The Manitoba government says its earmarking $58 million to both protect against COVID-19 in the classroom and support the mental health and well-being of students and staff during the 2021-22 school year.
Education Cliff Cullen announced the new funding at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
“We want to ensure the classroom environment continues to be as safe as possible while making focused investments to address the learning impacts of the pandemic,” said Cullen, in a government release.
The promised money includes $40 million for the for the per pupil allocation to school divisions and independent schools for extra staff, supplies, and what the government describes as health and safety. Another $6 million is to be used for the potential costs of personal protective equipment.
Cullen said $5 million will be used to help set up a remote learning centre for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8 who are medically compromised and unable to return to in-person classes because of the pandemic.
The centre, operated by the St. James Assiniboia and Pembina Trails school divisions, will support up to 1,000 students, the province said.
Lastly $7 million will be set aside in contingency that will include $5 million for a “recovery learning fund” the province says will be used to address the impacts of the pandemic on student learning.
Earlier in the day Thursday the province announced schools that had moved to remote learning to help curb the province’s rising COVID-19 rates, will remain learning remotely until at least next month.
Chief public health officer, Dr. Brent Roussin said schools in Winnipeg and Brandon, and in the Red River Valley and Garden Valley school divisions that were moved to remote learning earlier this month will continue remotely until June 7.
Schools in Dauphin will continue remote learning until June 9, he added.
The province said it anticipates “there will be some level of public health measures” in effect when students are scheduled to return to the classroom in the fall.
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.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, visit our coronavirus page.