. Children’s personal toys (i.e., for security or comfort) are not to be shared with other children and should be stored in a way that ensures this.

Utilizing the outdoors for teaching continues to be a priority. As long as weather permits, teachers will be encouraged to plan to use outdoor learning environments as much as possible. Children may play on play structures or play equipment (e.g., tire swings, playhouses) as long as spacing can be maintained and they clean their hands before and after. Sharing toys in an outside setting (e.g., a sandbox) is permitted as long as effective hand hygiene can be ensured before and after play.

Special Considerations for Kindergarten

Teachers will encourage movement during free play and build resilience by keeping children engaged, emphasizing the program structure and schedule, and providing children with choices when possible. 

School and Classroom Libraries

School and classroom libraries are open for use. Ensure good hand hygiene before and after use.

Practical Arts

Students in grades 7 and 8 will resume Practical Arts programming at the assigned locations. Information on each school’s programming will be provided to parents by their home school.

Arts Education (Dramatic Arts, Music, Visual Arts and Dance)

Arts education (dance, dramatic arts, music, and visual arts) is important in supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic growth. Arts programming will safely continue and be adapted to follow public health guidelines. This applies to both curricular and extracurricular activities.

Wind instruments and indoor singing are allowed, while ensuring adequate ventilation and encouraging physical distancing where possible. Instruments, including accessories (e.g. drum sticks, mallets) should not be shared, except for equity of access purposes. If sharing, instruments and accessories will be cleaned and disinfected between users.

Arts teachers should be teaching in their own classrooms as much as possible. However, Arts learning can also be modified in a variety of ways if required in order to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Examples of modifications include teaching outdoors, having teachers travel from class to class, and using online learning. When planning, school teams implement plans based on their individual contexts. 

Physical Education

Physical education activities will mirror current public health orders. Physical education teachers will continue to maximize outdoor learning as much as possible, as they present a lower risk for transmission of COVID-19. A more detailed document has been developed to provide guidance on how sports and other activities could be modified/adapted to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It is available at Province of Manitoba - Sports Guidelines.

Students in K-6 will not change for Phys. Ed.. Students in grades 7-12 may change for Physical Education classes providing the number of students changing at a time allows for 1-2 metres of physical distancing.

Additional information can be found at Sport Manitoba COVID-19 Update and also at the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association - 2021-2022 Return to School Sport Plan.

Sports Teams

The Louis Riel School Division will continue to collaborate with partner organizations (SCAC, MHSAA) to ensure a safe return to play occurs for extracurricular and interscholastic sport.

As schools reintroduce sport opportunities for students, families will receive updated information directly from their schools.

Additional information can be found at Sport Manitoba COVID-19 Update and also at the Manitoba High Schools Athletic Association - 2021-2022 Return to School Sport Plan.

The Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre

The Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre, in partnership with Manitoba Education and St. James Assiniboia School Division will continue to support and maintain resources for school divisions, schools, families, and students who are teaching and learning remotely during the 2021-2022 school year. LRSD has been allocated a number of seats in the MRLSC for students in kindergarten to grade 8 (English and French Immersion) who are immunocompromised or who live in a household with someone who is immunocompromised. A medical note is required for referral to the MRLSC. Please contact your home school Principal for more information. Should a parent wish to have their child return to their brick and mortar home school at any point in the school year, a medical note indicating it is safe to do so will be required.

Students in grades 9 to 12 in English program schools who are required to learn from home for medical reasons can register for InformNet beginning August 30, 2021, after advising their home school principal. Students in grades 9 to 12 in French Immersion schools can register with their home school for a program offered by LRSD.   

Online and Technology Capacity

LRSD continues to leverage technology such as Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Teams, to support teaching and learning during a pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic our priorities have been:

  • Ensuring students have access to the internet and laptops. 

  • Offering professional development for teachers to transition to an online teaching environment

  • Enhancing technology in the classroom for staff and students

Online tools such as Microsoft Teams and OneDrive have become part of daily classroom routines, even with the majority of students continuing to learn in schools. 

