Here's what Sask. schools will look like when classes resume in September
REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan has released the Safe Schools Plan, which will help the provinces 27 school divisions safely return to in-person classes.
School divisions submitted their drafted plans to the province's education Response Planning Team (RPT) to ensure guidelines were followed.
Each plan includes eight components:
- Parents and guardians are asked to monitor children for symptoms.
- If you’re unsure if a student has symptoms, refer to the province’s self-assessment tool.
- A quarantine area will be in place in every school, where students with symptoms can isolate until they can be picked up.
- Assigned seating on school buses.
- Students from the same household will be seated together.
- Parents are encouraged to transport their children to school themselves as much as possible.
Buses are to be sanitized between trips.
- Dedicated entrance and exit doors will be in place in every school.
- Lunches, recesses and other transitions will be staggered to minimize interaction between students.
- Directional signage and markings will be employed to control the flow of students and staff in common areas.
- Increased access to hand sanitizers.
- Custodial staff will sanitize school facilities consistently.
- Frequently touched surfaces and objects will be sanitized regularly.
- Limiting physical contacts like hugs and high-fives.
- Outdoor learning where possible.
- Protocols for bringing materials like backpacks in and out of the school.
- Support will be in place to properly educate children who are ‘medically fragile’.
- School divisions will work with public health to address the needs of immunocompromised students.
- Alternate learning will be in place for students who cannot attend school.
- Weekly briefs will occur between education and health officials.
- Virtual assemblies will be utilized over in-person gatherings.
- Reducing the use of shared materials.
SAFE ALTERNATIVE SCENARIOS
- Level 1: Return to school as close to normal as possible, with additional health measures and precautions. This is the scenario officials are planning for on Sept. 1.
- Level 2: Mask usage as determined by public health. These masks are being purchased by the province and will be distributed to school divisions.
- Level 3: In the event it becomes necessary, school capacity will be reduced. This may include establishing cohorts and hybrid learning models.
- Level 4: Implementing learning continuity plans, transitioning to mandatory remote learning.
The NDP education critic Carla Beck said she was at a loss for words after reviewing the province's plan for returning to school in the fall.
Beck said the plan doesn’t put any additional dollars into the education budget, and is disappointed the province is following a best case scenario.
“Somehow the minister has managed to come up with the worst plan in Canada, despite all of the extra time and the ability to learn from the plans of other provinces,” Beck said.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab points to successes in daycare this summer with no major outbreaks a need to return to class.
“If community transmission remains low, the assumption is if there was a case of a child sick with COVID-19 the child would not come to school so there would be not consequence for the school.” Dr. Shahab said.
Dr. Shahab adds if an infected student attended class, public health would work quickly to minimize the impact.
“To compare what’s happening in childcare centres to what’s happening in high schools really does make me think the minister needs to get out into a high school and see what’s going on because it doesn’t look like a childcare centre.” Beck said.