Report from the Legislature August 6, 2020

Aug 6, 2020
A safe return to school has been the top priority of your Saskatchewan Party government ever since our in-school programs came to a halt this past March.

A safe return to school has been the top priority of your Saskatchewan Party government ever since our in-school programs came to a halt this past March.

Recently, our government released a plan that will allow for our staff and students to return safely to school this fall. We have evaluated best practices and emerging research that has been provided by public health and have worked alongside our Chief Medical Health Officer to develop this plan.

Our government has developed an eight-step guideline for general operation. All steps will be tailored by their school division to fit the needs of local students and staff. We trust local autonomy, as we understand that a cookie-cutter plan will not work across our province. By laying out the foundation, school divisions will develop plan that is practical for their area. In close consultation with public health officials, the Education Response Planning Team has reviewed and approved each plan to ensure alignment with Saskatchewan’s Safe Schools plan.

Safe attendance and safe classrooms are part of these new operational guidelines. All staff and students are encouraged to stay home if they are feeling unwell. Protocols will be put in place for a staff member or student who falls ill while at school. In the classroom, procedures to limit physical contact and promoting hygiene will be implemented.

The third priority within the guidelines is safe transportation. Where possible, parents are encouraged to transport their own children to and from school. Recognizing this isn’t an option for many, there will also be protocols in place for those who will utilize transport such as:

  • Assigned seats and a record of this seating plan on school buses;
  • Students who live in the same household should be seated together;
  • Partitions around drivers can be considered; and
  • Cleaning and sanitation of buses or other vehicles used to transport students is required between each run.

The fourth and fifth priorities are safe access and safe facilities. Safe access will focus on the daily flow of students and staff within the building. Safe access includes school-level considerations such as dedicated entrances, staggered start times and controlled flow of students and staff in common areas.

Safe facilities will focus on the cleaning and sanitation of school buildings. Each school has been asked to increase sanitation measures and continue to promote proper hygiene practices. This includes the availability of hand sanitizer wherever possible and establishing clear protocols for bringing supplementary school materials such as backpacks and school supplies in and out of schools. If needed, the ministry will provide Personal Protection Equipment, or PPE to students and teachers at the request of the Chief Medical Health Officer.

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