Winnipeg Division transfers nearly 300 students to new schools due to COVID-19

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Nearly 300 French immersion students from the Louis Riel School Division in Winnipeg will be visiting different schools this fall to account for physical distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19.Parents were told of the plan late last week, according to the division, after determining that four of its schools did not have the space to keep students safe.

“As a parent, I was a little worried to learn this Friday last week,” said Karen Viveiros, whose 13-year-old daughter Casera is said to have attended Van Belleghem school this fall.

“That said, I know things are constantly changing because of COVID, so I really appreciate the school division doing to minimize the risk and prevent the spread. ”

Viveiros’ daughter will move to Island Lakes Community School, along with her entire class and three teachers, she said.

“It’s a fit for sure. For some children it will be difficult because they don’t like change, ”she said. “But I think my daughter is quite open-minded and excited to come home. ”

A total of 296 students in grades 5 to 8 will be moving, mostly to neighboring English schools, the division said, including 66 students in grades 7 and 8 from Viveiros’ daughter’s school.

The biggest move will see 107 grade 5 and 6 students from Sage Creek School move to Shamrock School.

69 other Grade 7 and 8 students will move from Varennes School to Windsor School, and 54 Grade 6 students from George-McDowell School will move to Julie-Riel School.

“I’m a little nervous, because I haven’t seen the school yet, and obviously I’m not going to be in a French school this year, so there will be English in part of the school. Says Casera, who is about to start 8th grade.

“But overall, I’m also going to be with my friends and teachers, so I’m excited about that. “

Measure classrooms, review floor plans since June: division

Viveiros was hoping her daughter would be able to visit the new school this week, to find out where the dining room, bathrooms and gyms are, but there won’t be enough time, she says. Students will not have access to stores at the new school, she added.

Her daughter will still learn in French, but Viveiros is unsure how the school will keep English and French students separate, if at all. The move also means her daughter will take the bus to school instead of being able to ride a bike.

“There are definitely losses,” Viveiros said.

Deciding which students should be moved, where and with the least disruption, took months of planning and fine-tuning, said Christian Michalik, superintendent of the Louis Riel school division.

“This is one of the last pieces of the puzzle to achieve two meters of physical distance for all staff and students at 40 schools in our division,” said Michalik. “We’ve been busy all summer examining our spaces, measuring the rooms and reviewing the floor plans – a huge effort, which started in June.”

Officials looked at where students lived in relation to schools, what a move would mean for transportation plans, the impact on families, and where students’ friends went before making a decision, he said. -he declares.

The majority of parents were positive and willing to make the accommodations requested, he added.

High school students don’t change schools because the plan is for them to attend each day for half a day and do the rest of their studies at home.

Michalik said it may be some time before all students can return to their regular schools.

“When we’re out of this, we’ll go back to the way it was,” he said. “Hopefully… with all of this work there will be lessons that will stick around in some of the redesigns we’re doing. Who will survive the pandemic.

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