Classes will be back in session come September, but while other provinces are bringing on tons of policy changes, classrooms here will look relatively normal. Saskatchewan schools won't have any mandatory mask policies or reduced class sizes to start with. They're aiming for as close to a normal school environment as possible, for now.
In an update on Tuesday, August 4, the province released a back-to-school plan detailing some of the changes that will take place come September. Included is a four-tiered system with different levels of protection.
When students return to school, they'll return under "level one:" "As close to normal as possible, with additional health measures and precautions."
This means no mandatory masks, no on-site testing or screening, and no reduced class sizes.
Depending on how the situation develops, the system might get bumped up to "level two," where masks might be used at the discretion of the Chief Medical Health Officer.
"Level three" means reducing school capacity and "level four" means cutting in-person learning and moving to remote schooling.
"As the situation with COVID-19 in Saskatchewan is fluid, plans may be updated and adjusted as needed," reads the release.
The government also outlined seven "areas of focus" to help protect students. This includes asking parents to screen their children for signs of illness and keeping them home if they're sick.
School busses will also have assigned seating, where students from the same household are seated together.
In school, there will be doors specific for entries and exits, as well as staggered break times. They will also provide extra sanitation stations and hand sanitizers.
Close contacts like hugging and hand-holding will be limited, and classes will take place outdoors whenever possible. Classrooms themselves will be reconfigured to minimize contact.
In a release, the opposition NDP party called it "the worst plan in Canada."
"It is inexcusable that the government has had this long to prepare and has made no effort to reduce class sizes or take seriously the conversation on masks that is happening around the country," they wrote.
It seems every province in Canada has its own way of handling the back-to-school rush.