The first official day back to school for students at Maple Creek Composite School and Sidney Street School is Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.
On Aug. 4, the Government of Saskatchewan released the Safe Schools Plan for the fall re-opening of schools. It covers eight safety components: attendance, transportation, access, facilities, classrooms, supports, activities, and alternatives. The Chinook School Division, one of Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions, has released a detailed re-opening plan to staff, families, and the public. On Aug. 11, the government released additional guidelines outlined here.
The Government of Saskatchewan, Education’s Response Planning Team (RPT) and Public Health guidelines are being updated to support the safe return of children to school.
The province and Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab have provided additional guidance for divisions wishing to move to Level 2.
This guidance is being made to provide consistent direction to school divisions, which will implement specific plans and measures best-suited to their location and facilities.
For those divisions exploring measures in Level 2, the following guidance has been provided by Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer: Students in Grades 4 through 12 wear a mask in high-traffic areas, such as in hallways and on buses. For those students in Grades 9 through 12, masks may be required in classrooms — where it is not possible to maintain physical distancing or where students are outside of the cohort within their classroom, as well as all teachers and staff.
For those high schools that have a high-density population, further discussions with Saskatchewan’s 27 school divisions have resulted in factors being developed for those considering Level 3.
Factors that would be considered include the location, structure, and population density of the school. School divisions may consider additional options, including alternating days for high school students.
Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer has also directed the following additional measures to be included in all division plans:
• teacher and class cohorting, with a focus on cohorting teachers to a limited number of students and keeping students in one cohort as much as possible;
• in elementary school settings, students’ cohorts will be the classroom;
• in high school settings where cohorting is more complex, school divisions will be encouraged to find creative solutions to move students in cohorts where possible;
•front-facing instruction for students, any exceptions will be identified for approval by public health; and
• staggered start times, breaks, and end times, where possible.
Students are encouraged to bring their own non-medical cloth masks. Mask guidelines can be found in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan at http://www.saskatchewan.ca/re-open.
The Government of Saskatchewan has procured six million disposable masks for schools in Saskatchewan with an investment of $2.3 Million.
These masks will be made available to students, teachers, and staff at the beginning of the school year and on a daily basis.
The Government of Saskatchewan continues to monitor the transmission of COVID-19 in the province and updates will be made to the Safe Schools Plan as necessary based on the advice of the chief medical health officer.
The RPT will continue to work with the education sector to develop and implement guidelines, as the pandemic situation evolves.
Everyone should continue to practice preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands frequently and staying home if you are sick.