Province to announce plan for 2020-21 school year next week
REGINA -- At this time of year, school yards would normally be filled with children anticipating the start of summer, however, schools have been quiet for months.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused classes to head online in March and whether they will stay online or students will return to the classroom in the fall is a concern many parents share.
"I’m hoping that the province and the Chief Medical Health Officer really do give this a lot of consideration and make it so that we can do this safely," Regina parent Heather Woolhouse said.
The provincial government says it has been consulting with education sector partners, including the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, about what the 2020-21 school year will look like.
"Other jurisdictions have cautiously started to resume in-class learning and the Province has been monitoring closely to understand the experience," Minister of Education Gordon Wyant said in a statement to CTV Regina.
The Opposition wants to see concrete guidelines set out by the provincial government about if students will be returning to school and how that will happen.
"We cannot assume that we can create guidelines for adults and expect that children will be developmentally, cognitively able to follow them," NDP education critic Carla Beck said.
NDP leader Ryan Meili also cautioned many schools in Saskatchewan are overcrowded already, which could lead to more issues.
"With this situation and the requirements for more physical distancing, there’s going to need to be a significant investment in schools and we’re waiting to hear any mention of that," Meili said.
STF president Patrick Maze credits the province for not rushing students back into the classroom this spring.
He says making sure schools are safe needs to be the focus of any planning done for the fall semester, including funding for personal protective equipment and increased cleaning.
"When we do come back, we need to make sure the schools are properly equipped so that everybody is safe and the virus isn’t spreading through our schools even worse," Maze said.
Premier Scott Moe says the Province will have more details about what the upcoming school year will look like next week.
Until then, it’s still a wait-and-see approach for parents, students and teachers.