Students return to new world of education Tuesday

Students were guided into one of the entrances to Vincent Massey School in Prince Albert on the first day of classes, Tuesday, Sept. 8./Michael Oleksyn Daily Herald

Schools across Prince Albert welcomed students back to the classroom Tuesday.

Both the Saskatchewan Rivers and Prince Albert Catholic School Divisions reported that parents were cooperative as they sent their kids back for the first day in a new education world.

“Everybody reported a really good day and I think that our parents and our students were so supportive and so ready to do what they needed to do,” Catholic Division director of education Lorel Trumier said.

“It has been really quite positive. Students were excited to be back, interested in knowing what the new procedures were, I guess thankful to be back with their friends and their teachers,” Sask. Rivers education director Robert Bratvold said.

“Not without some nervousness and some sort of quiet exploring things; but with some excitement to be back. Parents have done a great job in terms of getting their kids ready and so have schools.”

Both Bratvold and Trumier had discussions with principals at all levels from elementary to high schools. Trumier explained that students were wearing masks and prepared with hand sanitizer.

“So just a big thank you to our families,” Trumier said.

Staff are adapting to the new expectations in a new environment.

“From all accounts I hear it was a great day,” Trumier said.

“I even know our schools, some of them did a virtual assembly today, so that is pretty exciting. They were able to introduce all of the staff to the entire school but they did it virtually. The teachers had it up on their smartboards or on their projectors.”

Bratvold explained that the entire administration, staff and parents had all done plenty of work to be prepared.

“Several of the principals commented about just being thankful for the support, patience and flexibility of parents, that came across pretty strongly too,” he said.

Everyone has been embracing the situation.

“One of our substitute teachers said it best ‘I’m not fearful of COVID, I am just respectful of it so if I can understand what it takes to be respectful than I can continue to do what I need to do’,” Trumier said.

At another school in the Catholic Division, teachers greeted their new students and took an extra moment before entering the school. They would take off their mask and introduce themselves and have the student do the same so they know how each other look.

“So they had this moment where you could connect with each other and be respectful of rekindling their friendships and their relationships as teacher and students. I think it was good for everybody, I think everybody went home tired though,” Trumier said.

“Because we had the extra time to spend with students to get them ready, it reduces the anxiety.”

According to Trumier, the kids were happy to be back.

“I think that the other thing that our kids were just so happy to be with each other. They have been out of school for a long time and they really wanted to be back. So it was nice to hear that was a big positive today,” Trumier said.