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School, municipal playgrounds closed


People wanting to take advantage of the nice spring weather by frolicking on school playground equipment are out of luck.
As of last week, Mountain View School Division (MVSD) shut off access to its playgrounds, posting signs asking people to stay away.
MVSD Superintendent/CEO Dan Ward said the decision was made following consultations with the Manitoba School Boards Association and the Department of Education.
It is a move, he said, being made by most school divisions and municipalities including the City of Dauphin.
“We made a decision this week to close our playgrounds to the public which, obviously, is a hard decision to make,” Ward said.
“It’s out of an abundance of caution to curtail the spread of COVID-19.”
With families isolating in their homes, Ward said people are eager to get outside for some fresh air and exercise. There are plenty of options with parks and fields where outdoor activities can be enjoyed with social distancing in mind. MVSD play equipment is not one of those options.
“We have closed our play structures to the public for two reasons. One is a lot of the play equipment is what would be considered a frequently high-touch surface. And the other piece is to also encourage social distancing for children in the public,” Ward said.
“It’s one thing to go out as a family for a walk but we’re at this point in time where we are in this pandemic and we’re really encouraging, you know, social distancing. And we know when children play it’s very, very hard to maintain that recommend two meters. So that led us to that difficult decision to close the playgrounds.”
While the division office has nor received any feedback on the issue, Ward said, he expects people will understand why the move had to be made.
“As difficult as it is, especially as the weather warms up, I think there’s a general understanding that this is done out of an abundance of caution,” he said.
“And we’re really trying to promote the recommendations of the chief public health officer to, you know, maintain social distancing.”
Ward said school administrators will continue to monitor and report on activity on school property.