Some elementary and high school students in Regina returned to school on Wednesday morning after summer vacation.
Students in Regina Catholic schools will be welcomed back to school on Thursday and Friday with a staggered start and everyone will be back in class on Sept. 7.
Regina public school students returned on Wednesday.
Education staff and Minister of Education Dustin Duncan are encouraging parents and caregivers to share back-to-school photos on social media using the hashtag #WelcomeBackSask
At an event on Wednesday, Duncan admitted the past year and a half has not been ordinary.
“While some students and educators undertook a new way of learning virtually, a transformation also occurred within the walls of our schools as masking and physical distancing took place for much of the past year,” Duncan said.
He also thanks educators in the province for continuing teaching throughout a challenging time.
Duncan added that collaboration between school divisions and local medical health officers is ongoing as the province navigates rising COVID-19 cases.
“To ensure Saskatchewan schools are mitigating the risk of COVID-19, hygiene (and) cleaning disinfection practices should remain in place, including well-stocked and well-used handwashing stations,” Duncan said.
Regina Catholic schools superintendent Stacey Gherasim said it’s an exciting time and administrators and educators have been busy planning for the school year.
Gherasim added that safety measures will be in place for students.
“Lots of the safety protocols that we would have had in place last year; the hand sanitizing, the making sure that students are aware of their masks and how they’re wearing them properly,” Gherasim said.
She said it’s important for parents and caregivers to play a role in keep everyone safe, too, by keeping students who display COVID-19 symptoms at home.
“Our staff are amazing at welcoming students back and making them feel comfortable,” Gherasim said, adding that she has no doubt this will be a good year.
Drivers reminded to be safe as students return to school
Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is also reminding drivers that school zones in the province are in effect as Sept. 1 is marked on the calendar.
School zones are enforced year round in Regina, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“School zones are going to be a little busier starting this week as kids head back to school, we want drivers to keep that in mind. Slow down and watch out for (kids),” SGI spokesperson Tyler McMurchy told Global News.
McMurchy added it is important for drivers to watch out for crossing guards who escort groups of kids across the street, as well.
Drivers who fail to obey the direction of crossing guards can face a fine of $230.
Some communities also prohibit U-turns in school zones.
“Even if it’s not prohibited in your community, it’s still a good idea to not do it because it increases the congestion and increases the chance of an accident,” McMurchy added.
Most school zones also have no-stopping areas, something McMurchy encourages drivers to obey to avoid congestion and visibility issues.
McMurchy also encouraged parents and caregivers to speak to their students about pedestrian safety, like the dangers of jay walking and stepping out between parked cars.