Manitoba schools are into their third week of classes and students and staff are settling back into the academic routine. While the return of school is generally highly anticipated for families of school aged children, this year was particularly special as it marked the full return to in person learning across the K-12 education system. This included the return of extracurricular activities that form such an important part of the school experience.
As a parents of a child in the school system, our home went through the usual preparations that many families do in the anticipation of school”s return. We were busy making sure the right school supplies were purchased and figuring out school and extracurricular schedules. These are all very welcome arrangements as our family and many others have looked forward to this school year and full in class learning.
But for many families, the return to school is a struggle. Providing school supplies and food can be a challenge. This has always been the case for some families, but the sharp rise in prices due to record levels of inflation have added to the difficulty for many. In communities like Steinbach and around the province, local organizations have recognized this need and hold annual school supply drives to assist families. That generosity is part of what makes our communities great places to live.
In addition, individual schools and school divisions have for years been working with parents and community partners to help provide nutrition programs in schools. This year, the Manitoba government increased its support to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba by $1.3 million, bringing the total investment for school nutrition programs to $2.5 million. This is in addition to all the great work that is done at the community level to ensure that young people are not in class hungry because they lack access to nutritious food.
Also, this year Manitoba”s Education Minister announced $6.5 million to support schools and students returning to full in class learning. This includes funding for after school learning supports and ventilation and air filter upgrades.
A special thank you to the teachers and staff who not only prepared for the return to in class learning this year, but who have been managing through the past two very difficult school years. All the staff in our schools have worked hard to assist students and prepare schools for this year”s full return. This includes all the bus drivers, janitorial staff and others who help keep our schools operating and our students safe. As parents we are grateful for those efforts and for the support that we know our children receive in school.
As the school year progresses, I want to wish all the students and staff in our schools a successful and rewarding year.