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Regina Public, Catholic requiring elementary students, staff to wear masks

Click to play video: 'Regina Public, Catholic requiring elementary students, staff to wear masks' Regina Public, Catholic requiring elementary students, staff to wear masks
WATCH: Regina Public Schools and the Regina Catholic School Division released their return-to-school plan on Monday and is making masking mandatory in all of its elementary schools – Aug 24, 2021

Regina Public Schools are requiring all students, staff and visitors to wear masks in all of its elementary schools including transportation, rolled out in its return-school-plan on Monday.

RPS says the reasoning is the majority of kids attending those schools are not eligible to be vaccinated. Masks will not be required while outdoors on school grounds if social distancing can be maintained.

“After a complicated year of class interruptions and temporary remote learning, my sincere hope was a traditional return to learning,” said Greg Enion, RPS’s director of education.

Read more: Teachers’ union calls for vaccine mandate in Saskatchewan schools

“I am pleased to note that many adults and youth older than 11 years of age have been vaccinated.

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“Unfortunately, the majority of our students, more than 15,000 children who will attend pre-kindergarten to grades 6 and 7 are not yet eligible to be vaccinated and are vulnerable to the risks that COVID-19 and its variants continue to pose.”

For the rest of its schools, things are mostly returning to normal. High schools are returning to the semester system.

School activities are resuming if they can be done safely. That included recesses, body breaks, noon-hour breaks and lunch along with physical education and extra-curricular activities.

RPS will continue to push for physical distancing when possible and will avoid large group gatherings.

Read more: Sask. NDP calls for mandatory vaccination for teachers, staff in return-to-school plan

Cleaning, disinfecting and hand hygiene practices will continue. RPS will continue to use enhanced ventilation systems in all of its schools.

School administration will work with public health with contact tracing in schools along with facilitating and informing parents about access to vaccination and rapid testing.

RPS said it reviewed the Government of Saskatchewan 2021-2022 Safe Schools Plan and the Living With COVID: Long-Term COVID-19 Precautions Updated document when creating its return-to-school plan.

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While masks are not required among high school students and staff, they are “strongly” recommended. Visitors to the high school are required to wear a mask at all times.

Read more: Saskatchewan students return to class this fall free of COVID-19 restrictions

“Our return to school plan is supported by our Board of Education and I wish to stress that we will revisit and review it regularly, in consultation with our health expert partners,” Enion said.

RPS said it will be releasing its detailed division-wide return-to-school in the coming days.

More than 25,000 students in 44 elementary schools, nine high schools, eSchool and in the Allan Blakeney Adult Campus make up RPS schools. School begins Sept. 1.

Regina Catholic School Division releases its return-to-school plan

The Regina Catholic School Division’s return-to-school plan, released Monday, also has mandatory masking for both staff, students and visitors in its elementary schools.

Masks will not be required when outdoors. RCSD expects about 80 per cent of people in its elementary schools are not vaccinated due to eligibility reasons.

About 60 per cent of high school students attending RCSD schools are fully vaccinated. RCSD has chosen not to mandate masks, but strongly recommends students, staff and visitors to wear them inside the schools.

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Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan students return to class this fall free of COVID-19 restrictions' Saskatchewan students return to class this fall free of COVID-19 restrictions
Saskatchewan students return to class this fall free of COVID-19 restrictions – Jul 23, 2021

“While many of us hoped for a return to school as we knew it prior to COVID, the safety protocols in the plan are still necessary to protect our students, staff and families while also prioritizing in-person learning opportunities,” RCSD said in a release Monday.

“Our local medical health officers’ evaluation of last year’s school experience has informed this plan and we believe it will be effective in reducing the interruptions to in-person learning.”

RCSD’s plan does allow the return of many of its activities including sports, clubs and extra-curriculars.

Dance, Drama, Band, Choir are all returning along with field trips. Single-day and overnight trips will be considered.

Read more: Regina’s Prairie Valley School Division releases plan for return to in-class learning

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While nutrition programs will also resume, students will not be able to take part in the preparation of food.

“We are committed to supporting our staff as we re-introduce many of these activities while regularly communicating with our health experts to ensure they are conducted in a safe environment,” RCSD said.

“We will also return to the traditional two-semester high school schedule.”

RCSD will continue to encourage appropriate hand hygiene but will not enforce physical distancing among students and staff.

Provincial exams will be optional for the 2021-22 school year.

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan recommends students get vaccinated, staff mask up in common spaces' Saskatchewan recommends students get vaccinated, staff mask up in common spaces
Saskatchewan recommends students get vaccinated, staff mask up in common spaces – Aug 20, 2021

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