Winnipeg schools untouched by new restrictions, but teachers are still struggling

By | October 30, 2020

WINNIPEG — With a new round of restrictions sweeping across Winnipeg this Monday, schools are one of the only areas untouched by these new COVID-19 measures.

With cases spiking in Manitoba, health officials have announced the Winnipeg Metro Region will be moved to the red or critical level of the province’s pandemic response system. The move brings with it a new list of restrictions hitting a number of places including restaurants, retail spaces, sport facilities, and museums.

The province said there will be no change for schools in Winnipeg, but restrictions imposed earlier in October will remain in place.

These include the blended learning requirement for students in grades nine to 12 and a temporary voluntary blended learning available for students in kindergarten to grade eight.

Schools must also ensure physical distancing of two metres as much as possible.

Even though there are no new restrictions in the classroom, teachers are still struggling to cope with the current restrictions.

“There isn’t enough resources, teachers are stressed out, they are exhausted,” said Nathan Martindale, the vice-president of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society.

He said the society has heard stories of teachers crying or going to sleep in their cars because they are exhausted.

“Some of them are really just at the end of their rope.”

Martindale said more supports are needed for teachers and education staff.

He called on the province to use roughly $85 million in funding to help schools, using it to hire more staff, purchase more PPE and provide other support measures.

Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, said the system the province has put in place in schools is working.

“Right now, the schools have been quite safe places to be as far as virus transmission goes,” he said during a press conference on Friday.

“Within schools, we haven’t seen that many examples of inter-facility transmission, so the schools have turned out to be very safe.”

-with files from CTV’s Michael D’Alimonte 

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