Ottawa, Regina – Both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe are saying the same thing: If you are abroad, it is time to come home.
Speaking on the steps of Rideau Cottage, where he is in self-isolation, Trudeau announced on March 16 that Canada would be closing its borders, with the exception of the U.S. border. Trade will continue, but travel will not. International flights are being routed to only four destinations – Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver as of March 18. Airlines are not to allow anyone on board who has symptoms. For Canadians and permanent residents who can’t get home, the government pledged financial support for essentials.
He urged Canadians to come home, while they still can. And when they do, they must self-isolate for two weeks.
Trudeau said, “To help asymptomatic Canadians to return home, our government will set up a support program for Canadians who need to get on a plane. Canadian travellers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada."
He added, “I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures.”
The Government of Saskatchewan announced that all classes in Saskatchewan pre K-12 Schools will be suspended indefinitely, effective March 20, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
For the period of March 16 to March 19, pre K-12 classes will wind down. This means that parents who are able to keep children home should do so immediately, with no absence or grade impacts. Parents with limited childcare options have a window to plan for class suspensions.
“This may go on for some time. Classes are suspended indefinitely. They are not suspended for a number of days,” Moe said.
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.
Teachers and staff can work from home or in schools as scheduled during the class cancellations. For the rest of the scheduled school year, the Ministry of Education will work with School Divisions and Saskatchewan Teachers to implement a supplemental curriculum program through distance and alternative learning methods. 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.
Speaking of the eventual recovery from this economic shock, Moe said, “There is going to be an economic impact with what is occurring today and what is going to occur over the next number of coming weeks. And we are already having conversations with respect to how can this government ensure that the economy in this province and this nation has every opportunity to recover.”
“This is a time for us to stay at home, unless it is absolutely necessary that you go out,” Moe said. “Enjoy your time with your family. Call it a staycation if you will, but if it’s not necessary to be leaving your home, this is a fine time to be staying at home.” Moe said. And to top it off, Tim Hortons is closing all its dining room seating.