'We are that one per cent': Mom says Sask. school reopen plan too risky
SASKATOON -- Haylie MacIntosh says she was disappointed in the province’s Safe Schools Plan.
She’s choosing to keep her six-year-old daughter at home and follow a virtual curriculum instead of going back to school.
“If we were to go back to school with these restrictions, or lack of restrictions, we wouldn’t be able to see any of our extended family for the entire school year,” MacIntosh, who’s battling cancer and has immunocompromised family, told CTV News.
Part of the Safe Schools Plan includes increased cleaning protocols, staggered recesses and dedicated quarantine areas in schools.
Masks are not mandatory, class sizes will stay the same and extra-curricular activities will continue.
While MacIntosh said she’d like to get her kids back into the social setting of school, she said the government’s current back-to-school plan is too risky — especially for families with underlying health risks.
“When I hear people say, ‘Oh well, it’s just one per cent of people die from COVID,’ well we are that one per cent. And it kind of hurts,” she said.
On Friday, protests calling for stricter back-to-school protocols are scheduled at the legislature and MLA offices across the province.
People concerned with Saskatchewan’s back-to-school plan have been sending emails to the government in an email blitz.
The blitz has been advertised across social media, including in parent Facebook groups.
In the blitz, people are encouraged to send emails to Education Minister Gord Wyant expressing their concern over the Safe Schools Plan.
CTV medical consultant Dr. Marla Shapiro said her patients are grappling with how to give their kids a safe education — deciding between homeschooling, virtual learning or sending kids back to school.
“I don’t think there’s a black and white answer, but as I’m talking to parents, the benefits of sending them back right now tends to possibly outweigh the risk, as long as we’re doing it in a clear and methodical way,” Shapiro said.
Jay Wilson, the department head of curriculum studies at the University of Saskatchewan, said there’s benefits to students socializing.
“There are opportunities they’re missing by staying at home, they’re not getting the same social opportunities. In addition to knowledge development, we need that social development,” Wilson said.