Winnipeg private school moving high school students to remote learning amid coronavirus

St. Mary's Academy in Winnipeg says it's moving high school students to remote learning. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A Winnipeg private school has decided to have some of its students start learning from home as COVID-19 cases continue to mount in the city.

St. Mary’s Academy will shift grades 9 through 12 at the private all-girls school to remote learning starting Oct. 26, the school confirmed Monday.

Read more: Manitoba reports 2 more deaths, 80 new coronavirus cases Monday

A spokesperson from the school tells Global News the province gave high schools the “flexibility to implement remote learning” as part of back-to-school planning.

“At this time, remote learning is the best decision for our (g)rades 9 to 12 students,” the spokesperson said in an email.

The school’s announcement comes the same day two weeks of stricter COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in Winnipeg, forcing bars and casinos in the region to close and lounges and restaurants to operate at half capacity.

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The Winnipeg region was already under tighter rules than the rest of the province after a case surge in late summer. Masks have been mandatory indoors, gatherings were limited to 10, and bars and restaurants had to stop selling liquor at 10 p.m.

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On Monday, health officials reported 80 new cases of novel coronavirus across Manitoba, including 51 in Winnipeg.

St. Mary’s Academy said it will monitor public health data closely in the coming weeks and assess the move to remote learning at regular intervals.

Read more: Winnipeg businesses forced to shutter for two weeks amid COVID-19 spike frustrated

Classes resumed in Manitoba at the beginning of September after schools across the province were closed when the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Manitoba last spring.

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Since schools reopened provincial health officials have reported cases at schools across the province, including at St. Mary’s Academy.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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