Planning for January 2021

December 8, 2020

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced details about “remote” learning for students in 2021:

  • Students in grades 7 to 12 will participate in a mandatory “remote” learning period from Monday, Jan.4 to Friday, Jan. 15.
  • Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 will have the option to remain in school or move to “remote” learning during the same two-week period.

The government decision was made out of an abundance of caution to mitigate a potential spike in COVID-19 cases following the holiday break. Minister Goertzen explained that evidence has shown older students are more likely to contract and spread the virus because they have a larger number of close contacts.

Both of these examples show the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases are less than 1 per cent:

  • Percentage of students in K-6 with a positive COVID-19 cases: 0.2% (4) students
  • Percentage of grades 7-12 students with a confirmed COVID-19 cases: 0.1% (2) students

This data supports and confirms the government’s evidence that:

  • Our schools are safe
  • Students in grades 7 to 12 have a higher incidence of contracting the virus, although this has not been the case in the School District of Mystery Lake.

Our data also shows:

  • Few Mystery Lake School Division students in K-12 have been confirmed as a positive COVID-19 case by Public Health
  • To date, none of our schools have been instructed by Public Health to move to Critical (Red), nor have we had to send an entire cohort home to self-isolate. 

Staff and students are vigilantly implementing our numerous and rigorous public health safety protocols to help mitigate and manage positive cases at all grade levels.  We are confident our schools are safe for all staff and students.

Since the announcement, we have been in dialogue with principals and vice-principals to determine how we implement the government’s latest direction.  To help parents/guardians understand the impact of the government direction on their children, we have created the following FAQ.

Grades K-6:

How do I let my school know that I want my children to continue in-class learning or learning from home?

Our schools are safe and the best place for students to learn.

Parents/guardians will be contacted by letter asking them to confirm in-school attendance or learning from home.  This information needs to be communicated to your child’s school by December 11, 2020.                  

What does the remote learning option for kindergarten to Grade 6 students require?

Parents/guardians choosing this option must provide support, engagement and supervision of their child’s daily learning during the two-week period.

What learning materials is the school providing for students who choose learning from home for the two-week period?

Parents who choose to have their children in K-6 learn from home from Monday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 15, will receive a learning plan.  Each grade-level plan will include:

  • A collection of grade-appropriate printed learning resources
  • Daily learning schedules for each day of the two-week remote learning period
  • Links to online resources

Each student learning from home will receive a plan by Dec. 18 at the latest.

Will anyone from the school check in during the remote learning period?

School staff will check in daily with students throughout the two-week learning from home period.

Why can’t my child just watch their teacher on an online platform from home during the two-week period?

We want teachers within our schools to continue to vigilantly monitor two meters of physical distancing, mask-wearing, cohorting, and the movement of students, while also focusing on the students’ well-being and learning.  The approach in Mystery Lake School Division is to distinguish between learning from home and learning at school.  For students in K-6, we have assigned our teachers to focus on teaching students in class for the first two weeks in January.

If I choose remote learning for my child in K-6 for the two-week period, can I change my mind and send them back to school?

The expectation is that any family who chooses learning from home during the first two weeks in January will be learning from home for the entire duration.

What happens for students in K-6 at the end of the two-week remote learning period?

It is expected that all students who engaged in learning from home for the two-week period will return to in-school learning on Jan. 18 unless otherwise determined by Public Health.

Will students in K-6 learning from home have their work graded?

Teachers will acknowledge the learning and provide feedback to students.  Given the challenges related to remote learning, the most meaningful feedback about completed work will occur upon students’ return to school.

Grades 7-12:

What will “remote” learning look like for students in grades 7-12 from Jan. 4 to Jan. 15?

Before students leave for the winter break, teachers will work with students to co-create the necessary learning culture, expectations and routines that leverage technology for a successful learning experience from home.

While not an official move to Critical (Red) on the Manitoba Pandemic Response System, the two-week learning from home period for students in grades 7-12 will be quite smaller.  Students will:

  • Have a daily schedule
  • Complete projects and assignments
  • Collaborate with their peers
  • Participate in live-streamed (synchronous) and pre-recorded (asynchronous) learning

What if a student needs a device or access to an internet connection?

The division will support families who require devices or internet connection during the two-week learning from home period in January. Parents should contact their child’s school as soon as possible to discuss internet and computer needs if they have not already done so.  

What if my child has additional needs and requires in-school learning?

The division will continue to collaborate with families to provide the necessary support on a student-specific basis. This support may include in-school attendance, if it can be accommodated.

Angele Bartlett                                                     Lorie Henderson

Superintendent,                                                    Superintendent,

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