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Online petition asks Saskatchewan government for better back-to-school plan

An online petition is circulating on Change.org asking the Saskatchewan government for a better back-to-school plan. Getty Images

An online petition calling on the Saskatchewan government to revise its current back-to-school-plan with more COVID-19 precautions in place is gaining momentum.

Recently posted on change.org, the petition has nearly 12,000 signatures as of 9 a.m. Friday.

Read more: Masks won’t be mandatory as Saskatchewan releases its Safe Schools Plan

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The province released its back-to-school plan on Tuesday receiving criticism for not making masks mandatory for students, teachers and staff along with a lack of details surrounding safety protocol.

“In this plan, the government provided no concrete strategy to address class sizes and safe physical distancing or to give parents options for in-person or remote learning,” the petition read.

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“Contrary to many other provincial plans, the Saskatchewan government did not even introduce a policy requiring masks as students and teachers return to classrooms in September.”

Saskatchewan’s Education Minister Gordon Wyant presented the plan on Tuesday, stating the province wanted students to return to school “as close to normal as possible.”

Read more: Some Sask. school divisions encouraging staff, students to wear masks when returning to school

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“The current plan seems to be that students and staff will be returning to classrooms that are overcrowded and where teachers, substitute teachers, students, and staff will be in close contact with one another,” the petition read.

“We are alarmed that the policy announced on August 4 reflects a serious lack of concern for the health and safety of everyone returning to schools in September.”

The petition noted the fact the province did not include specific plans of what would happen if an outbreak does occur inside schools.

“Will children with any symptoms be asked to self-isolate for 14 days and miss two weeks of school, assuming the infection is not confirmed?” the petition read.

Read more: Saskatchewan parents ‘horrified,’ ‘really angry’ over coronavirus school plan: organizer

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“Will teachers or substitute teachers be asked to isolate if they call in sick? If children have confirmed cases of COVID-19, will they be permitted back into the schools once the symptoms decrease?

“To date, we have no answers.”

However, on Tuesday, Wyant did say the province would adapt to the situation if necessary.

“At the present time, school will return as normal as possible, but that could possibly change. This is an evolving situation,” Wyant said.

“I mentioned that on a couple of occasions before, but this can all change depending on community transmission and the number of cases.”

Global News has reached out to the province regarding the petition and will update the article when we hear back.

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