Manitoba pledges $ 52 million in new funding to divisions for back-to-school amid coronavirus – Winnipeg


The Manitoba government has committed $ 52 million in new funding to help school divisions re-welcome students during the COVID-19 pandemic.Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen on Monday announced the one-time funding, which is in addition to the $ 48 million saved by school divisions in the spring when schools were closed, and which can now be used.

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Goertzen said all divisions in the province will have access to the money, called the Safe Schools Fund, and the money will be distributed per student. Some of the money will be kept in reserve in case it is needed to respond to emergencies, he added.

“This additional investment in our education system will support our Safe Schools Restoration plan to help ensure our schools remain a safe and familiar place for our students and staff,” Goertzen said in a government statement.

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“We know our education system must be prepared to face today’s pandemic reality when students and staff return to the classroom, and our government is providing the financial support to help school divisions respond to this. need.

Part of the funding will be used to provide non-medical and medical masks and personal protective equipment for students, teachers and staff.

Prime Minister Brian Pallister made a surprise announcement last week, imposing masks for all grades 4 to 12 students in schools starting in September.

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The province had previously refused to make masks mandatory, saying instead it preferred to “strongly recommend” them.

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Pallister said the change came after listening to “thousands” of parents on the issue.

A few weeks ago, Manitoba’s Minister of Education and Chief Medical Officer of Health unveiled the government’s back-to-school guidelines and practice protocols, slated for September 8, but each division had until last week to post its individual plans to reopen.

Pallister said the province would pay the cost of the school masks.

Goertzen said the pot of money announced on Monday will also be used to hire more guard staff and increase cleaning in schools, increase bus capacity, add routes and hire more drivers, and to ensure that substitute teachers and educational staff are available to keep schools open.

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He said more than 4.7 million masks had already been delivered to school divisions in the province and that more mask deliveries were planned throughout the school year.

“We thank our teachers, students and staff for addressing the additional challenges associated with securing classrooms under the new constraints of COVID-19,” Goertzen said in the government statement.

Coronavirus: Manitoba makes masks mandatory for back to school

Coronavirus: Manitoba makes masks mandatory for back to school

“The province will continue to work closely with public health, education stakeholders, school divisions, independent schools, parents, caregivers and students as part of its response to COVID-19 and a safe return to school.

Opposition New Democrats have called on the government to limit class sizes to 15 students and create more classrooms to ensure good physical distance.

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Over the weekend, Manitoba experienced two record days for coronavirus cases, including 42 on Saturday and 72 on Sunday.

The total number of laboratory-confirmed positive cases in Manitoba identified since March was 944 as of Sunday.

There are 356 active cases in Manitoba, 576 people have recovered and 12 have died from COVID-19, health officials said on Sunday.

–With files from the Canadian Press

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you should know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or the flu. Some people can develop a more serious illness. Those most at risk are the elderly and people with serious chronic diseases such as heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop any symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend washing your hands frequently and coughing up your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible, and maintaining a distance of two meters from other people if you go out. In situations where you cannot keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend using a face mask or non-medical blanket to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that can carry the disease. virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or masks are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

For full coverage of COVID-19 from Global News, click here.

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