Manitoba’s largest rural school division will shutter its schools to virtually all in-person learning starting Tuesday, as the division is moved to the red, or critical, level on the province’s pandemic response system.
Students in the Hanover School Division will make the move to remote learning effective Tuesday, the division said in a news release Friday, amid a surge cases of COVID-19 in the area.
“This action is taken as a preventative safety measure in response to the increased test positivity rate in Steinbach and the RM of Hanover,” the division said in the news release.
“The decision to move Hanover School Division to the Critical (Red) level is not a reflection of school-based virus transmission.”
The division serves roughly 8,500 students in nine Manitoba communities, including Blumenort, Mitchell and Steinbach.
That region has seen skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks, including test positivity rates of 30 per cent in the RM of Hanover and 40 per cent in the Steinbach health district, according to Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, on Friday.
Schools still open Monday
All Hanover schools will stay open on Monday, the division said in the release.
Schools will also remain open to kindergarten to Grade 6 students who are children of critical services workers, if their parents can’t make alternative care arrangements, the division said. Those students will get the same teacher-led remote learning as their peers, but they can do it at school.
There may also be accommodation for students over the age of 12 whose parents are critical services workers, or who have disabilities or needs that mean they can’t stay home on their own.
Critical services workers who identified in-class learning as required in a recent survey can still send their children to school on Tuesday, the division said.
Schools will continue to communicate in the coming days, the division said. Parents and guardians who have questions can also call their kids’ schools on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.