Saskatchewan

Regina P3 school rules limit classroom decorating, prohibit opening of windows for 1 year

Teachers at Regina’s new P3 schools will be prohibited from opening windows for one year in classrooms where only 20 per cent of the room is allowed to be decorated.

Rules outlined in staff guide obtained by NDP

The Saskatchewan NDP has raised concerns about limitations and permit requirements for teachers who want to decorate their classrooms at new P3 schools. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Teachers at Regina's new P3 schools will be prohibited from opening windows for one year in classrooms where only 20 per cent of the walls are allowed to be decorated.

The rules are outlined in a guide for staff at the new P3 schools in Regina, which was obtained by the NDP caucus through an FOI application.

The schools are part of a public-private partnership that is building six elementary school sites, housing two schools each, in Saskatoon and the surrounding area. Three more of the double schools are being built in Regina.

The school rules

Rules for teachers at the new Regina schools include a ban on opening windows for the first year after the schools are open to "create an air exchange baseline."

That policy will be reassessed after the first year by the Joint Use Mutual Partnership (JUMP), the public contractor chosen by the province to build and maintain the P3 schools.

The staff guide also outlines rules on classroom decoration.

"No item can be mounted to the walls, doors, windows, ceilings, ceiling spaces, wall fixtures, (lights, panels, millwork, etc.) without written authorization from JUMP," reads the guide. 

According to the guide, teachers are prohibited from using tape, thumb tacks, push pins, staples, adhesive-backed stickers, decals, adhesive sprays, spray paint and markers to decorate their classrooms.

If they do decide to decorate, the guide says, 3M sticky hooks and "fun tack" are allowed.

Two new P3 schools — Ernest Lindner public school and St. Lorenzo Ruiz Catholic School — will be housed in the Hampton Village building in Saskatoon, with a community-use gymnasium in the middle. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

Posters allowed with approved adhesives

Saskatoon Public Schools said staff in its new P3 schools have been told they can put up posters or other items without written permission if they use approved adhesives.

Teachers at all P3 schools must still apply for a penetration permit if they plan to do anything that could break through the drywall thickness. 

NDP education critic Carla Beck said the policies should be revisited.

"It seems that many of the procedures are aimed at what's best for maintaining the school in pristine condition rather than what's in the best interest of students in the classrooms, and teachers," said Beck. 

She was particularly concerned by the staff guide instruction that schools should be treated like a "leased space."

Beck also worried that concern over wear and tear to the buildings would limit public access to school spaces after hours.

"Are we going to see restriction of use of these schools by third-party users, by the community because it might create additional wear and tear on these schools?" said Beck.

"They're there to serve the community, they're there to ensure that kids have a space to learn in, they're there to ensure that communities have a place to gather."

An outdoor learning area at the Hampton Village joint-use school building in Saskatoon overlooks the neighbourhood. The facility was built through a public-private partnership, which is new approach for the Saskatchewan school system. (Bridget Yard/CBC)

3rd-party rentals start October

Saskatoon Public Schools spokesperson Veronica Baker said the new Saskatoon schools would not be available for rental until Oct. 2., after which the guidelines would be the same as at other schools.

Asked whether teachers had objected to the rules outlined in the staff guide, Baker said teachers had been understanding.

"The staff in our new schools understand these facilities are unlike any others in our division. They are working hard to set up their schools and are excited to welcome students on Tuesday," said Baker in a written response to questions.

"The priorities for staff members are building relationships with students and establishing the school community."

Permits not always needed: province

A spokesperson from the provincial government said there was a clause within the project agreement between JUMP and the province that allowed school divisions to hang certain items.

Clocks, whiteboards, tackboards and pictures were some of the examples.

"A permit is only required when a school division needs to install larger items such as shelving units attached to the wall that may come in contact with mechanical or electrical components within the building," said the spokesperson.

The spokesperson said school divisions had developed their own operating manuals and reference guides for staff.

With files from CBC's Bridget Yard

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