Each year, as the school year draws to a close, the school division reflects on the successes as well as the challenges of the completed year. Additionally, in June, plans are finalized for the new school year.
What started out as a “normal year” took a 180-degree turn, throwing up one challenge after another. There was no shortage of trials that tested many people’s patience and resilience. Staff, students, and parents were thrown into unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. Plans had to be changed quickly, and some goals were not accomplished this school year.
Nevertheless, there are positives to take away from this school year. The biggest positive is how the communities across our division pulled together for the common good and tried to make the best out of a difficult situation. It was heartening to see, especially when witnessing the upheaval elsewhere.
Thus, thank you to all of MVSD’s 527 staff members, and our 3,181 students and families for your hard work and dedication. In addition, thank you to the community as a whole for supporting each other. It was through your collective resilience during this difficult time we can proudly say there were many successes that are worth celebrating now that the school year has come to a close.
Recently, the Province of Manitoba’s Department of Education announced that school for students will commence on Tuesday, September 8, with teachers returning to school on Wednesday, September 2.
However, despite repeated requests for a plan outlining what schooling and education may look like in September, there were still many unanswered questions after this declaration. Finally, on Thursday, June 25th, the Province of Manitoba held a press conference announcing to the general public and school divisions at the same time their proposal of the possible scenarios for education in the fall.
Many people found the late announcement frustrating. For, even though the new school year is two months away and to many it may seem like there is still time, during the summer months activities tend to slow down for schools and school divisions as a whole. Staff use the opportunity to take holidays or to enjoy family time. Therefore, not everyone is readily available to contribute to a robust proposal, and, depending on the requirements put forth by the province, plans need to be made, scenarios considered, and, if required, supplies ordered in a timely fashion to enable schools to reopen.
That being said, Mountain View School Division, in trying to be proactive, began working hard in June to prepare the schools for the fall, exploring and planning for a number of different possible circumstances.
In the first scenario, the school division is hopeful for a return to near normal school operations in the fall, with all students returning with safety measures in place. The second scenario includes a plan for the possibility of a blended approach to learning in the fall, where some learning happens at school and some learning happens at home so that not all students are in the building at the same time. Finally, the third option is the least desirable and a worst possible case scenario. It considers the potential for in-school classes to be suspended and for distance learning to be re-implemented if the situation with the pandemic were to worsen in the future.
The Government of Manitoba and the Chief Public Health Officer’s announcement on Thursday reflects the division’s plans, with three different scenarios divisions need to take into consideration. However, before our strategies can be finalized a complete examination of the K-12 Re-Opening Plan posted on the province’s website will need be completed.
In addition, the government has made the pledge to formalize which scenario school divisions will need to follow by August 1st. After which time, MVSD will inform our families of the requirements so everyone knows what to expect for the beginning of the new school year.
In the meantime, MVSD is asking for help to finalize the strategy for our division. The school division needs to hear from our families. Many people may have recently completed the survey for the Province of Manitoba on your thoughts and feelings about school reopening.
Mountain View School Division is asking families to do another survey with a number of similar questions, however with local queries so that the information is collected specific to our families’ and area’s needs. The survey covers such areas as your family’s priorities for school re-entry, potential transportation issues in the fall due to social distancing, and concerns that your family may have about the re-opening of schools. The survey can be found on the division website at www.mvsd.ca.
Additionally, if any family is not on the divisional email list and would like to be, please contact the division office at 204-638-3001 or through the “contact us” link on the website at www.mvsd.ca in order to receive timely updates about the reopening of the schools.
In the meantime, keep practicing social distancing and proper cleaning techniques in order to help control the spread of COVID19. Thus, hopefully, the children will be able to return to school as normally as possible. Take care.