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 are paramount in keeping students and staff safe, healthy and in schools throughout the pandemic.
Since the start of the 2020-2021 school year, all 40 schools have effectively implemented two metres of physical distancing between students and the use of cohorts for all students and staff in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
All students and staff are asked to wear masks throughout the entire school day while providing 'mask-breaks' when there is two-metres of physical distancing. For students in kindergarten to Grade 3, there are no requirements, but we have developed a collective agreement for enhanced mask-wearing. For students in Grade 4 and above, we ask them to wear a mask at all times, including physical education and recess. The bus driver and all school bus passengers continue to be required to wear a mask on the bus.
The Manitoba Pandemic Response System is comprised of four levels ranging from Limited Risk (Green) to Critical (Red). All schools in the Louis Riel School Division have been following Restricted (Orange) measures since the beginning of the school year.
The robust and fully staffed Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) Learning from Home School (LFHS)/L'École Apprendre-chez-soi
opened its doors in September to support students in kindergarten to Grade 12 who are required to learn from home due to a medical condition that affects them or a member of the household.
LRSD followed up with a Temporary Learning from Home Option (TLFHO) in December 2020 in response to parental concerns in light of the test positivity rate in Winnipeg. In addition to this, LRSD followed provincial direction to have students in grades 7 through 12 learn from home during the two-week period following the winter break; this opportunity was extended on an optional basis to students in kindergarten to Grade 6.
On January 18, 2021, all K-12 students, other than those in the LFHS and TLFHO, returned to in class learning after the temporary two-week period of remote learning. According to Public Health, the current measures in place for schools are not likely to be reduced given the ongoing need to mitigate risk of transmission in schools for the remainder of the school year. The measures related to the Restricted (Orange) level on the Manitoba Pandemic Response System (PRS) outlined in this plan will likely be in place until June 30, 2021.
With the goal of providing students, staff and families constancy for the remainder of the school year, the Temporary Learning from Home Option (TLFHO) was integrated
into our Learning from Home School (LFHS) on February 1, 2021.
Schools also need to be ready for Critical (Red) level on the PRS plan if the public health situation changes in a school or larger part of our community.
The information outlined below is LRSD's comprehensive and up-to-date approach to navigating the 2020-2021 school year.
Christian Michalik, Superintendent
Our 'new reality' is such that a constant assessment of risk and public health measures to mitigate risk in our schools will continue until we arrive at a post-pandemic reality as a result of a successful vaccination effort and ongoing refinement of treatments for the virus.
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 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 identified 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
All levels of response need to support continued learning and well-being during the pandemic.
Staff in LRSD continue to comprehensively plan for all three levels of response.
In June 2020, a thorough audit of spaces in all 40 schools was conducted in order to facilitate planning for adequate physical
of students and staff. Cohorts involve keeping groups of students (e.g., classes) together and avoiding interactions with other groups.
These two requirements compelled us to reimagine how schools are organized so that smaller groups of students could be accommodated.
The overcrowding in several of our schools and the class-size in all our schools continues to require everyone's collaboration and contributions to accommodate physical distancing
of students and staff in many of our schools.
These two concepts also required 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)
- scheduling and timetabling in relationship to cohorting and Blended Learning
We use the words 'group
' and 'cohort
' rather than 'classroom
' purposely. One of our new realities is managing the circulation and interaction of students and staff in K-12 outside of their cohort
and considering all available spaces for these small learning groups
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.
(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 […], 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.
- 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.
- 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 is essential to ensure that students and staff thrive in 2020-2021.
Regular attendance is mandatory, whether a student is learning at school or at home. All students are expected to participate fully in their education instruction.. 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).
On Monday, Nov. 9, former Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced, "three additional non-instructional days [will be] added to the school calendar for the 2020-21 year so that schools can focus on collaborative planning as they shift and adapt to remote learning."
Two of the three non-instructional days were required to be implemented into school division schedules before Christmas, and divisions could identify which days they would be.
After discussion with principals and vice-principals from across the division, Monday, Nov. 30, Monday, Dec. 7, and Monday, May 31 were designated as the three additional non-instructional days for professional learning and dialogue for all employee groups in LRSD.
All professional development days should be focused on COVID-19-related priorities and responses.Non-instructional Days in LRSD for 2020-2021
- Wednesday, September 2, 2020
- Thursday, September 3, 2020
- Friday, September 4, 2020
- Friday, October 23, 2020
- Friday, November 20, 2020
- Monday, November 30, 2020
- Monday, December 7, 2020
- Friday, March 19, 2021
- Friday, April 16, 2021
- Friday, May 7, 2021
- Monday, May 31, 2021
In order to accommodate a range of reporting dates related to student progress evaluations in 40 school communities, schools were directed to schedule two additional non-instructional dates
. Other dates of note include:Winter Break
Last Day of School: Friday, December 18, 2020
School Re-opens: Monday, January 4, 2021Spring Break
Last Day of School: Friday, March 26, 2021
School Re-opens: Monday, April 5, 2021Last day of school in 2020-2021
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Opening Day Conferences
Rather than traditional Opening Day Conferences, schools implemented staggered entries and communicated with parents/guardians outdoors, virtually or by phone, rather than in classrooms. The community can anticipate a similar return to school in September 2021 given what we know about the virus at this time.
