Coronavirus: Manitoba government announces coursework guidelines, ‘recovery learning’ in the fall

The Manitoba government has released a new set of guidelines for students who are staying home due to the coronavirus pandemic and sent it to school divisions in the province.

School divisions say they received the document on Friday, April 17.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Manitoba schools to remain closed indefinitely for school year

The document outlines a minimum average of five hours per week of curriculum-based learning for students from kindergarten to Grade 4 and 10 hours per week for students in grades 5 to 8.

Teachers of grades 9 to 12 are being directed to plan for a minimum of three hours of curriculum-based learning per course per week for semestered courses.

The document also warns that high school students “who do not engage in remote learning will be required to undertake recovery learning next school year.”

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Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba closes schools for the remainder of the school year
Coronavirus outbreak: Manitoba closes schools for the remainder of the school year

It goes on to add that for all grades, “report cards will also indicate whether the student will require recovery learning” in the next school year, but it doesn’t specify what “recovery learning” would entail.

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In a statement, the Manitoba government says the guidelines were developed after discussions with school divisions and stakeholders.

“These guidelines clarify the expectations for divisions, teachers, parents and students. To the extent possible, divisions should use these guidelines to advance remote education,” the statement reads.

“The government understands that capacity varies between divisions and the needs of students varies across grades and throughout regions. However, this uniform approach will help ensure that all students are offered the opportunity for continued education.”

Amanda Gaudes, senior communications co-ordinator with the River East Transcona School Division, says recovery learning takes place at the beginning of every school year.

“Teachers will assess where students are when they return to normal classes and adjust their programming accordingly,” she said. 

READ MORE: Manitoba government delays education report over COVID-19 uncertainty

Christian Michalik, superintendent of schools for the Louis Riel School Division, says his division is working to try to help parents.

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“We put out these guidelines and we have to talk, we have to listen and see if we are getting it right,” he said.

“I’ve talked to parents that have three children that actually span all of these age groups — early, middle and high school — that are working from home. If I had to do what I’m doing now as superintendent and also manage the learning of younger children, I would really be finding it challenging to find balance.”

Michalik stressed that parents need to communicate with their child’s teacher if they need help or their student is struggling.

“We are building the bicycle of remote learning in a way that no one could have conceived of a month ago,” he said. “We are building that bicycle as we ride it. We have to be very generous and patient with each other and resilient.”

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