Schools in Saskatchewan to close Friday to prevent coronavirus spread
Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation approves of government action
Schools in Saskatchewan will close starting Friday, according to the province.
Monday to Thursday will serve as a winding down period for students from kindergarten to Grade 12, so parents who are not able to keep their children home immediately have time to make other arrangements.
Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said he's glad the province made this move although students could be concerned about their marks.
"Those who are worried about marks for getting into university and things like that will probably find some ways to be provided with supplementary work, and teachers will endeavour to provide that to them as well," Maze said.
Maze said the teachers he has heard from are feeling good about the decision. As for the winding down period rather than an instant shutdown, Maze said he thinks the measures are reasonable given the information available.
Regina mom Martha Neovard said she's lucky she can stay home with her kids and has already started because members of her family are at high risk of health complications if they were to contract the virus.
The important issue now is to make life easier for families, she said.
"We really need to have programming and infrastructure in place soon to help those families who need childcare, who need to return to work or to prevent them from being financially burdened or penalized by their employers," she said.
Her first day at home with the kids was challenging for Neovard. Her children still want to learn and she's been saving free resources to keep them busy.
"They brought me a list of the things that they wanted me to teach them," she said.
"I can't even imagine trying to approach this, especially when you have children with extra needs at home, children who rely on routine in order to feel safe in their environment. Without all those factors, I'm already feeling overwhelmed."
For Neovard, empathy is key for parents.
"Realistically, I think people need to be really gentle on themselves and do what they can," she said.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic also decided Monday to cancel classes for the remainder of the week. Programs will be available online or "through alternate delivery options where possible" effective March 23.