SASKATOON — Classes in all public and Catholic schools will most likely follow the same COVID-19 safety protocols that were in place last year when classes for the 2021-2022 school year resume on Sept. 1.
The Saskatoon Public Schools released separate handbooks for elementary and collegiate students while the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools issued their own Safe School Plan. All schools under the SPS and GSCS will have in-class learning.
Education Director Shane Skjerven said SPS is committed to all students and staff enjoying a safe learning and working environments, based on consultations with provincial health officials who provide guidance.
“We look forward to welcoming students back to school. While much has changed in our province in the last year, [SPS] remains committed to protecting our students, staff members, and school communities by providing safe learning and working environments,” said Skjerven.
“We are incredibly proud of the work of our staff members and commitment of our students during the last school year. Our schools — both in-person and online — were responsive to their communities. Staff members followed protocols and modelled it for our students. In turn, students showed great resilience and learned what it truly means to be part of a community.”
SPS will require and encourage students, staff, and visitors to do the following: wear masks while inside schools (elementary and collegiate); students and staff must undergo daily health screenings before going to school; those who are sick must stay at home; continue with proper hygiene like washing your hands; and cleaning and disinfecting. Collegiate will also move to a quarter system to reduce contact.
GCSC will also follow almost the same safety measures and will start school at Level 2 or full in-class learning with additional protocols based on their Safe School Responsive Levels. Level 1 is full in-class learning (pre-pandemic with some additional measures), Level 3 reduced in-class learning (combination of in-person and distance learning), and Level 4 distance learning for all students.
In addition, school staff will monitor students who are already in school but suddenly feel ill. They will be put into a separate room while waiting for their parent or guardian to pick them up. The ill child must wear a mask while waiting in the isolation room or until they are picked up. The school staff who is monitoring the ill child must wear medical grade masks.
Students who will attend distance learning classes will receive the same support from teachers and staff, using Google Classroom if it is needed. GSCS is also making online education available to students or families who might choose this option.
Masks must also be worn by students and staff while riding the bus, and in the Before and After School programs. Teachers and staff, however, can remove their masks if the two-meter distance can be maintained during classes so students can better understand the lesson.
SPS and GSCS will also resume curricular and extracurricular activities — like sports, performing arts, and other clubs — but safety must remain a priority. They are also encouraging staff and students, who are already eligible, to take both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.