Seven Oaks superintendent looking forward to possible Manitoba school reopenings

Empty classrooms could see some Manitoba students as early as June 1. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Some Manitoba kids may be back in school as early as June 1 — although it’ll be very different than the way they left it at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The second phase of the province’s reopening draft plan says students may come back, in limited numbers, for one-on-one instruction and assessment.

Seven Oaks School Division superintendent Brian O’Leary told 680 CJOB that families shouldn’t be dropping their kids off at schools June 1 — or any time — until they’ve been contacted ahead of time, as not all schools and divisions have confirmed they’ll be reopening.

O’Leary said he’s looking forward to seeing kids have the chance for some degree of a return to normalcy.

“We’d like to get almost all of our students — especially the younger ones — in for some time, just to get back to school and feel optimistic about the future and a return to normal.

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“We feel that’s probably good for everyone’s emotional and mental health at this point,” he said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus — Manitoba schools partially reopen for staff, programming

A return to classes, at least for Seven Oaks schools, he said, would look very similar to what students were used to pre-pandemic, but with obvious health and safety adjustments.

“Teachers (will be) in school, and working, and getting engaged with kids, but it’ll be with smaller numbers, so that we can observe social-distancing protocols within the school and give more one-on-one, small-group attention to the kids.”

The other important aspect of in-person meetings, he said, is for teachers to gauge how their students have done with learning from home while classes have been shut down.

“Some kids will have done extremely well, other kids will have languished.

“(Teachers can) get a sense of where kids are at, connected with kids again, and be better able to plan for the kids’ return in the fall.”

Premier Brian Pallister called the reopening plan an opportunity for everyone involved.

“This is an opportunity, I think, with the tentative plan, to move in a way to help our young people transition effectively,” Pallister said Thursday.

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“That would be absent if we don’t reopen schools to a small, limited degree, and that’s what’s being proposed in Phase 2.”

Click to play video: 'Association of Parent Councils on partial reopen of schools' Association of Parent Councils on partial reopen of schools
Association of Parent Councils on partial reopen of schools – May 22, 2020

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