School opening is still an exciting time

My Nikkel’s Worth column

Schools in Weyburn and throughout the province opened on Tuesday morning.

Normally this is an exciting time (or a dreaded time, depending on how old you are, whether you’re a parent, etc. etc.), but this opening time was particularly exciting as it’s been over five months since the classrooms were last open.

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As the threat of COVID-19 arose, the lockdowns closed up schools and businesses, and activities of all sorts were shut down in March.Online learning began to be offered for students for the balance of the school year, and then we were into summer, which has now, sadly, ended.

As a parent of adult children, I’ve “been there, done that” with the first days of school, dealing with getting kids into new outfits, ensuring all the needed supplies are in their backpacks.

There was usually a sense of anticipation and excitement for that first day.

Seeing the faces of youngsters coming to school on Tuesday, I can see for the very young (like Kindergarten or Grades 1 or 2) it is still a great adventure to meet friends and their teacher for the year. But there is a difference, as older kids were arriving in masks, and the teachers were meeting their students in masks, something that has not ever been needed in the past. I suppose you could say it’s the “new normal”, but you know this is going to take time for people to get used to.

Another big difference for schools is the sense of uncertainty, and of “waiting to see” what happens. If anyone has been watching national news reports at all, there are schools in Quebec and Ontario that are already reporting cases of COVID in teachers and students.

Is that going to happen here? The fear and sense of uncertainty is something parents are dealing with. Some parents won’t think it’s really any big deal, because the COVID numbers here in Saskatchewan are actually really low, compared to neighbouring jurisdictions (Alberta especially), but does anyone really know what is going to happen now with children in classes?

You may be sure the school teachers and administrators and caretakers have been getting everything ready at the schools, and will try to do everything they can to make sure their students are safe. For those parents or grandparents reading this, rest assured that the young ones are in good hands — so let’s get through this and move on with our lives.