New poll shows Manitobans are ready for kids to return to class

By | July 28, 2020

WINNIPEG — Parents, teachers, and school staff throughout the province are waiting for a back to school plan from the Manitoba government.

The anticipation comes as a new survey asks, “Should kids go back to class in the middle of a pandemic?”

The Leger poll, which was done between July 24 and 26 shows 67 per cent of people surveyed in Manitoba and Saskatchewan say kids should go back to school.

Twenty-nine per cent say they don’t know, while five per cent think the kids should stay home.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan were above the national average as 59 per cent of Canadians said they support students returning to school.

Sari Hochman, whose twin daughters had kindergarten cut short due to the pandemic, wants them to go back but is also weighing the health concerns.

“I would really like them to go back to school. From a safety point of view, you know I have mixed feelings,” said Hochman.

The poll also looked at pandemic precautions and a majority felt precautions should be in place.

Eighty-seven per cent think there should be temperature checks, 77 per cent feel there should be a screening questionnaire, 78 per cent want teachers to wear masks, while 64 per cent think students should wear masks too.

Winnipeggers that CTV News talked with said they think students should head back to the classroom, but they do feel precautions should be taken.

“Just to be on the safe side. There’s no harm in wearing masks,” one person said.

The survey comes in the same week that the province is expected to announce its back to school plan.

Several questions remain about what the plan could look like.

“How do you social distance with children of all ages from kindergarten, elementary,” said Dion Delorme, who is an educational assistant with the Seven Oaks School Division.

The Manitoba NDP offered up its own plan, which would see the province spend $260 million to help cap classroom sizes at 15 students, hire 400 more teachers and add several new spaces and busses.

“Just so there could be a cohort approach to each classroom,” said Wab Kinew, leader of the Manitoba NDP.

Whatever the plan ends up being, Hochman said there will be more sick days than ever before.

“A kid with a runny nose, now you know what goes through your mind when you see that. Now is so different than what would’ve gone through your mind five, six months ago,” said Hochman.

In a statement to CTV News, the province said it will provide more details on a back to school plan before August 1.

The Leger poll said a probability sample 1,517 respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 2.52 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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