The Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division has made a detailed plan to close off the current 2019-20 school year, since classes will not resume this spring, and to set tentative plans for the new school year in the fall.
The school division noted that the reopening of schools is considered as part of Phase 5 in the Re-Open Saskatchewan plan, with no date set for when this will take effect as it is dependent on how well the province does in the first four phases. The second phase just took effect on Tuesday with the reopening of retail stores and some personal services, such as hairstylists and barbers.
Holy Family’s closure plan sets out their goals for each of the remaining weeks in the school year until the end of June.
The plans include doing a deep cleaning of all school facilities, and coordinating the access of schools by staff in a way that respects the restrictions set down by the Chief Medical Health Officer in the public health orders.
They are also beginning to plan for summer projects at each of the schools to carry out the planned repairs and upgrades before the next school year starts.
For students, the staff are continuing to provide instruction for the supplemental learning, any counselling as needed, and to transition students to the next grade or into high school, along with the startup of kindergarten in the fall.
In board discussions on the effects of the COVID-19 shutdown, finance director Lisa Wonsiak was asked if the school division is realizing any savings with schools not open for classes.
She noted that one of the biggest savings is for fuel costs with none of the buses running, and some of the utility costs will be down also. She said a tabulation will be done in June as to what the total costs were for the school division.
“We’re trying to be as flexible as we can with whatever mode of instruction there will be in the fall,” added education director Gwen Keith.
Wonsiak noted also that the ministry has indicated the funding provided to the school divisions will not be reduced because they’re not running classes, and some of the unused funds may be put towards doing repairs and maintenance projects at the school buildings.
The preventative maintenance and repairs budget did not increase from last year, and there is an application process as projects will have to qualify for funding, with encouragement given for efficiencies in buildings, such as more use of LED lights or heat-efficient windows.
Through June, each of the departments will go through their processes to close down the school year, including ensuring that the laptops loaned out to students are returned, and report cards will be finalized for the school year, ready for the week of June 22-26 to be available to students and families.