A day after the province announced that all Brandon schools must transition to full-remote learning, Brandon School Division officials revealed that three new COVID cases had emerged in the region.
According to BSD’s official website, two of these new cases were discovered in École New Era School and involved individuals who may have been infectious throughout May 3-4.
Additionally, BSD officials said on Monday that someone in a Grade 9 classroom at Vincent Massey High School had also contracted the virus and may have been infectious when they attended class last Thursday.
In all three cases, BSD maintains that "the infection was not believed to be acquired at school."
With these three new cases, BSD has officially announced 15 new COVID cases throughout the month of May, having also unveiled eight additional cases of the virus back in April.
Before mid-April, BSD hadn’t announced a new COVID case since January.
Because of this spike in new cases, the province decided to transition all schools in Brandon and Winnipeg from in-person to full-remote learning.
According to a recent update from the BSD, local Grade 9-12 students will transition to full-remote learning today, whereas kindergarten to Grade 8 remote learning is scheduled to begin on Thursday.
However, these measures don’t apply to BSD institutions like Alexander School, Spring Valley Colony School and École O’Kelly School, which are all located outside of Brandon city limits.
BSD officials also mentioned that in-person instruction will continue for students with special needs and kindergarten to Grade 6 students whose parents serve as critical services workers.
As of Tuesday evening, the province identified 715 cases connected to schools for the two weeks prior to May 9.
BREAKOUT WITH PHOTOS
In lieu of Sunday’s announcement about the switch from in-person to full-remote learning, the Brandon Sun reached out to local parents via Facebook to ask what they thought of this recent round of COVID restrictions.
Here are some of their responses:
"I told my kids when they decided to go back that this was always a possibility and to be prepared to go remote at any time. They aren’t happy about it, but they were mentally prepared and ready to adapt."
— Chelsey Dauphinais
"It’s very frustrating for sure! Had to sign a leave of absence to be home with my kids."
— Stephanie Sluis
"We’ve been remote since November (and) the Brandon school shuffled my kids ... in the second semester over to the Pine Creek SD so it’s not affecting us but I do feel bad for those who need to rearrange and find childcare. I hope school is open 2021-2022 because remote is hard and my kids are so behind."
"Honestly, it’s going to screw over so many kids’ education. Especially those that require in-class learning, like special needs students. While my oldest son is still doing in-class learning because he’s special needs, a lot of parents are working — not just essential workers — and need the child care that comes with kids going to school every day. And most kids don’t do well with remote learning."
— Vanessa Menzies
"We have requested that our son with ADHD continue his in-person learning. It is a struggle getting him to do his homework on the best of the days. As soon as the province stated that they were moving to full remote learning, we emailed his teacher and requested that he maintains going to the school. Once our son found out, he even stated that if he has to stay home, he isn’t going to learn anything, as he doesn’t like remote learning. We are just awaiting the response from the school in regards to our request."
— Kahn O’Leary
"Honestly this doesn’t change anything in our house … but I sincerely feel for those who have to now plan."
— Ash Neustaedter