The Manitoba government thanks students, teachers, school staff, administrators, parents and the education community for their hard work and dedication through a once in a century global pandemic, Education Minister Cliff Cullen said today.
“I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of parents and the entire school community in their attempts to make graduation memorable in the absence of formal celebrations this year,” said Cullen. “To the graduating class of 2021, congratulations on this achievement, you have persevered through a school year like no other and your hard work has paid off. The pandemic continues to challenge Manitobans and everyone involved in the education of our students, but we are planning for all kindergarten to Grade 12 students to return to in-class learning when the school year resumes on September 7.”
As the ‘4-3-2-One Great Summer’ reopening plan rolls out, planning for schools to open for in-class learning in September continues, ensuring student and staff safety, health and well-being are still paramount. The Kindergarten to Grade 8 Remote Learning Support Centre, supported by $5 million in provincial funding, will continue to be available for students who are medically advised not to return to in-class learning due to COVID-19. Similar to last September, schools are preparing for various scenarios, and final details for reopening schools will be brought forward in August to ensure the measures reflect Manitoba’s public health situation at that time. The goal is to have all students return to in-class learning full-time.
The province is allocating $58 million in funding for the 2021-22 school year to ensure continued pandemic protection. For the current school year, the province is projected to have spent $170 million by the end of June, including $85 million in federal contributions.
“Our focus continues to be on the classroom and determining ways to provide the best education in any circumstances for the benefit of our students through the excellent work of teachers, educational assistants and education officials,” said Cullen. “We have made record investments in education of over $3 billion through Budget 2021.”
Following a successful past summer program, the province also renewed its partnership with InformNet to increase access to online summer school programming and waive fees to provide one more avenue for advancing education for grade 9 to 12 students in Manitoba.
The minister also noted consultations on the Better Education Starts Today (BEST) strategy would continue throughout the summer in an effort improve Manitoba’s education system. The strategy is designed to strengthen the roles of principals, vice-principals, and support teachers so they can focus on what is best for schools and the learning environment for students. The BEST strategy will also provide parents with a greater voice through school community councils, parental engagement officers and ongoing communication with principals and teachers.