The Manitoba Government announced a full return to in-person learning yesterday as we head into that time of year when parents, children and teachers prepare for the new school year.

Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko shared the news that the province will distribute an additional $6.5M to support students' post-pandemic academic needs and well-being this fall.

Portage MLA Ian Wishart says this funding will help determine the most significant problems with students coming back from off and on online learning and what the government can do to address their needs.

"There's already been dollars allocated through the school boards to make special activities to help kids get back up to speed. So, it's very exciting really for kids to go back in the classroom now and back to regular activities, including school field days and things like that. So, everybody is pretty upbeat about this."

Wishart says this year's start will be as close to a typical year as possible.

"School boards still maintain the ability, if they have special cases, to take some steps, but we certainly expect that to start back with very few restrictions in place."

The MLA notes the process of bringing students back to where they should be.

"We talked about doing some of it remotely, and some of it will be in person, as well. And there'll be some help in the area of mental health, as is determined by the needs, and that'll be division by division that'll work with that," continues Wishart. "Trying to get kids that in the last couple of years haven't excelled as well, doing things remotely, and trying to get them up to speed and back into the mainstream of classrooms."

In the announcement, the government also shared that $150,000 of the $6.500,000 will go toward a Kids Help Phone, 24/7 counselling and crisis support. Wishart adds that this expands an already existing resource for students.