The Manitoba government says help is on the way to bolster the ranks of substitute teachers and educational assistants for the rest of the school year as schools grapple with the fallout from COVID-19.
On Friday, the government announced Red River College will conduct two condensed training programs for people hired by school divisions to address staffing shortages for staff who get COVID-19 or are forced to isolate.
One program will provide short-term, basic training to prepare individuals hired on a temporary basis to teach. The second program will provide short-term, entry-level training to new educational assistants who would work under the direction of teaching staff.
"We are proud to work with our partners in the K-12 system to create solutions to address educational continuity and the pressing staffing needs identified by the task force as we navigate the home stretch of this unprecedented school year," said Fred Meier, president and CEO of the college.
Both 30-hour online programs will draw on existing training provided by the college and will be available in English and French, in part-time and full-time formats.
The province said school divisions will continue to hire qualified candidates through their standard processes and will refer candidates to the college for training. Intake will begin Jan. 18.
"We understand a key part of maintaining in-class learning during the COVID-19 pandemic requires that members of the school community remain home when sick," said newly appointed Education Minister Cliff Cullen.
"These programs are part of a $44-million commitment to assist alongside hiring more teachers and staff and ensuring a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, teachers and staff."
The programs were created by the college in collaboration with the Manitoba Association of School Superintendents.