It's been one week since K-12 students in Saskatchewan returned to classrooms.
Schools began reopening on Sept. 8. Some teachers taught outside to space out students while other divisions did a staggered start, with only half of students returning for the first week.
While two cases at a daycare and one at a high school were announced in Saskatoon, some students are still happy to be back — even with the restrictions and new safety protocols.
"I'm just happy to be here because we haven't seen our friends in like a long time," Milan Murray said.
Milan and her brother Joshua are in Grades 6 and 4 respectively at Centennial School in Regina. The two went back on Sept. 9 because of the staggered start. Joshua said the staggering made sense to be safe, but that he missed his friends who weren't there.
Milan agreed, saying the second week was fun "because everyone's together now."
As Regina Public School Board students, the two wear masks when physical distancing isn't possible and frequently in the classroom. Milan said it can be hard to wear a mask all day because her glasses fog up, but that she understands why it's necessary.
Other things are different as well, she said.
"When we go to our classrooms, we have to get some hand sanitizer, rub it on our hands and we have to wipe off our tables before we eat lunch and after we eat lunch," Joshua said. "We only can get up most of the time to see the teacher that we're done work."
The biggest challenge Joshua noticed was on the playground.
"Most of the games we play involve touching, but we just grab a stick and then we poked him with it lightly," he said. "So that's how we play."
Joshua said he is a bit worried about the virus but simply doesn't listen to more news than needed to avoid being overwhelmed.
"Take all the precautions and you are going to stay safe because we're taking all the precautions."
New rules confusing at times: Regina student
Ever Olaechea Payant, who is in Grade 3 at Connaught Community School in Regina, said the new rules have been confusing at times.
"My teacher was like 'OK just social distance,' but then we went closer, no, farther than that, no, closer," Olaechea Payant said. "It was crazy."
One week on, Olaechea Payant said she's still concerned.
"I'm just afraid that the people — they won't stay socially distanced, they'll take off their masks whenever they want or they won't follow the protocols," she said.
She said she is making sure to tell people to leave their masks on.
Despite the confusion, she said it's still good to be back in-person.
"I get to see their faces and I'm like 'Oh, you look bigger,' 'You look older,'" she said.
Olaechea Payant said the entire classroom looks different and is spaced out to fit everyone. She hopes everyone takes the precautions needed for the pandemic to be over soon.
"I can't hug anybody," she said. "When COVID is over, I'm just going to say hi to people and then I'm going to hug them … Hug for you, hug for you, hug for everybody I see. That's how much I miss hugging."