Premier Pallister has announced his planned departure from public life, as he will not be seeking re-election. I respect his personal decision and wish him and his family well.

Recently, our provincial government released its plan for Kindergarten to Grade 12 students to have a safe return to classrooms in September. Students and staff will be returning to full-time in class learning, while continuing to follow the “COVID-safe” basics, such as self-screening, hand hygiene, and staying home when sick. Masks are recommended for all students, staff, and visitors. Masks and personal protective equipment will be provided to schools. Public health officials will continue to monitor data and local conditions closely. All guidance will be reviewed before the start of the school year and on an ongoing basis.

The 2021-22 school year will focus on addressing the mental health and well-being of students and the education workforce, ensuring supports for students with disabilities, as well as addressing the learning impacts from the pandemic. As part of the plan to ensure the health and wellness of students, a renewed focus on immunizations for school-aged youth will also launch this fall. Immunization teams will be providing COVID-19 vaccinations at schools for students aged 12-17. Planning is also underway to provide COVID-19 vaccines to students aged 5-11, once the vaccines are approved for use. Public health and education officials are also putting plans in place to ensure young people can catch up on important immunizations that may have been delayed due to the pandemic, such as HPV, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease and tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis.

Visit https://manitoba.ca/covid19/schools/ for more information regarding the provincial plan for reopening schools and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for students and staff.

With the new public health orders that recently came into effect, it is no longer mandatory to wear a mask in public spaces. However, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, it is recommended that everyone continues to wear a mask whenever possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage all Manitobans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to continue following public health orders.  All Manitobans aged 12 and up are now eligible to book an appointment to be vaccinated. Eligibility for second-doses has begun as well. For more information and to book an appointment, please visit https://protectmb.ca/ or call 1-844-626-8222.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact my constituency office.

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