Obligatory masking coming to Saskatoon’s excessive colleges

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Masking will be mandatory for all students, staff and visitors at high schools in the city starting Sept. 7.

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Amanda Short

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Sep 03, 2021September 3, 20212 minute read Join the conversation Signs on how to safely put on your mask are posted in a Grade 1 classroom at Sylvia Fedoruk school on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Signs on how to safely put on your mask are posted in a Grade 1 classroom at Sylvia Fedoruk school on Thursday, September 3, 2020. Photo by Michelle Berg /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Students returning to Saskatoon high schools after the long weekend will need to bring another all-too-familiar school supply.

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On Friday afternoon, Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools announced masking will be mandatory for all students, staff and visitors at high schools in the city starting Sept. 7.

When back to school plans were released on Aug. 23, both divisions only mandated mask use in elementary schools; they were “strongly recommended” but not required in high schools.

Since then, Saskatoon has seen “an exponential increase” in COVID-19 cases, public division director Shane Skjerven wrote in a letter sent to families.

“With the Delta variant prevalent in our community, we are concerned about the continued health and well-being of our students and staff members. We also recognize that our school division has a role to play in supporting our community partners in health care, in hopes of reducing further pressure on the overwhelmed system.”

Masks will also be required in all division buildings, including the board office maintenance shop. The division is also encouraging eligible people to get vaccinated.

Both divisions said the goal is to maintain in-person learning and reduce disruptions to learning that can come from students needing to isolate.

Skjerven presented the division’s Online Learning Centre — which is accepting registrations through Sept. 7 — as an alternative for those who disagreed with the rule.

Catholic division spokesperson Derrick Kunz said in a statement that the decision was recommended by local medical health officers.

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