This morning, Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, and Premier Brian Pallister held a press conference to announce their decision to move the entire province of Manitoba to Critical (Red) on the Manitoba Pandemic Response System.
While new restrictions are coming in combination with closures of non-essential stores that will take effect on Thursday, Nov. 12, schools have not been included in the move to the province-wide Critical (Red) level.
We know these new measures to flatten the COVID-19 curve only compound the feelings of anxiety, confusion and concern that many of us have been feeling since the pandemic arrived in Manitoba in March.
Throughout the summer months, my colleagues and I came together to figure out how to make our schools as safe as possible for staff and students. It began with ensuring each one of our buildings allowed two metres of physical distancing for each person. Increased air circulation in schools, enhanced cleaning procedures, and face mask protocols were layered on top of this public health safety fundamental to further reduce any potential virus transmission. There are many other safety procedures in effect across the division so that staff and students can take part in an engaging, caring and inclusive learning environment.
Based on Dr. Roussin's daily press conferences, we know case counts in Manitoba are headed in the wrong direction. That said, transmission is happening in the community—
not inside our schools. With all the public health safety procedures and protocols in place and LRSD staff's collective desire to do all they can to keep us safe, I am confident our schools are safe and the best place for children to learn.
I can assure our community that while we take the province-wide escalation to Critical (Red) seriously, we are committed to the continued safety of staff, students and families, no matter what level is currently in effect.
In a meeting this evening, I was joined by the principals and vice-principals from the 40 schools across our division. As we discussed what we've done since September to prepare our schools for a return to in-school learning, each person in the meeting echoed the same sentiment—our schools are safe
Many families have let us know that their children are happy in school and adjusting to our new reality. I've also heard that students across the division have fully engaged with their teachers, peers, and ongoing learning journey.
And in the midst of a pandemic, that's news I think we can all celebrate.
As always, if you have any feedback or concerns about anything you've read, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.
Stay safe and be well,
Christian Michalik, Superintendent and CEO