New measures coming to schools in Winnipeg and northern Manitoba to stop COVID-19 spread

WINNIPEG — Due to the rising number of cases in both the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region and in Northern Manitoba, new measures are coming to all schools in those regions next week

On Thursday, Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, announced these new measures will take effect on Oct. 26 and will last as long as the two regions remain under the orange or restricted level.

Under the new measures, schools need to ensure physical distancing “to the greatest extent possible,” and adjust the space in the classroom as necessary. Excess furniture in classrooms needs to be removed to create additional space. Other areas in the school, such as multi-purpose rooms, shared spaces, and libraries, need to be repurposed to accommodate more distancing.

Roussin said teachers and staff who move across cohorts of students, including substitute teachers, are now required to wear medical masks, and medical-grade disposable masks have been issued to all schools.

The current blended learning model, which sees students attend school both in-class and online on different days, will continue for grades 9 to 12. Roussin added Kindergarten to Grade 8 students may now be offered a temporary remote learning option while the restricted level remains in effect.

The new restrictions also only permit extracurricular activities if all learning and distancing requirements are met. In the case of sports, distance needs to be maintained when participants are not playing. All field trips are to be postponed or cancelled.

Indoor choir and the use of wind instruments are both not allowed.

This is a developing story. More to come.

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