As September creeps closer, parents are getting a better understanding of what the classroom will look like for their students.

On July 30, Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced that students will be returning to the classroom in the fall, leaving many parents to wonder what that will look like for their children. As schools begin to piece together what will work for them, the Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) has a plan in place.

"Up until this point, we have worked with a plan that would address the three scenarios that the government had asked us to consider," Sandy Nemeth, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for LRSD says. "Now that we know what back to school looks like, we can take that plan and fine-tune it."

Being one of the first to release a back-to-school plan, LRSD shared on Tuesday what students and parents can expect.

Following the provincial guidelines, LRSD will be keeping their students two metres apart, which is resulting in non-traditional classroom spaces being optimized. LRSD notes that they will also be looking at using outdoor spaces to the "greatest extent possible" for teaching.

"(Parents) can expect our schools to be safe places and welcoming places where we continue to give our students what they need in order to learn and to grow and be successful in school." 

She says that the school's communications and meetings will allow parents to know what their child's classroom will look like and what school-wide changes will be implemented. 

Students and staff are not required to wear a mask, but if they wish to, LRSD says they can wear a non-medical mask as long as LRSD's guidelines are followed.

PPE requirements and distancing guides for staff working with students who have special needs are still uncertain, but LRSD says they will update their guide once they receive direction from the province. 

LRSD also says they have several overcrowded schools, including high schools, and some students may be required to relocate.

They are also asking for those who are able to, use alternative forms of transportation to get to school instead of using a school bus.

Understanding that parents will have concerns and questions, Nemeth says schools and parents will have the opportunity to meet before the fall.

"Prior to school starting, the week or two weeks before, parents can expect information communicated to them specific to their school and their student."

School staff will be oriented on September 2, 3 and 4 regarding public health requirements and recovery learning.

Nemeth says plans are not set in stone and will be altered as needed throughout the school year.

"What (parents) can expect is having had the opportunity to participate in the creation of what back-to-school looks like in Louis Riel School Division, we are listening to the concerns that have come our way."

Nemeth adds that everything parents need to know is in the school's plan, but says LRSD's plan will continue to adapt throughout the school year as needs and public health orders change.

The Winnipeg School Division says it will release its Framework for School Planning during the pandemic mid-August. Pembina Trails School Division says that their plan will be released in the "upcoming weeks."