Sask. schools officially closed for rest of academic year
In-person Grade 8 farewells and Grade 12 graduations cancelled in some divisions as they explore other options
Saskatchewan schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year, according to the province.
In the meantime, the provincial government is encouraging students to use online learning opportunities for the rest of the current school year.
"The response to our supplementary learning has just been terrific," said Education Minister Gord Wyant. "We're going to encourage that right through the end of June."
Wyant said final grades have been assigned based on students' marks when classes were suspended in March, but there are opportunities for students to improve existing grades, if they wish to do so.
He also said there are "ongoing conversations" with post-secondary institutions about admittance of grade 12 students, given classes were suspended before completion of the semester.
The Ministry of Education's response planning team is beginning to work on what in-class learning may look like in September.
Wyant said the province is considering "all different scenarios" for next school year, including the possibility of opening schools in some areas while they remain closed in others.
Prairie Valley School Division said it received the news from the province's response planning team on May 6.
"We are very proud of our students in these unprecedented times," said Luc Lerminiaux, director of education, and Janet Kotylak, board chair, in a joint statement.
The division acknowledged that online learning isn't easy for everyone.
"We know it's been challenging, though, for you to support your child's learning without the benefit of a physical classroom or school. Thank you sincerely for your efforts. Please know that we are here to help you and that we are in this together," the statement said.
The Regina Catholic School Division said its schools' supplementary online learning will also continue remotely for the rest of the 2019-2020 year.
"We truly believe this learning will benefit all our students as they move into the 2020-2021 school year," a statement said.
Virtual or postponed Grade 12 graduation celebrations to be determined
The province said school divisions and individual schools are working to celebrate students graduating in 2020. It said many are considering virtual graduation ceremonies or postponements due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Prairie Valley School Division said it is still working out details on celebrations.
"We are excited about the very creative ideas generated to make this a memorable and special event, while still respecting the provincial restrictions to ensure the safety of everyone," the division said in a statement.
The Regina Catholic School Division said individual schools are working on plans to hold Grade 8 farewells and high school graduations that follow the provincial guidelines around COVID-19, with details to be shared in the future.
Saskatoon Public Schools said in an email that in-person Grade 12 graduation ceremonies were cancelled due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
"This decision is heartbreaking, but it is made to protect the health and well-being of our community," a spokesperson for Saskatoon Public Schools said.
School and division staff are looking at different opportunities for recognizing graduates and more information will be released in the coming weeks, they said.
With files from Creeden Martell