In an effort to slow the rising transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, the current public health orders will be changing. Starting on December 6th, all students who are eligible to be vaccinated must provide proof of vaccination to participate in indoor extra-curricular sports or show proof of a recent negative rapid antigen test. Students with one dose will be permitted to participate without testing.
Students will not require proof of vaccination to participate in physical education, as this is part of the school curriculum. The public health orders apply to permits issued for community use of schools.
As a reminder, the 4th wave guidance for public and independent schools can be found on the Manitoba Education COVID-19 website: www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/index. Please review the guidance and ensure it is being implemented in your schools. Please continue to refer to the toolkit for notification of cases in schools, https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/covid/docs/toolkit_exposure_notification.pdf as well as the quick reference guide that includes a fact sheet with the process steps for moving to remote learning."
Public health and Manitoba Education have shared several key messages in response to inquires. Please feel free to adapt and share with your school communities.
- Since school cases are impacted by trends in the school’s surrounding community, it is not unexpected to see cases in schools when community cases rise. Public health and Manitoba Education are working with divisions and schools to keep students in schools as much as possible but preparedness plans are in place to ensure safety of staff and students is prioritized.
- The school case definition was updated this year to be more specific and aligned with the incubation period for COVID-19, which is 14 days. A school case does not mean there was acquisition or transmission at the school, but allows public health to monitor overall cases that may be associated with a school. For an outbreak to be called, the outbreak definition needs to be met including evidence of in-school transmission.
- The change for the definition of an outbreak is more precise in response to the growing understanding of COVID-19 transmission. The definition allows public health to act immediately and with precision, directing classrooms and cohorts to remote learning, rather than entire schools unless needed as well as working with schools to review, assess and implement additional preventative measures.
- We know the vaccination status of others is the best protection against COVID-19 for unvaccinated students who are not eligible. This means we want all eligible school staff and students to get immunized for COVID-19 as soon as possible to give our students the best chance to keep learning and stay safe.
- We also want parents of youth aged five to 11 to be ready once the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for these young people. Manitoba is actively planning to ensure that these vaccinations take place as quickly as possible after approval. More information will be shared with the public in the coming weeks.