Classes for kindergarten to Grade 12 students in Manitoba are suspended indefinitely for this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday morning.
Teachers will continue to teach remotely, assign work, conduct assessments and prepare report cards, he said.
All students who are on track to graduate will do so, and no students will be held back because of the pandemic, Goertzen said.
For students in Grade 12, provincial exams also will be cancelled.
Goertzen said he knows this was not how Grade 12 students envisioned their last year of school, and he recognizes this “is a decision that is not without consequences.”
Child-care centres in schools will continue to operate under the current guidelines, which allow some centres to remain open to serve health-care workers and other essential front-line workers.
The province had previously closed schools for kindergarten to Grade 12 students for one week before spring break and one week after, leaving students out from March 23 until April 13.
Students are expected to continue learning and the province is working with teachers to find good solutions for teaching outside the classroom, Goertzen said.
The province will work with school divisions to provide the best support possible for students and families who may not have access to the technology needed for online learning, he said.
“That doesn’t mean that it’s going to be exactly equal or perfect in every part of the province, and we are going to have some catch-up to do when normal classes resume,” he said.
“There’s no question about that.”
The province could reopen schools before the end of the school year if the chief public health officers determines it’s safe to do so, Goertzen said.
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