WINNIPEG -- Manitoba’s chief public health officer says it’s unlikely students will be able to return to school after the current three week suspension.

During Thursday’s daily COVID-19 update, Dr. Brent Roussin said he does not expect students to be allowed to return to school in April.

“This is something that we should expect in the long run,” he said. “This is not going to be a sprint. In a couple of weeks, this is not going to be over.

“We’re looking at how we’re going to message that, what steps we’re going to take forward, especially with the school suspensions, and we’ll have more to follow.”

All kindergarten to Grade 12 classes in Manitoba were suspended from March 23 to April 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the province assessing at that time whether they would reopen schools.

“The way that things are moving here, that we really haven’t even seen the sustained community transmission at this point, it’s difficult to comprehend a scenario where we would be returning people, lifting our social distancing strategies any time in the next few weeks,” Roussin said.

Manitoba has been under a 30-day state of emergency since March 20, with gatherings of more than 50 people prohibited.

As of Thursday, Manitoba has reported a total of 36 confirmed and probable positive cases of COVID-19.