Temporary remote learning will begin in 2021


Banner & Press Staff

The Manitoba government has decided to install a temporary two-week remote learning period for all grade 7 to 12 students. Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced today that this two-week period will begin Jan. 4, 2021, following the regularly scheduled holiday break.

“Current data indicates the risk of COVID-19 transmission in our schools remains low and we want to ensure the return to the classroom is as safe as practically possible,” said Goertzen. “By moving our grade 7 to 12 students to remote learning for the first two weeks of the new year and offering remote learning options to kindergarten to Grade 6 students, we are reducing the risk that may be posed as a result of a change in students’ close contacts during the winter break.”

Students in grades 7 to 12 will move to remote learning for a two-week period from Jan. 4 to 15. Optional remote learning will also be available to kindergarten to Grade 6 students during this period should families wish to keep their children at home following the holiday break. Regular, in-person classroom learning will be available during this period for kindergarten to Grade 6 students, as well as for any grade 7 to 12 students with special needs that must be accommodated in the school or classroom setting.


New Safe Schools Fund details announced

In addition to this remote learning period, Goertzen also announced that the Manitoba government is further protecting Manitoba schools by confirming the full allocation of the Safe Schools Fund.

The $100-million Safe Schools Fund, established in August 2020, included $48 million in school division savings from the 2019-20 school year and additional $52 million in provincial funding. In late August, the federal government also announced COVID-related funding for education. This total pool of $185.4 million will be used to augment staffing, health and safety, learning and technology.

The confirmed allocations to support schools are: 
• 2019-20 savings by school divisions – $48 million;
• per pupil allocations for school divisions and independent schools – $76 million including $44 million to specifically address staffing needs;
• Safe Restart Contingency Fund, application-based funding to support emerging needs – $39.4 million;
• Manitoba Remote Learning Support Centre – $10 million; and
• personal protective equipment – $12 million.

School divisions and independent schools will be able to apply for additional funding for needs not covered by their Safe Schools allocation through the Safe Restart Contingency Fund. The contingency fund will cover incremental expenditures to meet health and safety requirements, address extenuating public health conditions in the region/area that may entail unique cost pressures, and support innovative approaches that may support outcomes for a broader school community, region or the province as a whole.