Local Field Trips

Field trips and off-site activities form an essential part of the learning experience for students at all grade levels. 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.

  • Enhanced planning for field trips will be necessary to ensure the health guidelines are met. When planning outings or field trips, consider the following:

    • Outdoor settings are lower risk for transmission of COVID-19.

    • Avoid crowded venues.

    • Ensure there is access to handwashing and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizer during the outing. Handwashing will be required if the activity involves getting hands soiled.

  • For group transportation, physical distancing and/or cohorts need to be maintained. 

  • Staff members organizing off-site field trips will ensure that any public health requirements of the site being visited are met by the group attending.

Overnight trips are currently prohibited. Any changes will follow public health orders at the time.

Out-of-Province Student Travel

All out-of-province student travel remains suspended, subject to ongoing review. Planning for the return to possible out-of-province travel will require approval from the Superintendent's Department. Planning will require:  

  • Clear consideration for student and staff safety and well-being.

  • Consideration of COVID-19 circumstances and conditions in the destination region. 

  • Addressing travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, and vaccination requirements that may be in place for various regions and countries. 

  • Fulfulling all criteria required, including vaccination requirements for students and staff, in order to secure appropriate travel and medical insurance. 

Recess and Lunch Breaks

Public health officials advise that playgrounds and play structures are low risk for transmission. There are no specific requirements for cleaning play structures. Schools must also:

  • schedule outdoor play to maintain cohorts of children and staff for kindergarten to Grade 6.

  • practise good hand hygiene before and after use of shared equipment and before and after recess/lunch breaks.

  • mark zones, manage group sizes, and avoid contact among groups.

  • masks are not required while playing outside (schools will develop their own processes for managing transitions).

Students are encouraged to bring their own lunches or provided lunches must be individually wrapped in disposable containers. If weather permits, lunch breaks may be held outside. Schools can continue to offer cafeteria services and breakfast, and lunch programs, provided they follow public health recommendations and orders in place at the time. Family-style, buffet, or potluck meals should be avoided.


Students are encouraged to keep personal belongings with them.

Assemblies and Gatherings

Staff will minimize the use of assemblies and gatherings in schools to avoid crowding. Consider smaller grade-specific or cohorted assemblies. Types and size of gatherings and assemblies need to align with public health recommendations and orders at the time.

Schools and school divisions may conduct opening exercises in accordance with public health measures at the time.

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

Strategies to support the mental health and well-being of students will be documented using the Class Profile template; in instances where needs are particularly complex, a student-specific plan may be necessary. See the documents:

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.
  • 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.

Looking to Data

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 reproducible available here; English summary available here; French summary available here).

Each year, students arrive in classrooms with varying abilities. To mitigate this reality and thus promote the success of each student, schools employ several 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.

Teachers will adapt their teaching practices to meet the needs of their students and will:
  • 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

Planning Structures

School teams have considered 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: 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 Kindergarten

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 ensured 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 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 implemented 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.

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.

Personal Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Handwashing with soap and water for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds is the recommended hand hygiene practice. Staff and students must engage in frequent hand hygiene, including at the following times:
  • the start of the day and before going home
  • before and after recess
  • after going to the washroom and helping children with washroom routines after a diaper change (both children and staff)
  • before and after preparing food
  • before eating or drinking
  • after getting hands dirty
  • after wiping nose or handling dirty tissues
  • after coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose
  • after soothing a crying child
  • before and after putting on and taking off a mask
  • before and after being on a bus
  • after cleaning tasks (staff)
  • before and after playful learning with books, toys and other materials in Early Years classrooms

School staff will help young children to ensure handwashing is done correctly.

Hand hygiene will be reinforced in all classrooms and alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be made available at all building access points and throughout schools and divisional facilities. Young children will require supervision when using alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Schools will ensure the on-going practice of hand hygiene stations at entrances and exits to school facilities and classrooms and encourage frequent usage.
Good hygiene practices can be taught in an age-appropriate and playful manner. School teams may want to have timers to help ensure students wash for an adequate amount of time. See how many 15- to 20-second songs the children can identify. 

