After in-person classes abruptly ended in March due to the pandemic, many students across Saskatchewan returned to school on Tuesday.

Their morning routine was a little rusty but for mom and dad Shannon and Brian Gabrush sending 10-year-old Lena and 7-year-old William back to school was the right choice for their family.

Shannon White-Gabrush said she feels confident in her decision to send her kids in grades 5 and 3 to École St. Matthew in Saskatoon during the pandemic because they need the social interaction that school brings.

“Definitely the social aspect of it is a huge part because they are starting a new school because we’ve bought a new house and we don’t want them to be in limbo. We’re hoping they can create some friendships nearby,” White-Gabrush told CTV News.

She admits the family did have reservations leading up to the new school year though.

“We talked with other teachers and seeing what their experiences were and trying to decide if we’re going online or if we are going to do in-person.”

Garbrush said she feels safe with the newly introduced COVID-19 guidelines in place.

The kids had to stock up on some new supplies this year like masks, carrying cases for the masks and hand sanitizer and while Lena said she’s ready for the new rules because they’ve been practicing them in their home, she’s concerned about the other students.

“I’m a bit nervous about how some other kids are going to take it. Some different kids won’t exactly understand things like social distancing or that you can’t just have to have your mask over your mouth, you need to have it over your nose too,” Lena said.

William said his parents have briefed him on the new COVID-19 protocols but admits a few of the new rules will be hard to adjust to.

“Don’t share anything and make sure that you don’t walk over to somebody else’s desk and ask them for something. Just stay distanced.” 

Some families have chosen not to have their kids return to their schools and are homeschooling. 

Krista Poppleton, Zone 1 Director of The Saskatchewan Home Based Educators (SBHE) says, they’ve busier than usual with inquiries about home-based education this school year.

“There has been a significant increase in the interest in home education over the last few months. The SHBE and other members of the home school community have been trying to keep up with the inquiries from parents via the Facebook pages, emails and phone calls.” Poppleton said

.She attributes the increase in inquires about home-based schooling to the uncertainty with going back to school under COVID restrictions.

“Family health concerns and a desire to be more involved in their children’s education have all contributed to the uptick.”