Lac La Ronge Indian Band students and teachers will be returning to school this fall with some safety adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Simon Bird, the Director of Education for the band, said the school day changes include mandatory mask-wearing for grades four and up, temperature checks, staggered recess times and pre-packaged lunches for their nutrition programs handed out by staff instead of student volunteers.

Another change, Bird said, will be limiting extra-curricular activities.

“It is very sad to say that extra-curricular activities this year are going to be severely limited because we have to limit the travel going to communities for like volleyball games,” he said. “The sports activities will continue, but the majority of our sports activities will be done in the school and outside with an increase in land-based activities.”

He also said the start date is about 10 days later than usual, in order to give teachers time to prepare.

“We would definitely like to have more time to allow teachers to ease into these new changes as this is going to be quite a huge change,” Bird said. “So the last thing we want is our own staff members feeling anxiety and having questions as they have our students come in the doors.”

Bird said they are trying to keep all students and teachers safe while still making them, and parents, comfortable.

He said the band is sending out a survey to parents next week to understand their comfort levels for the upcoming school year.

“[This survey is] to really make sure that we continue to design our education program to meet the needs and the wants and of course the wishes of parents,” Bird said.

The first day of school for band students will be September 10.

Bird said students from Grade five to 12 will be receiving laptops and teachers will instruct them on how to use the device and programs in case instruction is to be given online or by blended delivery sometime in the future.