Manitobans are sharing their reactions to the province's move to close some schools Wednesday.
Manitoba Teachers Society and Manitoba School Boards Association have been calling for school closures and vaccinations over the past few weeks.
"At present time in Manitoba, 20 per cent of all covid-19 cases reflect school aged children. 250 schools in Manitoba are experiencing at least one case of COVID-19, out of 800 public and private schools in Manitoba," Manitoba School Boards Association says in a statement. "574 cases are present in schools at current time. This comes with a 25 per cent increase in COVID-19 among staff, and a 67 per cent increase among students, as compared to 14 days ago."
Manitoba Teachers Society has not yet released a statement to the announcement of closures.
Education Minister Cliff Cullen and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin say the closures were precautionary and schools are not transmission sites.
"It makes ZERO sense to cling to the claim the virus isn’t spreading in schools and then to say shutting schools will stop community spread. All the stats they’re announcing today would’ve been known last week," NDP leader Wab Kinew tweets.
Cullen said there were ongoing discussions about the state of schools and the desire to keep them open.
"There was zero consultation with schools and teachers let’s be real," Kinew tweets.
To review:— Wab Kinew (@WabKinew) May 9, 2021
The virus is spreading in schools.
So go in Monday.
Go in Tuesday.
But don’t go in Wednesday, because we need to stop the spread.
This plan makes no sense.
Infuriating—Govt had much of this data Friday & yet the legislature parking lot was empty that day
Roussin says those 35-years-old and older are now eligible for the vaccine. In an earlier interview with Manitoba Teachers Society President James Bedford, he said the teaching population in Manitoba skews younger, meaning many were not eligible for the vaccine until the weekend's age drop, and previous geographic prioritization.
Existing online learning structures will be used for this change.
"All parents, guardians and families province-wide should remain aware that the option to enroll students in remote learning also remains available, at those schools able to accommodate such remote learning options for any families who may wish to explore this opportunity," Manitoba School Boards Association says.
Individual school divisions outside of Winnipeg and Brandon have not announced any closures following the province's announcement. In the fall, Hanover School Division proactively chose to move to online learning.