Louis Riel School Division relocating students and staff to meet physical distancing requirements

By | August 31, 2020

WINNIPEG — Manitoba students head back to school next week, and school divisions are redesigning classrooms to help students and staff physically distance.

The Louis Riel School Division announced it has successfully redesigned the spaces in schools to provide two meters of distance between all students and staff, as required by the province.

But some schools in the division weren’t able to make space for everyone, now several staff and students have been relocated to schools in the division with lower occupancy to make room for physical distancing.

École Varennes in the Louis Riel School Division is a three-minute walk from Patricia Novak’s house, and it’s where her son goes to school.

Last week she got an email about the relocation of staff and students.

“The grade 7’s and 8’s are getting relocated to the Windsor school I believe, and a lot of the aids and teachers are going to that school to provide French immersion,” said Novak.

Her son is going into Grade One and won’t have to switch schools, but Novak worries her son’s teacher may be one of the staff members relocated.

“For my son, it’s very important to have a bond with the teacher, to understand who he is and where he’s going,” she said.

The Louis Riel School division said in order to achieve physical distancing in all 40 schools within the division, it had to shuffle students and staff from four schools including École Varennes, École George-McDowell, École Sage Creek, and École Van Belleghem.

“All of this hard work is about sustainable solution that sees us in school for as long as we can,” said Christian Michalik, the superintendent of Louis Riel School Division.

“And doing our part as a sector of society that needs to do its part to keep the virus at bay.”

Michalik hopes the work the division did over the summer will help guide them safely through the next ten months of school.

All families and staff affected by the proposed relocation have been notified.

If people have questions or concerns about the relocation they’re being asked to contact the school’s principal.

Classroom placements and configurations will be finalized on September 4th.

Novak hopes her son can stay at his school for the foreseeable future.

“I did buy this house about 10 years ago because the school was so close, so yes, it would make me nervous to relocate.”

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