Manitoba

Survey seeks input from Manitobans on reopening schools to students

The Manitoba government is looking to gauge under what conditions families would be comfortable sending their children back to class, when schools eventually reopen.

Survey asks families to rate comfort level with students using hand sanitizer, masks, bus transportation

Manitoba Education is asking for families input on how comfortable they are sending students back to school and under what conditions. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

The Manitoba government is looking to gauge under what conditions families would be comfortable sending their children back to class, when schools eventually reopen.

In a new online survey, Manitoba Education is asking parents and guardians to rate their comfortable level on a wide range of scenarios including the use of masks, hand sanitizer and bus transportation.

It also asks how they feel about a full return to school, staggering start times and alternating days students attend.

The department is working to develop a framework, guided by the province's chief public health officer, to direct schools on re-entry planning, the website says.

On Monday, Manitoba's chief medical officer said when schools do officially reopen, having students and staff stay home when they are sick will be paramount.

"We can't have people showing up who are ill, so that's number one," said Dr. Brent Roussin. "We have to have ways of screening people and we need people doing their part."

Roussin said physical distancing, whenever possible, will be key. He also signalled spacing out desks and avoiding large group gatherings such as school assemblies will be important.

The Manitoba Education 2020-2021 school re-entry survey also asks parents and guardians to evaluate how remote learning has worked in their households since March when schools closed due to COVID-19 and if parents are comfortable continuing with distance learning in the fall, if necessary. 

In addition, the survey asks families how reliable their WiFi connections are and whether they have access to the devices necessary for their children to participate in online learning.

Teachers were surveyed in June but the results are pending, the province's website states. 

As of June 1, schools partially reopened to students for one-on-one instruction and small group learning.

Schools could reopen for the new year as early as August 31, the premier previously said.

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