Opening schools safely during a pandemic
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/08/2020 (772 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The COVID-19 pandemic will make schools in Manitoba look different this fall. Significant investments of time and dollars to ensure a safe, clean learning environment for students are required.
Constituents are disappointed with the lack of clarity and information provided by our current government in its plan and guidelines. Many Transcona residents have mentioned that, after having five months to come up with a comprehensive plan, the actual document says very little about how school divisions will deal with an outbreak of COVID-19 in schools.
As I write this, individual school divisions must come up with their own individual plans for how they will open schools. Physical distancing will be a challenge, because most of our classrooms will not have the space to ensure two metres between students. On Aug. 19, the province said that non-medical masks will be required for students in grades 4 through 12 when physical distancing of two metres is not possible.
There are solutions to these problems but, because of a lack of funding being provided by the Pallister government, our school divisions will be challenged to provide the necessary resources.
Students, teachers and support staff deserve to return to school in well-planned safe environments. Using phrases such as “wherever possible” and “to the greatest of their ability” is not a plan. Stakeholders expect more boldness, creativity and clarity from the government, but all we received is a plan that lacks clarity and foists the big decisions on to individual school divisions.
Another issue that has many Transcona constituents concerned is the service by Dynacare labs at its Regent Avenue and Brewster Street location.
As a frequent user of lab services myself, I recall being able to receive prompt attention. Now it is not uncommon to see people lined up well before the lab even opens. The line-ups stretch well into the day, and people are forced to stand in direct sunlight for a long time. When fall and winter are upon us, it will be challenging for folks to stand in the cold to have lab work completed.
As your MLA, I will press the government to come up with a solution to this issue, as our residents are being poorly served.
We have been in communication with Dynacare labs and they too would like to serve our community better.
You can reach me at 204-594-2025 or Nello.Altomare@yourmanitoba.ca
Transcona constituency report
Nello Altomare is the NDP MLA for Transcona.