Respiratory etiquette should be modelled, taught, and reinforced regularly. This includes coughing and sneezing into a tissue or sleeve, as well as properly and promptly disposing of any used tissues, and exercising proper hand hygiene.

Personal items (e.g., hats, hair accessories, lip balm, food, and drinks) should not be shared. Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes, and encourage children to do the same.

As part of these routine measures, signage should be posted and highly visible, and it should include visual cues that remind staff and children to perform hand hygiene (e.g., sneezing or coughing into their elbow, putting used tissues in a waste receptacle, and washing hands or using hand sanitizer immediately after using tissues). Several printable resources, including posters and fact sheets, are available online at the following websites:

Physical distancing is encouraged to the greatest extent possible.

For Kindergarten to Grade 6 where cohorts are in place, physical distancing should be practised outside of the classroom/cohort and during non-instructional activities (e.g, entering/exiting the school, recess, lunch, breaks, etc.).  

All schools will work to avoid overcrowding in indoor common spaces and implement strategies to spread people out within the available space. Schools will manage the flow of people in common areas, including hallways, to minimize crowding and allow for the ease of people passing through. They will implement the practice of staggered entrance and exit times or use separate entrances (if feasible). 

Schools will implement physical distancing requirements of one to two metres to the greatest extent possible.

The maximum number of individuals congregating in a common space for extracurricular indoor and outdoor settings, including staff meetings, must comply with the up-to-date public health orders.

Mask Etiquette

Staff will follow the same Public Health Safety Mask Etiquette as students. 

Masks are mandated for all students, staff, and visitors. Public health will continue to monitor closely and will adjust guidance as needed. Masks and personal protective equipment will be available to staff and students for use.

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.

A Caring and Collaborative Approach

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

Our aim is to not only start school in September in a safe and welcoming way, but also to sustain that effort and stay in school despite the fourth wave. Even as public health orders and guidelines are loosened, the continued vigilant practice of screening for symptoms, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, physical distancing when possible, mask wearing and vaccination will be required to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.

No matter the level of response to the pandemic in which we find ourselves and regardless of the physical location in which we learn and teach, equity and inclusion will remain our 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 continue to engage in a collective process of reflection to strengthen what has worked and to respond to emerging needs.

Our approach to navigating 2021-2022 and beyond will continue to focus on two interconnected purposes that are the core mandate in LRSD: learning and well-becoming.

Christian Michalik, Superintendent 

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      <span title="_begincolumn">False</span>
      <span title="_group">UserfulLinks</span>
      <span title="_linkurl">
        <a href="https://www.lrsd.net/news/pages/covid-19-resources-updated.aspx">https://www.lrsd.net/news/pages/covid-19-resources-updated.aspx</a>
      <span title="_openinnewwindow">True</span>
    <div title="_link">
      <span title="_title">ResourcesDownloads</span>
      <span title="_order">4</span>
      <span title="_begincolumn">False</span>
      <span title="_isgroupheader">True</span>
      <span title="_groupstyle"></span>
  <div title="_view">
    <span title="_columns">1</span>
    <span title="_linkstyle"></span>
    <span title="_groupstyle"></span>
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Get the latest #VaxFacts about the COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11! #ProtectMB Find helpful tips on how to prepare ahead of time, how to book an appointment and what to expect afterward: https://t.co/sxr8oHk8l1 https://t.co/k1wUmoFlG8

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Looking to cozy up with a good book this weekend? Check out our Great New Canadian reading list curated by the LRSD Library Services team 📚❄ Find recommendations for children, teens and young adults. View the list and discover how to access the titles: https://t.co/HDcvhxO09L https://t.co/dQN8raDstf

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LRSD COMMUNITY: You've got mail! ✉ Today, we sent out all three of our regularly scheduled newsletters to staff and parents/guardians with important information and updates. Look for an email from communications@news.lrsd.net. https://t.co/9QwhhnPSMz

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