How teachers are adjusting to the new normal at Manitoba schools

By | June 1, 2020

WINNIPEG — Some Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Manitoba returned to class today.

It’s the first time students and teachers have been back inside schools since March 13, when the province closed schools due to COVID-19.

Now schools are doing what they can to make sure students and staff are safe upon returning.

At Kelvin High School, the halls are lined with markers and arrows to direct the flow of people.

Desks in classrooms have been spaced two metres apart, and there are new protocols for staff and students upon entering the building.

“There’s some screening,” said Maria Silva, principal of Kelvin High School.

“We go through the screening questions, they hand sanitize or wash their hands, we go through all these processes.”

Students that do not pass the screening test will be directed to Health Links.

Silva said students are being brought back slowly, starting with the graduating class.

She said every student will have an opportunity to come back to school in the month of June.

“For those students, that for one reason or another had difficulty with remote learning, it’s a great opportunity to reconnect,” said Silva.

For Evan Ellison, a teacher at Kelvin High School, Monday was the first day he’s been back to his classroom since schools closed in March.

He said teaching with physical distancing measures in place is unusual.

“My style, I get in a little bit closer, and work (with students) one on one,” said Ellison. “It’s kind of hard to transition to being right at the board and having that separation.”

Ellison said over the last two months, he’s been corresponding with students online, using everything from Google Meet to emails.

For the rest of the school year, he’ll be working with small groups of students in person, as well as online.

“I’m taking it day by day,” said Ellison. “Hopefully we can do some measure of assessment and get ready for next year.”

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