Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/8/2020 (418 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Opening our schools safely amid the public health emergency is a major concern for all Manitobans, in addition to parents, teachers and school support staff. There is emerging evidence children can be drivers of infection even when they are asymptomatic — which is a concern to all of us.
And so, opening our schools is a major challenge. Our education system needs to have a better plan in place that will work to keep families safe. Recent announcements by the province meant to address the issue of safely opening our schools fall short of what is needed.
In the long term, we need to rethink how we build and manage classroom space and invest in personal protective equipment (PPE) for schools. We also need more investments in mental health, student supports, and in technology.
Getting students to school will be more challenging this year in many parts of the province, including in Elmwood, and we need to invest in more buses and drivers so we can get students to class safely.
Most importantly, in the short term, we need take physical-distancing guidelines seriously, and cap class sizes at 15 students. To do that, we need to hire more teachers. This requires more investment than the province is willing to make. The health-care and personal home-care systems had to adjust, and now our education system must do the same; But they need the tools to meet the challenge.
We need leadership at the provincial level now more than ever. Parents and teachers in Elmwood are contacting me daily because they are nervous. They see numbers increasing and everyone wants to have a successful rollout of the education system. The bottom line is, everyone must stick to the fundamentals of distancing and the other health measures that Dr. Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer, is advocating for — including wearing masks where encouraged or required.
Parents, caregivers and students are encouraged to use the EngageMB website at https://engagemb.ca/welcoming-our-students-back-restoring-safe-schools for posting specific questions for response throughout the return to classroom learning.
For further information and comment, feel free to contact my office at 204-415-1122 or email me at Jim.Maloway@Yourmanitoba.ca
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.