COVID-19 has turned our sense of normal upside down. Every aspect of our lives is different and will continue to be different for a long time. We have had to unite in our commitment to flatten the curve, an endeavour that has greatly paid off as seen by our relatively low case numbers. It’s important that we acknowledge the immense stress this has caused so many of us. It’s been especially difficult for families with children. This is an unprecedented time in our lives and we are all navigating this together. The Province of Manitoba has been taking their cues from public health officials and regulations are evolving along with the evolution of COVID-19 in our province.
Recently, the Manitoba Government, in line with public health recommendations, announced that school for students in kindergarten to grade 12 will take place in person this upcoming fall. I know that this causes a heightened level of anxiety for many. I encourage everyone to talk about their anxieties and stresses during this difficult time. Mental health concerns are serious and affect us all. For more information on free online counselling services set up through the Province of Manitoba to help get us through COVID-19, please go to https://www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/bewell/index.html
We must move forward and learn to live with this virus until there is a vaccine. At this time, that means planning for in person learning beginning this fall. School divisions are responsible for planning how students will effectively physically distance while learning. Manitoba public health officials have guidelines in place to help school districts plan properly. I have great faith in the many hard-working people behind the scenes who are diligently planning for a safe and productive return to school.
COVID-19 has changed how we live and it will continue to affect us for some time to come. Let’s remember that while this is difficult, there will come a time when the stress we are under will lessen, we will be able to gather in large groups, and we will have a vaccine. Until then, let’s continue to follow public health orders and treat each other with kindness and compassion. We will get through this difficult time together.