Schools are a gathering place for our community, so it is hard to comprehend our new reality of quiet classrooms and darkened hallways. However, our role serving the community is more important than ever. Our focus has shifted from educating our most precious community members to stopping operations so we can protect them and our staff members.
The Ministry of Education has directed all schools to pause educational operations Friday, March 20, through Friday, March 27. This measure is being taken to protect our school staff and keep them safe at home. This pause will be treated like a school break – school offices are closed, and teachers will respond to inquiries when this operational pause has concluded. After that, while classes will still be cancelled, our staff will work to answer your questions and provide guidance on supporting students.
We are awaiting direction from the Ministry of Education regarding a supplemental curriculum program for students. For now, our division staff has created an educational resource page for elementary school families that provides numerous links to academic sites appropriate for each grade level. We are working on a plan to provide equitable access to technology for students who may need it. After the operational pause, we will provide more information to families about this.
We are aware that the closure of our schools will impact students who rely on us for nutritious meals. We are working with our community partners to address food security for our students and families. We have attached a list of community agencies that families can access for food services and support.
We will continue to provide division updates on our website www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca/covid19. This page can be accessed from all school websites. Individuals who may have concerns about their health can call the provincial HealthLine at 811 or use the self-assessment tool to determine next steps. Information and updates regarding COVID-19 are available on www.saskatchewan.ca/coronavirus.
We know you have many questions. Our school division is continuing to work through the details with the Ministry of Education and pass along direction to our teachers and administrators. These are unprecedented circumstances we are working through and we want to ensure we are doing what is best for all students. We will provide more information as it becomes available.
For now, please take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Barry MacDougall, Director of Education
Saskatoon Public Schools