Since the summer, LRSD staff has spared no effort in preparing our schools to safely welcome staff and students into our buildings. Before we even opened our doors, core public health safety fundamentals such as two metres of physical distancing, screening procedures, mask usage and enhanced cleaning protocols were in place. We also created student cohorts, movement plans and infrastructure, such as outdoor classrooms and multiple hand washing stations, as additional ways to help mitigate the risk of virus transmission.
Even with all those measures in place, I know some parents in LRSD have received a public health letter saying an individual in the school community has tested positive for COVID-19. However, in each case to date, public health contact tracing investigations confirm that the virus was not acquired at school.
While the evidence
continues to demonstrate our schools are safe and the best place for students to learn, some families have asked for an alternative to in-class instruction. They’ve questioned why a ‘temporary remote learning’ option has been offered to students in other divisions and want to know why LRSD has yet to do the same.
In Restricted (Orange) on the Manitoba Pandemic Response System (PRS) for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region, the Manitoba government's guidelines stipulate that "schools are advised to ensure as much physical distancing as possible (two metres). Cohorts or remote/blended learning is required when this is not possible.
Since the start of the school year, our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has been regularly checking in with the school administration and staff to understand what’s happening in their specific community. They are letting us know about the impact the pandemic is having on them, students and families.
On Tuesday, the entire province was moved to the Critical (Red) level on the PRS because positive COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Manitoba.
Based on recent conversations with school leadership, we are now planning to offer a Temporary Learning from Home Option (TLFHO) for students in kindergarten to Grade 8 (K-8) in both English and French Immersion, distinct from the LRSD Learning from Home School / L’École Apprendre-chez-soi (LFHS/EACS).
I suspect that some parents/guardians may have made a choice for their child as soon as they read “temporary learning from home option,” but I urge you to consider all the requirements before deciding.
I first need to reiterate what I’ve shared in previous messages—our schools are safe
Many families have let us know that their children are happy in school and adjusting to our new reality. We’ve witnessed how students across the division have fully engaged with their teachers, peers, and their ongoing in-school learning journey.
Parents/guardians who are interested in pursuing the TLFHO for their child must understand some key details:
- Parents/guardians will need to have a conversation with staff on the LRSD TLFHO Team before their child is transitioned to a TLFHO classroom.
- The teacher providing instruction in TLFHO will not be your child’s current classroom teacher. However, the LRSD TLFHO Team will work with your child's current school team to support a smooth transition.
- Families are committed to TLFHO for a fixed period of time.
- The division will determine the first opportunity to transition back to in-school learning, pending a change to Restricted (Orange) or Caution (Yellow) on the PRS for the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region.
- Parent/guardian support, engagement and review of their child’s progress is mandatory:
- Regular and consistent student attendance is required.
- Timely completion of assignments is required.
- Real-time online learning (synchronous) will consist of:
- Five to six hours of instruction (synchronous) per week in kindergarten
- Five to six hours of instruction (synchronous) per week in Grades 1 to 4
- Seven to eight hours of instruction (synchronous) per week in Grades 5 to 8
- Students will be expected to participate for the following minimum amounts of time (independent work that is supported by parents):
- Kindergarten: One hour per day
- Grades 1 to 4: Two and a half hours per day
- Grades 5 to 8: Three hours per day
- The curriculum will be limited to the following subjects (math, language arts, science and social studies)
We have begun work on the necessary pieces to bring this option to our community, but this won’t happen overnight. We ask for your patience as we continue to build the infrastructure and get personnel in place to ensure the delivery of a sustainable, high-quality, engaging and inclusive education. The start date will be determined once we have finalized enrolment and staffing.
If you’re considering the TLFHO for your child in grades K-8, please take the weekend to discuss the key details above as a family.
If you have a child in K-8 and would like to explore TLFHO, please call (204) 594-3540 on Monday, Nov. 16, between the hours of 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The LRSD call centre will also be open from Tuesday, Nov. 16 to Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Just as with students who need to be away temporarily for illness, high schools (grades 9 to 12) can support students who need to be away temporarily for other reasons. In many academic subjects, students have some, if not all, their course work available on Microsoft Teams or OneNote. Because of this, students can continue working from home through this digital option.
Teachers will continue to focus on supporting students who are attending in-school learning days. When a student is temporarily learning from home, assessments or specialized instruction may require in-person arrangements.
If your circumstances warrant special arrangements for a TLFHO, please contact your high school principal directly.
Stay safe and be well,
Christian Michalik, Superintendent and CEO