The incoming school year 2021-2022 will revert to its normal pre-pandemic operations with COVID-19 restrictions no longer followed, after the Saskatchewan Health Authority lifted all health protocols that the province implemented last year.
“COVID-19 restrictions will no longer be in place and the 2021-2022 school year will proceed as during pre-pandemic years. Much like other businesses and sectors throughout the province, public health officials have determined that it is safe for schools to resume traditional in-class learning. Schools will not be required to have masking, physical distancing or other COVID-19 restrictions used in the 2020-21 school year,” said the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation on its website.
The decision was based on the re-opening roadmap through the combined efforts of the provincial government and the Chief Medical Health Office. The final phase of the re-open Saskatchewan roadmap was on July 11 where all public health restrictions and orders were lifted. However, the approach and plans for the school year can change depending on the risks or epidemiology.
The high rate of vaccinations in the province should help protect children under the age of 12, who are still ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said kids 11 years old and below are not independently mobile and a high vaccination rate in parents, educators, and families and friends who are eligible for the vaccine protects them indirectly.
The STF, on its website, said schools have not been a cause of concern as a source of direct COVID-19 cases, and infection and transmission rates are also lower compared to other places in communities. School officials will continue to seek advice of provincial health officers on how to control the risk of COVID-19 and lessen the spread of the virus.
The Ministry of Health, the STF added, is advising individuals to get vaccinated as soon as they become eligible and remain at home when you feel sick or feel symptoms of COVID-19. Have yourself tested if the symptoms remain while personal hygiene and cleaning protocols must continue.
The Saskatoon Public Schools website states classes in all public schools begin on Sept. 1 on a staggered start from kindergarten to Grade 8, which will also be followed in Collegiate schools. All students will attend school the following day, Sept. 2. More information on school-specific operations will be released in August.
The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools will also follow the same staggered start with elementary students whose last names begins from letters A to K coming to class on the first day while students whose last names are from letters L to Z attending school the next day.
In high schools, incoming grade 9 students will take the morning class while the Grades 10 to 12 will take the other half of the first day of the school year. Normal cases with all students from all Catholic schools will be on September 3.
The SPS will again be offering online learning from kindergarten to Grade 12 students with full-time curriculum options that include French immersion. Online classes will be offered both the same time teacher is online with the students or the student accessing the lessons and course content in their own time.
Other important dates to remember for the upcoming school year are the winter break with the last day of classes set on Dec. 17 and resume on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. The last day of classes before the February break is on Friday, Feb. 18 and will resume on Monday, Feb. 28. The spring break begins after Thursday, April 14 and classes resume on Monday, April 25. The final day of school is on Wednesday, June 29.