Today, the provincial government announced that in-class learning for prekindergarten to Grade 12 students will resume at the start of the new school year. This means students are expected to return to our schools on September 1. While a return to the classroom in the fall is expected, there will be contingency plans in place in case of an elevated risk of COVID-19 transmission, and in-class learning unable to resume as planned, either regionally or provincially.
This decision made by the provincial government is based on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Health Officer. Since the closure of schools on March 20, all decisions have been made with student, staff, and community health as the priority. This remains the most important aspect of our work as we go forward. The Ministry of Education, with the input of the Education Response Planning Team, is developing public health guidelines for schools with the Chief Medical Health Officer. The guidelines will be shared with school divisions next week.
We know there are many questions about how schools will operate in September. Earlier this month, we surveyed our staff about what we needed to consider as we prepare for the new academic year. Now that we know we will be back in the fall, our school division wants to hear from you. We know that while classes will resume, the daily details of our work have changed. We want to give parents and caregivers an opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas with us as we prepare for September. Watch for an invitation to take part in the survey in the coming days.
For now, our supplemental learning program will end on Friday, June 19. While this will be the last day for assignments to be due or lessons to be provided, school staff will continue to be available for conversations and questions the following week. During that final week of the year, staff in our schools will be preparing for the fall and considering changes to the operations of the school to ensure everyone is safe.
The past three months have been a difficult time for all our families. Thank you for your continued support of your teachers and school staff, who worked hard to adapt quickly in order to serve their students as best they could. I’m incredibly proud of the work we have done this year, especially in these last three months. We cannot wait to see students again in September.
Barry MacDougall, Director of Education
Saskatoon Public Schools