School's (almost) In!
|Following the province’s Monday announcement of additional funding and an extra week for the return to school, Saskatoon’s school divisions are preparing for the Sept. 8 start date.
In an emailed statement Tuesday, Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS) said it welcomes additional funding from the province to “meet the challenge of reopening schools safely.”
“Our school division has spent approximately $400,000 in preparation for school reopening on items such as water bottle filling stations, gloves, reusable masks for both staff members and students, disposable masks for backup, face shields, hand sanitizer, signage, and plexiglass shields,” the statement reads. It continues to say the biggest cost it is facing is instruction. It is planning to have more staff members stay home and will need more substitute teachers and educational assistants. It was unable to estimate the impact on its expenses with instruction.
SPS confirmed that it is looking into applying for additional funding from the province’s $40 million from a $200-million COVID-19 contingency fund. Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) also confirmed to 650 CKOM it is looking into applying for additional funding from the contingency budget for the upcoming school year.
Diane Boyko, GSCS board chair said she wasn’t sure how much the board would be looking for from the province. She did give a look as to where the division is in returning to class, however. “We’re going to be working on the registration part of all of this, to be able to see what parents are saying out there— what their intention is. I think there’s been a lot of changes that have happened in a fairly short amount of time,” Boyko said Tuesday.
The board chair also spoke about Premier Scott Moe’s announcements on Facebook Saturday, and Monday on the updated return to school plan. “Were we surprised? Well, we’ve been planning for a long time… I would say that we were prepared because of all of the work that’s been done,” she explained. “We can’t just turn on a dime. We’ve got 20,000 kids we’re responsible for. We’ve got almost 2,000 staff, and so, for us to be able to respond, we need to have (all) kinds of contingency plans that are in the works to be able to move forward.”
Boyko said an additional updated plan was sent to parents on Tuesday. It can be found here. In its report, GSCS offers online learning for its students.