Sask. students, teachers and parents wait as other provinces release school reopening details
Premier Scott Moe says back-to-school details will be announced next week
While nearly all of Canada's other provinces and territories have announced some details about what the new school year will look like, Saskatchewan students, teachers and parents will have to wait until next week to hear more about this province's plan.
On June 18, Education Minister Gord Wyant released the provincial back-to-school guidelines. He indicated earlier in the month that kindergarten to Grade 12 students would be returning to in-classroom learning in September.
School divisions were tasked with submitting their plans to the province, using the guidelines. On Monday, Premier Scott Moe said Wyant will share those plans next week.
"We are going to be encouraging physical distancing in schools, to the extent that that is possible," Wyant said on June 18.
When asked about splitting classes based on size or the possibility of bringing in extra school staff, Wyant said not to expect it.
"From my perspective, I don't think you're going to see any material changes with respect to those numbers," Wyant said.
He also said parents would be encouraged to transport their children to and from school.
Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab said at the time that a positive COVID-19 test in a school would not necessarily force a shutdown.
"Even if there were two or three children in the class [with an illness], or there was an outbreak within the school, I don't think that necessarily means that the school needs to shut down again," Shahab said.
He has said in recent days that transmission has not been an issue in daycares and workplaces with large numbers of staff.
He also said not to expect a mask policy for young children.
Earlier this week, the Saskatchewan NDP released its seven requirements from reopening schools, including:
- Increased funding.
- Smaller class sizes.
- Providing personal protective equipment and mask-use guidelines.
- Planning for different scenarios based on COVID-19 transmission in the community.
- Guidance on outbreaks.
"If we don't get school reopening right, the rest of the economic reopening and the safety of Saskatchewan people from COVID-19 is in danger," NDP Leader Ryan Meili said Wednesday.
Plans vary across the country
Over the last two weeks, B.C., Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba became the latest provinces to share details of their back-to-school plans.
Ontario's guidelines require students in grades 4 to 12 to wear masks. The province will supply teachers with medical-grade masks.
Students in some Ontario high schools with relatively high student populations will attend school on alternating days, in cohorts of about 15.
The Ontario government will spend $309 million on its back-to-school plan, which includes money to hire as many as 500 public health nurses who will be assigned to groups of schools.
Manitoba will see all of its students go back to at least some in-classroom instruction, but will also use a hybrid high school model for high school students where physical distancing isn't possible.
Manitoba and Quebec have plans to move teachers between classrooms, rather than students.
B.C. is grouping elementary school students into cohorts or groups of 60 and high school students into cohorts of 120.
Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, and Newfoundland and Labrador are among the provinces that have multiple plans in case of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press