Here's a look at the guidelines in place for Sask.'s return to school
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan has released guidelines for the safe return to in-person classes in the Fall.
The Primary and Secondary Educational Institution Guidelines were developed with leadership from Saskatchewan's Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab and with input from the Response Planning Team.
During Thursday's press conference, Dr. Shahab said the back to school plan has been based on the “best expert evidence” and successful reopening plans in other countries around the world.
“Schools have been asked to increase sanitation measures and continue to promote proper hygiene practices. This includes the availability of hand sanitizer wherever possible, establishing clear protocols for bringing supplementary school materials such as backpacks and school supplies in and out of schools, and planning for minimized contact among students and staff as much as possible,” the province said in a news release.
Guidelines include specifics on hygiene, physical distancing, limiting shared materials and equipment, extra-curriculars, facilities, illness in care, sanitation, transportation, students with intensive needs and mental and emotional supports.
Minister of Education Gordon Wyant said he does not anticipate having to split classrooms up or bring in extra staff. He said it’s important to determine how much school divisions have saved, since students were sent home from school.
The 2020-21 budget set aside a $200 million contingency fund for issues associated with COVID-19. Wyant said there’s a possibility of dipping into those funds to help school divisions fund necessary cleaning protocols.
The minister also said school could return as early as Sept. 1 in some districts.
RESPONSE FROM TEACHERS
A statement from the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation says a number of questions were left unanswered in the province's plan.
“Teachers are eager to return to their classrooms and we all understand the need for schools to reopen in the fall,” said Patrick Maze, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. “The health and safety of teachers, students and other staff cannot be compromised. We will continue to work with our sector partners to ensure detailed health precautions and protocols are developed, implemented and funded.”
The federation says it’s willing to work with the province over the summer to address outstanding problems with the guidelines.
WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW
- Your child will be recommended to carry their own personal hand sanitizer, in addition to products made available for general use
- Masks, eye protection are not required
- Young children will be encouraged to minimize physical interaction; as physical distancing is less likely with young groups.
- Signs will be posted to remind parents and guardians not to enter the school when they are sick
- All disinfectants and hand sanitizers used in schools must be Health Canada approved.
- An isolation area will be established for students that have COVID-19 symptoms and cannot immediately leave.
- Parents and caregivers are asked to closely monitor their children for signs of COVID-19.
Click here to read the full set of guidelines provided by the Saskatchewan government.