Both the Winnipeg School Division and Pembina Trails School Division are reassuring parents and students about planning for distance learning, and reassessing their budgets to accommodate the same.
The Winnipeg School Division is continuing to support teachers and schools in providing materials for students to learn from home, given that the suspension of in-school classes has been extended indefinitely.
They are also tracking changes to their operating budget, tagging those with a notation about COVID-19.
"Accommodating teachers to provide home-learning is generating some additional costs, especially in the area of paper and printing costs which we will continue to incur for the length of the class suspension," Radean Carter, senior information officer with the Winnipeg School Division, said in an email.
Last week, the school division was planning how school staff would be allocated during the indefinite suspension.
"We do anticipate that we will be shifting funds to ensure teachers and students have resources for home-learning, and we also anticipate redeploying non-teaching staff to provide supports for teachers, especially with outreach and student contact," Carter said.
Pembina Trails also anticipates additional costs will be associated with addressing equity around learning devices, whether it’s providing hard copies of learning materials or mobile devices on a limited basis.
"There will be savings from not running buses, such as fuel and maintenance," Stacey Ashley, communications officer with the Pembina Trails division, said in an email, adding it is too soon to elaborate on all divisional costs.
The division is reassuring parents that all students will get the support they need, including special needs students. In the latter case, student services teachers will be delivering programs remotely, said Ashley.
"We aim to be inclusive and to support our all our 15,500 students who will be learning from home indefinitely. Our amazing teachers are in contact with all of their students, by phone or email, to ensure they have what they need," she said. "When digital is not an option, we are providing hard copies of learning materials. We may consider providing mobile devices on a limited basis."
Both school divisions sent out more details of the continued suspension ordered by the provincial education minister on March 31.
Some of those include:
Susie Strachan is the community journalist for The Sou'wester. Call her at 204-697-7150 or 204-583-4718 or email her at: email@example.com
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