Province announces changes to COVID-19 contact tracing as students return Monday – Winnipeg | The Canadian News

Manitoba is changing the way its schools conduct contact tracing as students return to classes on Monday, while the Omicron variant continues to spread.

Provincial officials said Thursday afternoon that schools will no longer notify close contacts of individual cases, but will provide staff and student absenteeism reports through regular channels.

Public Health will investigate and make recommendations if a school’s COVID-19 activity is deemed to indicate transmission above expected levels in the community.

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Most Manitobans are likely to be exposed to Omicron in the near future, says Atwal

“As public health officials study the Omicron variant and continue to learn more about it, they caution that we must change how we respond to COVID-19 both in the community and in schools,” Manitoba’s education minister said. , Cliff Cullen.

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“The changes that public health has recommended for case and contact management in schools will ensure ongoing monitoring of risk in individual schools as we learn to live with the virus.”

The province said recommendations, in cases where increased transmission occurs, could include implementing a rapid antigen testing period or other preventative measures, and even recommending a week of remote learning if necessary.

“The Omicron variant is not going away and we must learn to live with the virus. This means changing our mindset from trying to contain the virus to trying to mitigate our risk,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, director of public health for Manitoba.

“Public health officials will also continue to monitor cases in schools and work with schools to track staff and student absenteeism rates. This will help us target measures like rapid antigen testing programs and remote learning to specific schools as needed, rather than all measures being applied to all schools in a region.”

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Manitoba schools return to remote learning until January 17

Students and staff who are potentially exposed at school will be able to continue to attend in-person classes, as long as they are symptom-free. Those who test positive on a PCR or rapid antigen test, or who suspect they have COVID-19, are encouraged to notify the school and follow provincial isolation requirements.

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“The benefits of in-person learning cannot be underestimated, from mental and physical health to socialization and supporting families,” Cullen said.

“Schools have done a tremendous amount of work and have measures in place to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect our children. Schools will continue to work with public health to help mitigate the risk of the virus and keep children where they belong: in the classroom.”

Click to play video: 'Manitoba schools return to remote learning through January 17'

Manitoba schools return to remote learning until January 17

Manitoba schools return to remote learning through January 17 and 4, 2022

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