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Planning for January 2021

December 4, 2020

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced details about “remote” learning for students in 2021:

  • Students in grades 7 to 12 will participate in a mandatory “remote” learning period from Monday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 15.
  • Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 will have the option to remain in school or move to “remote” learning during the same two-week period.

The government decision was made out of an abundance of caution to mitigate a potential spike in COVID-19 cases following the holiday break. Minister Goertzen explained that evidence has shown older students are more likely to contract and spread the virus because they have a larger number of close contacts. 

Both of these examples show the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are less than 1 per cent:
  • Percentage of students in K-6 with a positive COVID-19 cases: 0.2% (16 students/7,888)
  • Percentage of grades 7-12 students with a confirmed positive COVID-19 case: 0.4% (46 students/7,049)

This data supports and confirms the government’s evidence that:
  • Our schools are safe
  • Students in grades 7 to 12 have a higher incidence of contracting the virus 

Our data also show: 
  • Few LRSD students in K-12 have been confirmed as a positive COVID-19 case by Public Health
  • To date, none of our schools have been instructed by Public Health to move to Critical (Red) 

Staff and students are vigilantly implementing our numerous and rigourous public health safety protocols to help mitigate and manage positive cases at all grade levels. We are confident our schools are safe for all staff and students. 

Since the announcement, I have been in dialogue with senior leadership, principals and vice-principals to determine how we implement the government’s latest direction. To help parents/guardians understand the impact of the government direction on their children, we have created the following FAQ.

Is it safe for my child to attend school during the month of December? 

Public health officials have confirmed that schools are safe. The number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases in LRSD schools remains low. Our rigourous public health safety protocols help mitigate and manage positive cases across all grade levels. The decision to move students in grades 7-12 to “remote” learning for the first two weeks of January was made out of an abundance of caution to mitigate an anticipated spike in COVID-19 cases following the holiday break. 

Grades K-6: 

How do I let my school know that I want my children to continue in-class learning or learning from home?

Our schools are safe and the best place for students to learn.

Parents/guardians will receive a survey on Monday, Dec. 7, asking them to confirm in-school attendance or learning from home that needs to be completed by Wednesday, Dec. 9. 

What does the remote learning option for kindergarten to Grade 6 students require?

Parents/guardians choosing this option must provide support, engagement and supervision of their child’s daily learning during the two-week period.

What learning materials is the school providing for students who choose learning from home for the two-week period?

Parents who choose to have their children in K-6 learn from home from Monday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 15, will receive a learning package prepared by the division. Grade-level specific packages will be distributed to schools to allow for personalization and customization. Each grade-level package will include: 
  • A collection of grade-appropriate printed learning resources 
  • Daily learning schedules for each day of the two-week remote learning period  
  • Links to online resources 

Each student learning from home will receive a package by Dec. 18, at the latest. 

Will anyone from the school check in during the remote learning period?

School staff will regularly check in with students throughout the two-week learning from home period.  

Why can’t my child just watch their teacher on Microsoft Teams from home during the two-week period? 

We want teachers within our schools to continue to vigilantly monitor two metres of physical distancing, mask-wearing, cohorting, and the movement of students, while also focusing on students’ well-being and learning. The approach in LRSD is to distinguish between learning from home and learning at school. For students in schools in K-6, we have assigned our teachers to focus on teaching students in class for the first two weeks in January. 

If I choose remote learning for my child in K-6 for the two-week period, can I change my mind and send them back to school?

The expectation is that any family who chooses learning from home during the first two weeks in January will be learning from home for the entire duration.

What happens for students in K-6 at the end of the two-week remote learning period?

It is expected that all students who engaged in learning from home for the two-week period will return to in-school learning on Jan. 18 unless otherwise determined by Public Health.

Will students in K-6 learning from home have their work graded?

Teachers will acknowledge the learning and provide feedback to students. Given the challenges related to remote learning, the most meaningful feedback about completed work will occur upon students’ return to school.

Can I enrol my child in the Learning from Home School or Temporary Learning from Home Option? 

The Learning from Home School supports 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. If your child must learn from home for the remainder of the school year due to a medical condition that affects them or a member of the household, please contact your current school principal to discuss further. 

The Temporary Learning from Home Option (TLFHO) is currently at capacity; however, parents/guardians can contact their current school principal to be added to the waitlist. The TLFHO is a long-term temporary learning option. Click here to learn more. 

Grades 7-12: 

What will “remote” learning look like for students in grades 7-12 from Jan. 4 to Jan. 15?

Before students leave for the winter break, teachers will work with students to co-create the necessary learning culture, expectations and routines that leverage technology for a successful learning experience from home.

While not an official move to Critical (Red) on the Manitoba Pandemic Response System, the two-week learning from home period for students in grades 7-12 will be quite similar. Students will:
  • Have a daily schedule
  • Complete projects and assignments
  • Collaborate with their peers
  • Participate in live-streamed (synchronous) and pre-recorded (asynchronous) learning

What if a student needs a device or access to an internet connection? 

The division will support families who require devices or internet connection during the two-week learning from home period in January. Parents will be asked to identify their internet and computer needs in the survey that will be sent on Monday, Dec. 7.


What if my child has additional needs and requires in-school learning?  

The division will continue to collaborate with families to provide the necessary support on a student-specific basis. This support may include in-school attendance, if it can be accommodated.


What happened to Critical (Red)? 

While this new government direction is not a move to Critical (Red), we’ve been planning for that possibility since September. The next two weeks will give us time to finalize our plan if public health officials determine that all schools are moving to Critical (Red) over the holiday period or at any future point in time. All staff and all parents/guardians in all 40 schools will know the plan for Critical (Red) before the winter break.
 
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