Tuesday night's Portage la Prairie School Division board meeting was held virtually and mainly focused on matters related to COVID, including:
- Remote learning this week and next week's return to school.
- In-school vaccination clinics.
- And rapid tests that have been distributed to students throughout the division.
- On the non-COVID front, the school division showed off PCI CHANNEL 1's latest video and shared a reminder to parents to dress their children appropriately for the winter months.
Before the meeting, the division's superintendent, Todd Cuddington, spoke with Portage Online to discuss the division's plan to persevere through the recent spike of cases in Manitoba.
He first touched on how things are going this week as students learn from home.
"We went into remote learning, and the feedback I've received so far from principles have been very positive considering the difficulty of the situation." He continues. "We really appreciate the patience and understanding of parents because ultimately it puts a lot of added pressure on them."
Cuddington notes that while most students are learning from home, students with special needs or who are considered at risk have still been going to school.
The superintendent shares how schools are preparing for the start of next school week.
"We've distributed rapid antigen test kits to children in that 5 to 11 age range, and so lots of hard work went into organizing and preparing that for over the holidays."
Cuddington says that about half of the 1600 kits made available to the division have been distributed so far.
He notes a big change next week will be how students are spaced out, as schools will work to create more distance between students by using libraries, gymnasiums, multi-purpose rooms, etc.
The superintendent adds that the school division will be calling on parents to monitor symptoms and follow public health guidelines, which Cuddington knows can be hard to keep on top of.
"If parents have questions, they can always reach out to their school principal and administration for clarification."
The school division says they will continue encouraging vaccinations, noting that in-school clinics will start next week in Portage schools through shared health.
Superintendent Cuddington closed the interview by adding that the school division has prioritized safety during this entire pandemic and will continue moving forward.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting will take place on January 25.