The government of Saskatchewan will be providing school divisions with an additional $40 million to help keep students safe when they return to class during the coronavirus pandemic.
Premier Scott Moe made the announcement in a Facebook video on Saturday afternoon.
“As a father, I know what it means to take every step possible to protect our kids. As an uncle, I know my nieces and nephews, they’re excited to get back to school, but both them and their parents have questions of what it’s going to look like,” Moe said.
“I want each of you to know I hear you, our government hears you.”
The premier also announced the start date for schools will be delayed by a week.
Students will begin classes on Sept. 8, the Tuesday after Labour Day.
“It will provide teachers and school staff a few additional days to prepare their classrooms and common areas for a safe return,” Moe said.
The province has also increased its testing capacity to 3,000 tests per day to prepare for increased testing when classes reopen.
“It will further increase to 4,000 a day by early September to ensure any Saskatchewan resident who wants to be tested can be tested,” Moe said.
The government will have a COVID-19 testing plan specifically developed for schools, Moe announced, with voluntary testing in schools for both staff and students.
“I have heard your concerns, and I want you to know we are acting by providing more information, more time, more testing capacity and more resources to ensure a safe return to school this September,” Moe said.
The premier will be joined by the province’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab on Monday to provide further details of the plan.
For weeks, teachers, parents, students and doctors have been calling on the government of Saskatchewan to implement a safer back to school plan.
Monday’s announcement will further address the public’s concern.