Teachers across Manitoba say education system is on verge of collapse

WINNIPEG — Hundreds of teachers, support staff, and school leaders are calling on the Manitoba government to increase funding for the education system to help with challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the education system is on the verge of collapse.

A letter sent from Advocacy for Education MB Monday morning is signed by over 400 people and has been sent to Premier Brian Pallister and Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen. The letter is asking for a clear indication of where provincial funding is going and are asking for additional support.

“As similar to the letter you recently received from our doctors and medical experts in Manitoba, teachers and education staff have reached capacity with regards to physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion,” the letter reads. “Our ability to continue supporting our students and families is in jeopardy — this is our breaking point and collapse of our system is imminent.”

The letter says the $85.4 million in federal funding was provided to Manitoba, but it is still not clear where the money was handed out.

“We need education and clear guidelines. We need consistent messaging from our leadership during the most challenging of times, not only when restrictions are being lifted. We need to know, through action, policy, and funding, that we are valued, valuable, and are being listened to,” the letter reads.

The letter adds teachers are bouncing between two or three locations in a school simultaneously while also managing remote learners. It said school principals are starting contact tracing instead of conducting their normal duties and school divisions have run out of available substitutes to fill teacher absences.

Goertzen will announce funding for remote learning at 11 a.m. on Monday. CTV News Winnipeg will live-stream the event.

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