In the News
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Choice is to boost now or wait
Article, Winnipeg Free Press (Sept 7, 2022)
While her family has considered public health’s recommendation, Karn said they will not delay vaccination any longer. “We are in very high-risk settings,” she said. “We don’t wait a day or a week, and we feel that’s important because we know that COVID has spread through families, children, community, daycares and schools and it’s still spreading. So every day counts.”
It has been frustrating to see her loved ones denied the choice to receive a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine under current public health eligibility criteria, Karn said. When the provincial government allows all Manitobans ages 12 and up to receive a fourth dose Monday, Karn said she and her partner will be at the front of the line.
The adult educator and parent, who advocates for strengthened public health measures in schools with the group Safe September MB, received her second booster shot in July, following a bout of COVID-19. Her partner, who comes into contact with hundreds of people daily for work, could not receive the same booster shot owing to her age.“It’s the start of the school year and the fall. We want those three to four weeks of immunity built up as quickly as possible,” she said.
Back to school ... like the old days
Article, Winnipeg Free Press (Aug 29, 2022)
Two years ago, Safe September MB launched as an advocacy campaign to increase funding for COVID-19 protocols in schools, strengthen overall health measures, and provide transparent case reporting ... “We’re not post-pandemic yet. If we need to learn to live with COVID-19, we also need to have the information to protect ourselves as families and students and staff, and that’s a provincial responsibility,” said Luanne Karn, a former organizer with Safe September MB, who is also a public school parent, educator and trustee candidate in the upcoming municipal election.
Citing extensive research backing the effectiveness of masks in reducing transmission, Karn said she and her Grade 5 daughter will both be donning face coverings this fall. The Winnipeg mother said she is disappointed there have been few details released about specific ventilation upgrades. She wants to know whether her daughter’s school has received money to upgrade its system, if it’s using a high-quality air filter, and whether CO2 levels will be monitored at the room-level when windows cannot be open throughout winter months.
On Tuesday, the education minister spoke about $6.8 million in provincial dollars spent on school ventilation last year and mentioned $4.5 million in federal funding will go towards related infrastructure upgrades this year.
Parent collective calls for shredding of Bill 64
Article, Winnipeg Free Press (April 5, 2021)
More than 3,200 parents who hail from all corners of the province have signed an open letter to Premier Brian Pallister and Education Minister Cliff Cullen in opposition to Bill 64 (Education Modernization Act). “Our government is using the current crisis as an opportunity, taking advantage of our collective pandemic-related grief, anxiety, and fatigue, to impose radical changes to our K-12 school system,” states the letter, which was put together by Parents for Public Education MB.
Education Minister responds to parents' concerns about Bill 64
Video Interview, CityNews Winnipeg (April 10, 2021)
The Education Minister has responded to an open letter written by Parents for Public Education MB, who have shared concerns about Bill 64. But the response from the Education Minister has caused more critique of the province's proposed changes to public education in Manitoba.
"Mothers Day" Remote Learning Announcement in Manitoba
Video Interview, CTV News Winnipeg (May 11, 2021)
Some Manitoba parents think the province needed to be more proactive when it comes to the spread of COVID-19 in schools, and waited too long to announce the shift to remote learning. “We saw the numbers rising, parents have been through this already once before,” said Luanne Karn with Parents for Public Education. “We could’ve had better contact tracing to deal with the outbreaks and exposures at our schools in April, and that could’ve prevented the size of this third wave that we’re seeing in our schools.”
Manitoba to halt close-contact notices in schools
Article, Winnipeg Free Press (Jan 13, 2022)
“They say the next step is we mitigate the risk, so let’s mitigate the risk by checking the CO2 levels in the classroom, opening the windows when the ventilation is not good, moving to another location, putting in portable HEPA filtration units, that can be delivered in a week, and N95 masks,” said Luanne Karn, a mother of an elementary schooler and member of Safe September MB. The grassroots movement has been advocating for additional resources for public health measures in schools that have been backed by science throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Parents want to know if there is a positive case in their child’s class, Karn said, suggesting the province’s latest announcement contradicts the spirit of its own legislation. According to the Public Schools Act, a principal must notify a local health authority if they have reason to believe a student attending their school “has been exposed to or is suffering from a communicable disease.”
MSBA Panel Discussion - Building the Future of Public Education
Youtube Video, AGM Manitoba School Boards Association (March 11, 2022)
In December 2021, a significant research poll conducted by Probe Research asked a representative sample of Manitobans what they believe would improve public schools in our province. The panel provides their varying views on what they took away from the poll results. Their perspectives will help guide discussions and decisions of education partners, the government and the public in the future.
Moderator: Todd Cuddington, Superintendent, Portage la Prairie School Division. Panelists: Lesley Eblie Trudel, Associate Dean and Assistant Professor, University of Winnipeg; Luanne Karn, Parents for Public Education; and Brie Villeneuve, Student and Advocate.
Campaign to defeat Bill 64 in Manitoba
Article, Winnipeg Free Press (Dec 28, 2021)
Grassroots groups, including Parents for Public Education MB, Protect Ed MB and Rural Voices United, formed with a sole purpose of destroying the legislation. Throughout the summer, municipalities began passing motions to make clear their opposition to dismantling their partner boards.
Community members questioned how the new system would be accountable, representative and equitable. They wanted to know why the bill ended a moratorium on school closures and a cap on school bus commutes longer than an hour, while including a clause that would allow parents to pull students from lessons on “potentially sensitive content.”
The timing of the sweeping changes — which were introduced amid a pandemic that heightened family stress and educator burnout — was also put under the microscope. In the letter, the families claim the legislation will decrease accountability in the education system by eliminating elected trustees, aims to fix a system that is not broken, and increase the workload on parents with the creation of new school community councils.