It’s the first day of school in many school divisions across the province, as students and teachers try to resume in-person classes to start the year.
Each school division has come out with their own COVID-19 plan to start the year, with some students and staff required to wear masks in hallways, common areas, and in some cases even in classrooms.
While there’s no blanket policy in place across the province, Saskatchewan School Boards Association President Dr. Shawn Davidson says they trust all 27 locally-elected school boards across the province.
“We have maintained throughout the pandemic — we maintained in everything that we do — that the voice of the locally-elected is critically important in education governance,” Davidson said. “As we have through this entire pandemic, as we have for years and years before that as we dealt with challenges in education, it’s always been done by local decision makers.”
Davidson says a great relationship has been established between the localized medical health officers and school divisions in the last year and a half.
“Every division has sometimes one, sometimes multiple local medical health officers that they’re working with,” Davidson said. “Through that model, we are getting good scientific advice from the medical folks around what we should be doing as far as protocols in school divisions, and then each of the 27 boards take that information and integrates it into their decision making in their local context.”
Davidson says school divisions aren’t necessarily done with remote learning.
“Divisions have certainly learned from the pandemic, and there will be some students that will continue to embrace that learning model, and that’s fine — there’s some students that do thrive in that kind of a model — but there are others who certainly struggle with it.”
Locally, the Regina Public School Division returns Tuesday, while the Catholic School system starts a new school year Thursday.