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Regina students, parents experience pandemic-style start to school

Click to play video 'Regina students, parents experience pandemic-style start to school' Regina students, parents experience pandemic-style start to school
WATCH: The first day of class saw half as many students in the building, as both Regina's public and Catholic school divisions implemented staggered starts to the year.

For the first time in nearly six months, students filed back into Saskatchewan classrooms to start the new school year on Tuesday.

In Regina, Taylah Bergquist called her introduction to Grade 6 “really weird at first,” but it wasn’t because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mandatory masks, staggered starts or changes to recess.

The biggest change for the 10-year-old seemed to be the room’s fluctuating temperature.

Read more: Sask. announces $51 million in 1st round of COVID-19 school division funding

“The class is really cold and then it’s warm and then it’s cold again,” said Bergquist, while on her lunch break.

She was also quick to describe the hotel-style door signs on each room’s handle.

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Instead of “do not disturb,” they say “disinfected” or “not disinfected,” according to Bergquist.

While she’s still adjusting to the new normal, Bergquist said she’s excited to be back with her friends and pleasantly surprised with the mask rules in her classroom.

“If we want to take it off for 10 minutes every once in a while, (our teacher) won’t get mad at us.”

Christa Bergquist, Taylah’s mom, said she is excited to get back to the normalcy of a school routine.

Read more: Coronavirus: Regina schools unveil individualized reopening plans

“I think every parent would agree it’s been a long, hard time trying to grind away working from home and having kids at home,” Christa said.

“We can all recognize that there is risk right now, but I think everyone has done as much as they can to minimize it.”

After hearing how well her daughter’s morning at school went, Christa said the concerns she had were put to rest.

“I was worried that there was going to be a lot of anxiety amongst the teaching staff and that would work the kids up rather than calm them down,” Christa said.

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“It sounds like it went the opposite way, so that’s fantastic.”

Regina teachers aren’t the only ones trying to ease anxieties.

In White City, principal Matt Brown created at-home videos to demonstrate proper handwashing and social distancing techniques.

“This week is all about connecting with our kids, helping them to feel comfortable and teaching those new routines and procedures so that our students know how to keep each other safe,” Brown said.

Read more: ‘There is just no way to do this’: Teachers worry over school reopening plans amid coronavirus

Most of the students at White City School chose to come back to class this year, according to Brown.

He said that’s a sign that parents are comfortable with the new protocols.

“The success of our school is a collective effort and so we all have responsibilities in keeping our kids healthy and happy and so we certainly welcomed questions from our parents,” Brown said.

If students or staff aren’t feeling well, Brown said they should stay home.

“If in fact they do come to school and they are ill, that’s when we will rely on the health care professionals to support us,” Brown said.

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Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor says next two weeks are critical to understand back-to-school impact' Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor says next two weeks are critical to understand back-to-school impact
Coronavirus: Canada’s top doctor says next two weeks are critical to understand back-to-school impact