REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan is preparing for schools to return to “pre-pandemic” conditions in the fall.

Guidance for schools as they prepare to return to in-class learning without masks, social distancing or other COVID-19 restrictions will still be provided by the Ministry of Health according to the province’s 2021-22 Safe Schools Plan.

“This includes getting vaccinated as soon as you are eligible, staying home when you are sick, and ensuring hand hygiene and environmental cleaning protocols are consistently used,” the government said in the document.

Fritz Wyssen has two children who go to school in Ituna. He said the family is looking forward to the changes this fall, as the children can better focus on their academics.

“At the same time, also giving them the power to, if they want to wear a mask, absolutely go ahead, (and) that they have cleaning stations,” said Wyssen.

Wyssen said he was also glad to see an emphasis on keeping children home when they are sick.

“It just keeps that whole environment of the school that much healthier,” he said.

Fritz Wyssen

Fritz Wyssen and his family. (Supplied: Fritz Wyssen)

Some cleaning protocols will remain in place, including routine disinfection of school transportation and promotion of hand hygiene in classrooms and bathrooms. School-wide plans for in-depth cleaning should also remain in place, according to the Safe Schools Plan.

Sports and extracurricular activities are permitted to return in full, including sports, dance, drama band, choir, field trips and nutrition programs.

“We’re looking forward to a much more involved school year with more extra-curricular activities, and kind of get back to the norm,” Wyssen said.

Local medical health officers will remain involved in discussions related to any public health risks in schools and will provide tailored approaches to health issues that could arise.

Prescribed structure for day-to-day school operations and protocol for physical distancing will not be in place. Schools will not be required to submit a plan for the school year to the Ministry of Education.

“Staff are encouraged to avail themselves of all Ministry of Health recommended vaccinations,” according to the Safe Schools Plan. “Staff are encouraged to discuss the efficacy of recommended vaccinations with their personal health care providers.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and schools will work together to identify the need for contact tracing and quarantining.

 

Regina Public and Catholic School students resumed in-person classes on May 3, after being sent home for remote learning at the end of March.