Another new school year has begun in Saskatchewan amid COVID-19.
Kids and teachers are heading back to the classrooms for the second time in the midst of a global pandemic with some experience in restrictions and regulations.
Even with COVID-19 cases on the rise in Saskatchewan, the first day still brought its regular excitement according to the Saskatoon Public Schools communications manager, Veronica Baker.
“While there’s a lot going on this year obviously, again with regard to our schools, it’s lots of smiles, lots of happy faces that we’re seeing at schools this morning,” Baker said.
The Saskatchewan Safe Schools Plan shows restrictions still require anyone in the building to sanitize regularly, stay home if they feel sick and to mask up when inside the classroom.
Although the pandemic has yet to go away, Derrick Kunz, communications coordinator with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division, says, “I think everyone’s just looking forward to getting back into routine. As much as we love our short Saskatchewan summers, there’s always a sense of relief.
“Let’s get back into routine, let’s get the students learning.”
Students agree, adding in spite of the COVID-19 regulations, it feels good to be heading back into class for a variety of reasons.
One said he is looking forward to learning about multiplication, another noted handwriting, division and times tables were the hot topics of the school year, and Grade 6 student Ethan Bulka mentioned, “I’m really excited to see all of my new friends,” especially considering the big changes students went through last year when trying to navigate learning and new COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was more like stressful because everyone, we had to wear like, social distance and stuff, and we couldn’t use some things, like we couldn’t like share stuff, and it was just hard cause we had to use sanitizer, and stuff,” said Ethan.
Jennifer Bulka, Ethan’s mother, says this year shouldn’t be much of a change for her kids.
She says, as a parent, it is nerve-wracking to send them to school knowing they could be in danger, but it is still exciting for them to be back in school.
“I think the boys are already used to wearing masks and of course it’s always a little nervous for parents, but I think it was good. The precautions are in place and we trust in the teachers and the school,” said Jennifer.
Even through the stress of the pandemic, students mentioned they have no problem continuing to mask up and put on sanitizer.
“It’s just safer for everybody so they don’t get COVID,” said Grade 3 student, Payton Hebig-Lofstrom.
Although there is a chance the Saskatchewan Safe School Plan could change throughout the year, the school divisions mentioned they are ready for anything.