Manitobans For a Safe Return to School in September

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Manitoba parents, teachers, children and community members deserve a safe return to school in September. All Manitoba families deserve access to school-supported learning and assessment. All school employees require safe working conditions.

We are deeply concerned about the Manitoba Government’s insufficient and under-resourced plan to reopen schools during the COVID-19 global pandemic, especially while Manitoba is experiencing a surge in new cases. 

We can and must do better. Unprecedented times require unprecedented measures.

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, we must ensure adherence to public health guidelines and respond to emerging evidence. 

We the undersigned call on the Government of Manitoba to provide a safe and equitable school reopening by committing to:

  1. Publicly-funded, school-supported instruction and assessment for all students, whether they are learning in the classroom or remotely from home. This requires sufficient staffing levels to not increase the workload of individual teachers. Medical documentation should not be required as a condition of access to public education for children who stay home;
  2. Provide school employees who request to work remotely appropriate opportunities to support students learning at home;
  3. Class sizes small enough to support physical distancing of two metres; 
  4. Make mask use mandatory for all teachers, staff and students, providing exemptions where appropriate;
  5. Assess ventilation and/or filtration systems in all school settings and follow all  recommendations for upgrades required to drastically reduce virus transmission;
  6. Reinstate the mandatory two-week self-isolation order for all non-essential out-of-province travellers; 
  7. Provide full paid sick leave to all divisional employees who self isolate while ill, awaiting COVID-19 test results or recovering from COVID-19, including substitute employees;
  8. Hire additional supply teachers and educational assistants to address staff on leave. This will allow divisions to limit the number of classrooms and school contacts they are exposed to and exposing.

We know a safe return to school is possible - other countries have demonstrated this.

Manitobans deserve a safe and sustainable back-to-school plan for September that supports public education for the long haul and meets the needs of all of our students, families, teachers, staff, and communities.