Dr. Brent Roussin says another city has been added to the list of communities doing remote learning.
Winnipeg, Brandon, and Red River Valley and Garden Valley school divisions are remote learning until June 7. Dauphin will move to remote learning until June 9.
"We have always committed to having the kids in school as much as possible, and so we are still going to do that this year. Of course, that is going to depend on a number of things, but we are still looking to do that," Roussin says in a Thursday afternoon press conference with Premier Brian Pallister.
Roussin says they did not extend the remote learning directive until the end of the school year because they are hoping to have students in the classroom for as many days as possible.
Currently, thousands of Manitoban students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 are learning remotely with 390 of Manitoba's 820 schools making the full move online under the province's direction with more expected to go online next week in Dauphin.
Winnipeg and Brandon schools moved classes online on May 12. The Garden Valley and Red River Valley School Divisions went online on May 18. All schools were expected to stay online until at least May 30.
When asked if students will repeat grades to make up for the year-and-a-half of education changes, The Premier said he has heard people are concerned about the loss of learning.
"The social interaction that students lose when we remove them from the school environment it is a real thing. So clearly, we have made every effort for that learning environment to be supported and our education reforms as a government are designed to enhance that opportunity for more resources at the front line where the teachers and kids will benefit from them."
Education Minister Cliff Cullen is cautiously optimistic learning can be done in person.
"I would love to have the year close on a successful couple of weeks where we have students interacting with their friends."
Cullen says the reality of the situation is the health orders and COVID-19 situation continues to change. He is asking parents to be patient.
Between May 11 and May 25, there were 482 COVID-19 cases in schools, with 403 of those students. The province says this data does not reflect if the virus was or was not acquired at school. Cullen says he is reassured that school cases have lowered in the past couple of weeks. Students in higher-risk communities have not been in the classroom for the last couple of weeks.