Local School Divisions ready for a different kind of year

Daily Herald File Photo

Schools in the region will be returning to classes on September 8. Each of the divisions including the North East School Division (NESD), Prince Albert Catholic School Division, French school division and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division have recently released division guidelines.

Each division is following the guidelines set out by the province and released their division-wide and school-specific plans in August

Each of the schools in the Saskatchewan Rivers and Prince Albert Catholic Division have instituted staggered entry plans that are similar to those in the high school entry plans and dedicated entry doors.

Masks are required for Grade 4 to 12 and there are guidelines available for cloth masks in the re-entry plans. Disposable masks will be provided, and a pair of reusable masks are on order in the divisions for staff and for students.

Mask wearing for earlier grades is recommended, but not mandatory.

Both Prince Albert-based school divisions are opening with a mix of level 2 and 3 of the provincial plan, with a combination of in person and remote learning at the high school level.

In the NESD they will be limiting contact and exposure by staying in a small group, instead of mixing with the whole school. Students will re- main with a consistent cohort (bubble). There will be a homeroom bubble in elementary and One to three class bubbles in high school (dependent on the school size/schedule).

According to the NESD staff will support students to use designated and consistent assigned spots in the classroom. High school students will eat lunch with one of their bubbles. ere will also be a reduction in the number of staff in close and sustained contact with a cohort.

The NESD will be opening schools at Level 2 of the Safe Schools Plan after consultation with Public Health and all students Grade 4 to 12 will be required to wear masks on school buses, unless they are not able to do so safely. Students in pre-k to Grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks while in school or on buses.

The NESD is strongly recommending that students in Grade 4 to 8 wear masks in high traffic areas where social distancing is not possible. As well, masks will be required for all students in Grades 9 to 12 in high traffic areas and wherever physical distancing is not possible.

All staff members are also required to wear masks on buses and when working within a school facility when physical distancing of cannot be maintained. Parents and guardians are encouraged to purchase or construct reusable masks for their child or children but the school division will supply disposable non-medical masks as needed.

Safe transportation protocols include assigned seating for students and a record of this seating plan on school buses and students who live in the same household will be seated together.

As well where possible parents are encouraged to transport their own children and cleaning and sanitation of buses or other vehicles used to transport students is required be- tween each run. Safe access measures to schools include dedicated entrance and exit doors, staggered recess, lunch, and other class transition times to allow for additional space.

Safe classroom measures to reduce the risk of transmission in the classroom include limiting physical contact such as hugs and handholding, as well as encouraging the use of alternative greetings such as, utilizing outdoor spaces for learning when possible and clear protocols for bringing supplementary school materials such as backpacks and school supplies in and out of schools as well as classroom configuration to minimize contact.

For safe supports for all students local health officials will provide sup- port to divisions to implement measures including personal interactions with intensive needs/immune-com- promised students conditions will be in place to allow for the provision of supports within a safe and secure environment, which may include in-school setting or other appropriate spaces for the delivery of education and medically fragile students will have supports in place to address their educational needs.