Graduation plans up to individual Sask. Rivers schools

Saskatchewan Rivers School Board director of education Robert Bratvold answers a question at the 2016 AGM.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division is dealing with many events that traditionally take place once May begins.

At their regular meeting on Monday, May 4 the school board received updates on events such as graduations in the division and events that occur as the school year winds down.

Some schools in the division, like Kinistino, plan their graduation celebrations in May and director of education Robert Bratvold explained that they are in a tough spot but they have made some decisions.

“Our belief is that schools and communities know what best serves their needs and so as long as they are compliant with the Medical Officer of Health and other regulations connected to that then they were in the best position to make the best decisions for what meets the needs to celebrate their graduates. We don’t plan on doing a division-wide edict or directive on what graduation should be or when or how. We just provide encouragement that they occur this year to celebrate the accomplishments of their graduates as long as they adhere to provincial directions,” he said.

A recent letter to parents stated that they cannot expect to have usual graduation celebrations while restrictions on large gatherings are still in place but schools and the division are considering alternative plans for these events and the related scholarships and awards.

“I know there is a whole range of possibilities in terms of how to celebrate and there is also a range of approaches across the province. There are other school divisions making different decisions but that is the nature of the beast even at the best of times, graduations look very different across the province so it just might be exacerbated so it is more different than it normally is,” Bratvold said.

That letter also said that there is no more news on the transition plans for students moving into post-secondary. Discussions are happening at a provincial level, and some institutions are communicating with students directly but there are no details yet.

There is usually a June Barbecue in the division.

“We have decided to postpone the June recognition event but we are not sure if we are going to have some sort of alternate event at the end of this year or postpone it until the fall. We know we are not going to gather together in a large group in June this year but we don’t know whether we are going to do something this year or we are going to postpone the entire event until next year,” Bratvold said.

During the meeting he also updated the board of education on the Supplemental Learning process in the division. He expected to have updated numbers by the end of this week which will provide a better perspective.

“We have indication that there is still strong support for families but we have got some attrition in terms of students actively participating,”

He explained that there is two pieces that need to be understood in regards to the numbers — structure and logistics.

“We know there are some challenges with that access in some other areas. So we have been trying to find other ways around or is it a kind of thing.”

It could also be what occurs normally in the spring during the school year where improving weather makes connecting more challenging. The effect of being out of school in the transition phase might be a part of it.

“Is is the realization that you have been out of school for a long time and we are not sure it is coming back and a psychological kind of thing and addressing those sorts of issues too. There is a number of factors that it can be and it is just monitoring those and addressing those the best we can,” Bratvold said.