REGINA -- Students streamed back into schools last week for the first time since March, and the Regina Public School Board is pleased with the transition.

"This past week was surprising in that it went smoothly," Terry Lazarou, supervisor of communications with the Regina Public School Board, said on Monday.

The school division staggered the beginning of the school year for students and credits that with the smooth start, as well as the work done by individual schools and teachers to prepare.

"This was a nice way to ease into an entirely new thing," Lazarou said.

After getting a week under its belt, schools have begun to look at what went well and what needs to be adjusted.

"It all varies from school to school," Lazarou said. "Some may have learned that the entrances they selected or the exits could be adjusted in one way or another. Some may have learned about the communication protocols with parents."

With students now back in the classroom and some positive cases of COVID-19 at three Saskatoon schools, the NDP is calling on the government to increase funding to allow school divisions to cohort substitute teachers and provide them with sick pay.

"There are parallels to this that we’ve seen in long-term care where staff were cohorted within one or two facilities to avoid exposure," NDP MLA Carla Beck said.

Regina Public Schools is already doing this with 30 substitute teachers on temporary contracts for the school year.

"We’re keeping them in cohorts of schools. We’ve also expanded our pool of available substitute teachers so they will be available as well," Lazarou said.

This week will be another learning curve for Regina Public Schools as students return to the classroom full-time.

The division also started online learning, with about 2,000 students registered.