The Government of Saskatchewan has announced that all pre K-12 schools in Saskatchewan will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20th due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement came via a news release on Monday, March 16. 

Schools will start to wind down starting March 16 to March 19. However, parents who are able to keep their kids at home are told to do so immediately with no absence or grade impacts. Parents with limited childcare options have a window to plan for class suspensions.

As per the news release:

  • Every student will receive a final grade based on their current grade, and students will progress to their next grade level next year.
  • Every student who is eligible to graduate from Grade 12 this year will graduate.
  • The Ministry of Education and School Divisions will work with Saskatchewan Post-Secondary Institutions to adapt entry requirements for programs commencing in the next academic year.

An original statement released on Sunday, March 15th stated that schools in the province will remain open based on three factors.

  • Evidence of sustained transmission within the community.
  • Rapid increase of local cases.
  • Transmission without a known link to travel or confirmed cases.

"There continues to be no evidence that any of the above three criteria have been met. Children remaining in schools between March 16 and March 19 face a low risk of exposure to COVID-19. A preventative approach of proactive school closures beginning March 20 means reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission."

The release goes on to state that during the remainder of this school year, teachers and staff would still be able to work, either remotely or by attending in person during scheduled class times. The Ministry of Education states that it will cooperate with School Divisions and Saskatchewan Teachers to provide alternative methods such as online delivery for curriculum. While this supplemental curriculum will have no impact on final grades, it will ensure that students seeking to continue learning will have the resources necessary to do so.

Tony Baldwin, Director of Education for Prairie South School Division, says they recognize these changes will be difficult for parents.

"We've got some work to do connected to how we're going to support kids and families during the period that schools are unavailable to them. We've got a couple of days breathing room after the initial flurry of activity to get that sorted out, parents, on the other hand, are sort of in a flurry right now trying to get things organized for themselves and their families."

Sean Chase, Director of Education for Holy Trinity Catholic School Division.

The closures apply to daycares that are co-located with schools but do not apply to licensed daycare facilities outside of schools. Deliberations continue regarding licensed daycare facilities and any changes affecting those private or cooperative daycares will be implemented at a later date.

Officials are currently examining options to provide childcare services for individuals that are providing essential services during the COVID-19 response.