Tenille Lafontaine spent Wednesday morning refreshing her web browser, checking her children’s schools website for their plans for students return to their classrooms during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The best way to describe the emotion would be anxiety,” the Regina mom told Global News Wednesday afternoon. While by that point, she had her daughters’ Catholic elementary school’s plan, she was still waiting on her son’s public high school’s plan. “We’re just unsure of how the school year’s going to roll out.”
From orientation dates to bell times to when and where lunches should be eaten, the finer details of how to reopen the schools themselves were left to their local administrators.
“Every school is different and every classroom is different,” said Saskatchewan Education Minister Gordon Wyant, who gave the schools until end-of-day Wednesday to share their individualized plans. “I’m very comfortable with the plans that have been put together. I think the school divisions have done just an excellent job.”
While the schools plans — which have been appearing on their websites sporadically throughout the day — must with the plans of their overarching school divisions, after reading through a number of them, Global News has discerned a great deal of variance in the details themselves, and the level of detail provided.
For the Lafontaine family, looking for answers in different places and finding different answers on similar things has been stressful.
“I have two kids in elementary school and one kid in high school. That gives me a lot of information go through,” Tenille Lafontaine said. “I have to make sure I’ve got it all figured out in my head before I can share it with them.”
To a degree, its a sentiment shared by Regina Catholic Schools communications co-ordinator Twylla West, who has two school-age children of her own.
“I’m looking at the plans for each of my children’s schools, and I’m looking at them going, ‘OK, how does this impact Henry? How does this impact Charlie? What do we need to think about for them? What do I need to tell them ahead of time?'” West said.
“Now that we’ve got those plans, we can help maybe relieve a little bit of the anxieties that kids are talking about and just feel a little bit more prepared.”
But there are still some answers that are yet to come.
Regina Public Schools communications supervisor Terry Lazarou noted Tuesday that administrators were still working out the details of high school timetables.
“They are going to a different kind of scheduling than what we’ve been used to,” Lazarou said.
The public school board is calling it quint scheduling with the Catholic school board using the term block to describe it. Essentially, students will be taking fewer classes at once to reduce mixing. They’ll hone in on a couple of subjects in shortened terms, but have more shortened terms making up their school year to get through them all.
The Regina public and Catholic school boards are asking for patience as they continue to sort out specifics during the continuously-evolving circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.