Steinbach students will become the first in the province to enter division-wide remote learning next week once the Hanover School Division enters a restricted (code red) phase to further tighten the area’s lockdown.
Late Friday, interim superintendent Shelley Amos informed parents that Dr. Brent Roussin, the province's chief public health officer, has decided local schools are to close to all but the children of essential-service workers as of Tuesday.
Nineteen public schools from Hanover, one Division scolaire franco-manitobaine school, one funded independent school and seven non-funded independent schools are affected by the downgrade in code.
The announcement — the first of its kind in the current school year — means all Hanover students will move to teacher-led remote learning.
Essential-service workers’ children in kindergarten to Grade 6, and older students with disabilities preventing them from working independently at home, will be able to attend class in person if their school is able to accommodate them.
In those cases, students will participate in the same virtual or work package activities as their peers studying at home, but they will be supervised on school grounds. Their supervisor may not be their classroom teacher.
"This action is taken as a preventative safety measure in response to the increased test positivity rate in Steinbach and the (rural municipality) of Hanover," Amos wrote in an email update.
"(It) is not a reflection of school-based virus transmission."
Families are being asked to ensure their schools know if a parent is a critical-service worker.
While noting the division is not required to provide transportation while under code-red restrictions, Amos said administrators are exploring options, including the possibility of minimal bus service.
Schools will remain open Monday for those who cannot make child-care arrangements over the weekend.
Families can expect to receive further details from their child’s school.
Maggie Macintosh reports on education for the Winnipeg Free Press. Funding for the Free Press education reporter comes from the Government of Canada through the Local Journalism Initiative.