An update from Manitoba Education on the provincial tests and assessments schedule for the 2020-2021 school year: Grades 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
In October 2020, a decision was made to suspend the Grade 12 provincial tests for the January 2021 administration. Further to this, a subsequent decision has been made to suspend the Grade 12 provincial tests for the June 2021 administration.
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
- 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.
Safety and Health Protocols
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
. Current procedures related to COVID-19 include:
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.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 encourage students, families and staff to engage in thinking and activities in support their wellbeing.
A video explanation is available here.
- 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 Students in 2020-2021
The shift to a "new normal" for schooling during the pandemic is 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.
- 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
The use of masks is mandatory for staff and students in schools when two metres of physical distancing cannot be achieved.
In accordance with provincial requirements, 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.
All students and staff are asked to wear masks throughout the entire school day, with allowance for 'mask-breaks' for students when two metres of physical distancing is achieved. An exception to this directive applies to individuals with certain conditions and needs.
While there are no requirements for students in kindergarten to Grade 3 to wear masks, we have achieved a collective agreement for all students in kindergarten to Grade 12 to wear masks throughout the school day, including during physical education and recess. Since September, we've seen that students of all ages from kindergarten to Grade 12 can learn to wear masks in a healthy and sustained way.
LRSD continues to provide 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.
The Government of Manitoba has released guidance for mask use in schools, including a Wear It Well poster (in English
) 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.
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.
To ensure two metres of physical distancing for all students and all staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 when in learning groups, music rooms in some schools have been reallocated for classroom instruction.
In schools where a dedicated music room is not available, the teaching of music outcomes may be delivered by the music specialist in individual classrooms or 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 the Manitoba government's Restoring Safe Services: Phase Two, choirs or musical theatre and the playing of wind instruments are not allowed due to a higher risk of transmission. 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.
To ensure two metres of physical distancing for all students and all staff in kindergarten to Grade 12 when in learning groups, gymnasiums in some schools have been reallocated for classroom instruction or breakout spaces.
In all of our schools, physical education classes will take place outdoors for the year when possible. When it is unsafe for staff and students to be outdoors, programming will occur indoors with additional safety measures in place. LRSD has rented outdoor tents from Weatherwise Tent Rentals for schools that do not have access to their gymnasium or adequate space in empty classrooms for physical education classes during the winter months.
Please refer to the province's Sports Guidelines
for further guidance and the most recent directives on how sports and other activities may be modified/adapted to reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
Re-Opening and Schooling Scenarios
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 Learning and Teaching
Our plan to mitigate risk in schools requires us to temporarily reimagine teachers and educational assistants in relationship to smaller learning cohorts of students and a holistic approach to learning and teaching.
Some staff assignments were changed 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 we are successful in navigating the pandemic, 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 school systems in 2020-2021 will need 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 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.
- Additional laptops (and other mobile learning technologies) for students and staff were ordered
- 1,403 laptops are currently with students for home use
- If a move to Critical (Red) is necessary, 3,527 students require laptops
- 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 have been 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.
- 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.
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. Over 21 million files are currently stored in OneDrive. During the two-week "remote" learning period in January 2021:
More than 15,000 online teacher/student meetings were organized
- More than 4,500 1:1 calls took place
- More than 17,000 chat messages channel messages were posted
On July 30, 2020, the Manitoba government loosened its Guidelines for Transportation to Schools for the 2020-2021 school year. With this change to the Guidelines, LRSD does not have the capacity to transport 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.
Student Services and Clinical Services
Student Services and Clinical Services staff continue to navigate 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.
It is 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
- The well-being of students, families and staff
- A focus on equity for our most vulnerable students
- Maintaining connections between school staff and students
- Student specific resources/supports and services can be effectively provided remotely if necessary
- We continue with our service delivery models whenever possible. However, ongoing capacity building (identification and preparation) for remote and small cohort learning opportunities is 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 continue to 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.
- Engage in student transition planning for the 2021-2022 school 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.
- Arrange 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.
- 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.
Student Specific Plans
The Role of Support Staff Working with Students During Pandemic Restrictions in LRSD
- 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).
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, 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.
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 is 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 Inclusion and Clinical Services or Assistant Superintendent of Staff Services.
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 long will I have to work from home, 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
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 did not put our collaboration on hold. The division and ELCC partnership has continued and has been paramount to ensuring a safe and consistent approach to opening spaces for children in childcare centres located in divisional facilities.
The ongoing collaboration helped support the transition from the closure of child care services to providing child care for essential workers to expanding accommodation for all workers and, finally, to opening child care 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 child care 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
). 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.
The LRSD Board of Trustees will continue to meet regularly throughout 2020-2021 (see schedule
). Meetings occur via Microsoft Teams to adhere to current Public Health orders. Public participation is welcome, with advance registration required.
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 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 can be facilitated online but student attendance at school can 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. 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 are suspended until further notice.
Out-of-Province Student and Staff Travel
All out-of-province student travel is suspended for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. 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.