Coronavirus: Manitoba students, educators adjusting to new reality of indefinitely suspended classes

Teachers, students and school administrators in Manitoba are adjusting to a new reality as Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced Tuesday that the province’s schools will be shuttered indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) president James Bedford told 680 CJOB his members are going to continue to look for creative ways to connect with their students despite the longer-than-expected self-isolation.

Nothing replaces a teacher with students in the classroom,” he said.

“All the research says that’s where the best learning is going to happen, but that’s just not possible right now.”

Bedford said one of the biggest challenges will be ensuring students across the province have access to the same distance learning as students in more connected regions, like Winnipeg.

“We’re going to have to get very creative in order to reach every child, and we’ll have to make use of distance-learning packages through school divisions to try to reach every child,” he said.

“We still want every child in this province to succeed with their education.”

Parts of the province that have connectivity issues and lack access to technology are part of the strategy, Goertzen said on Tuesday, adding that the province is working with school divisions to find alternative ways to connect with students.

Bedford said talks between the MTS and the province have indicated that some form of assessment will need to take place in the fall to determine how each student has progressed during their time away from the classroom.

Kristi, an early years teacher in Winnipeg, told 680 CJOB she’s heartbroken over the indefinite suspension of classes, although she’s not surprised the decision was made, given recent developments.

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