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Coronavirus: Pembina Trails School Division temporarily lays off more than 500 employees

Pembina Trails School Division is temporarily laying off more than 500 staff.
Pembina Trails School Division is temporarily laying off more than 500 staff. Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

With Manitoba K-12 classes suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pembina Trails School Division is being forced to reduce staff.

More than 500 employees in the division are being temporarily laid off, including 472 educational assistants, 32 library technicians, and 24 bus drivers.

“It is with great sadness that we must temporarily reduce our workforce, due to COVID-19 and the directive from the province to lessen spending and support critical services during this pandemic,” a statement from the division said.

READ MORE: Manitoba schools to remain closed indefinitely

The division says 370 lunch and breakfast program supervisors and those who do crossing guard and bus duties are also impacted, although the division notes many of these roles are done by educational assistants.

And 36 staff who support other programs in the division are also impacted.

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“Staff members have dedicated their time and energy to the daily operation and success of our division. We value their work, and look forward to welcoming everyone back when our students return,” the division added.

On March 31, the province suspended classes indefinitely although education minister Kelvin Goertzen said there is a possibility of kids going back this year, but it would depend on public health orders.