The province is releasing COVID-19 school data and updating some key definitions. 

On Tuesday afternoon, Roussin and Deputy Minister of Manitoba Education Dana Rudy are sharing how COVID-19 cases in schools are defined, saying set definitions are not easy.

"Things like case management and contact definition and management is going to be directed by public health so it's not going be up to families to decide if there's an outbreak or who should or shouldn't isolate," Roussin says.

It will be considered a school case if a student or staff member was at school during the 14 days prior to symptom onset or the positive test date if asymptomatic.  It will also be considered a case if they were at school within 10 days after illness onset, or positive test date if asymptomatic. This definition includes cases acquired at or outside of school.

Vaccination status and mask-use will be a factor in COVID-19 exposure isolation requirements.

A school will be considered in an outbreak if there are three or more cases in a specified cohort.

"This new definition is anticipated to allow for more consistent reporting but may result in more frequent outbreaks being declared than in the past school year."

Activities that occur inside a school but are not during the usual school hours such as a sports game or daycare could also follow this guideline of school-associated events in case investigation and management.

Since the start of the school year, the Government of Manitoba says more than three dozen schools have had one or more case of COVID-19.
A total of 47 students and nine staff members are counted on the Department of Education's school COVID-19 dashboard. These totals begin on September 7 until Monday.

If a school's staff member will need regular COVID-19 testing in November due to the upcoming vaccine mandates, they will need a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their last test.

"In most instances, we would see full-time employees up to three times a week undergoing testing," Rudy says.

Tests will be provided by the school division, with at least one done in the school environment and the other two can be done at home. The tests will need to be recorded by the staff member.

There are no specific plans to do rapid testing for students.

"We are going to monitor the epidemiology and see how that goes over time," Roussin says. "It really depends on the community transmission, what we are seeing in schools and we have to add another layer onto that."

The doctor says COVID-19 cases in children can look like colds and where a student contracts the virus, asking parents to keep children home when they are sick.