Extended Christmas break for Manitoba students being considered

The Manitoba government is thinking of extending the Christmas break at schools by an additional two weeks as it tries to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

Premier Brian Pallister confirmed Tuesday morning at a news conference the province is considering the idea.

Other provinces, including B.C. and Quebec, have also said it is mulling a longer break over the holidays. 

Dr. Brent Roussin told opposition MLAs in a teleconference Monday night that officials were thinking of expanding the Christmas break for an additional two weeks to incorporate one incubation period, the span in which somebody who contracted COVID-19 may spread it to someone else.

“One thought is to actually extend it after the holiday break because no matter how much messaging we do, we know there’s going to be a lot of gathering over the holidays,” Roussin said in a recording of the meeting, which was obtained by CBC News.

“If we can give it that one incubation period after the holidays, we might be able to save ourselves a lot of introduction of the virus at schools.”

Roussin has maintained for weeks that schools can remain open because the vast majority of COVID-19 cases found in educational settings were contracted through community transmission.

The Christmas break at Manitoba’s public schools is currently scheduled from Dec. 19 to Jan. 3.