Teachers reassured by school opening plans
- Jeanelle Mandes | September 27, 2020
When Balfour Collegiate teacher Leah Missens heard in June that educators would be returning to in-person teaching this fall, she had concerns.
“I was stressed out thinking what the (school year) would look like and what kind of measures and precautions that we are going to put in place. I feel confident now,” said the 15-year teaching veteran from Pasqua First Nation.
Balfour Collegiate will use a cohort model, postpone extra-curricular activities and have one-way direction signs throughout the school. It will also encourage hand washing, provide hand sanitzer and minimize congestion in the hallways. It will have students use water bottles instead of fountains.
“Things evolved and questions were answered. It gave me a bit more peace of mind. My own mindset had to change and understand that this is the reality that we are living in. I am making sure that I look after myself as well,” she said.
Grade nine teacher, Gene Isbister from Ahtahkakoop First Nation, was also disappointed when he learned that schools would be returning in the fall.
He is concerned about how social and physical distancing will happen when there are no reduced class sizes at the school.
“It’s going back to normal,” he said. “Myself and many of the parents that I talked to, they want something where they could feel safe to send their children.”
Isbister said students and staff have access to masks and sanitizers in every room. As well, everyone will receive temperature checks upon arrival at the school.
“I’m happy to be back with students because I feel our school has taken proper steps to keep our students and staff safe,” he said.
The Government of Canada announced that school divisions across the province will have access to additional funding as Saskatchewan is set to receive $74.9 million as a result of a new spending.
“We know that there will be increased costs associated with staffing, preparation and supplies,” said Education Minister Gordon Wyant in a media release.
“With the federal government’s contribution, there is now up to $150 million available to our education sector for costs associated with a safe return to school.”
Updates will be made to the Saskatchewan Safe Schools Plan as necessary based on the advice of the Chief Medical Health Officer.