SASKATOON -- CTV News has learned that 20 schools in Regina have been told they will be the location for a polling station for one or both of the provincial election on Oct. 26 and the Civic Election on Nov. 9.

Some school divisions in Saskatchewan have designated Oct. 26 and Nov. 9 as professional development days for teachers.

Saskatoon Public Schools and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools told CTV News that the polling stations have not been finalized in Saskatoon.

Jennifer Colin, Deputy Chief Electoral Returning Officer for Corporate Services and Electoral Finance, said Elections Saskatchewan has doubled the number of polling stations this year to 1800.

This year there are 400 polling stations at schools across the province.

“The Election Act requires schools to make their facility available as polling locations should it be deemed an accessible and convenient location. Traditionally schools are chosen because they are the heart of the community,” Colin told CTV News.

Elections Saskatchewan has examined every aspect of the polling stations in a new way to ensure COVID-19 safety protocols are being met.

Schools will be sanitized following the closing of the polls on election night.

“They might already have protocols in place or companies they deal with so we’re providing funding to do that deep clean or contract that out, depending on what meets their needs the best.”

Voting by mail is being encouraged as well as advanced polls, which will be available at eight schools.

Early indications show that more people will be utilizing those other options, especially mail-in voting, she said.

The returning officer for the City of Saskatoon, Scott Bastian, said in an email that all polling locations for the civic election have been confirmed and most locations are schools.

“These have been secured for some time and approved by both the public and catholic school divisions to use as polling locations. We are taking all safety precautions as necessary and following all protocol as directed by Elections Saskatchewan.”

A post regarding the school polling stations on the Safe Schools Saskatchewan Facebook page has sparked dozens of comments from followers who are not happy with the decision.

One parent, who didn’t want to be identified because she has been heavily involved in her school community, hopes teachers who will be in the schools during the elections will wear masks.

“The teachers are going to be interacting with the students the following day and that concerns me too.”