Saskatchewan teachers have been preparing for the back-to-school week by buying masks, preparing desks and more.
Some are finding more musical ways to welcome their students back.
Regina teachers are dancing, Saskatoon teachers are singing, and Gull Lake teachers and staff are rapping their way into the new semester.
"Amid everything that's been going on with school start up, there's a lot of nerves probably in the beginning. And we want to really alleviate that and bring a sense of upbeat happiness to the year," Justin La, a teacher at E'cole Victoria School in Saskatoon, said.
La and colleague Alexis Olfert did a parody of A Whole New World from Disney's Aladdin to tell students the new rules.
"We just wanted to create something … that laid out the procedures and what we need to do at school, but in a joyful, positive way," Olfert said.
Olfert said she was lying awake in the middle of the night trying to think of something to do. She thought of the idea and contacted La — who was new to the school — and then wrote the lyrics.
"We just went with the idea," Olfert said. "It was just great to work together."
La said he started getting into producing videos with a green screen over the summer because he has a passion for video editing. The green screen allowed the two to change their virtual background to anything imaginable.
"For kids, it's kind of a corny video for them. And it kind of like makes them smile from a lot of parents from what I'm hearing," La said.
Life this school year is going to be different with the new rules, Olfert said, but staying safe is key.
"Our job is to just create a space for them that they feel safe to create and while at the same time keeping each other healthy," she said.
Harbour Landing School in Regina parodied I Want It That Way by the Backstreet Boys to welcome children back.
Meanwhile Neal Boutin, a social studies and history teacher at Gull Lake School, wants his students to know U Can't Touch This. Boutin and his school performed a parody of the classic MC Hammer track.
Boutin said that when COVID-19 closed schools in March, he started to dabble in making videos. He was inspired in August by an Alabama teacher's video in Alabama and started to plan his own in the middle of August.
He said he wanted it to be really "cringy."
"We really intended to make the video kind of over the top," Boutin said. "Not serious, but a lot of fun. Just to kind of make everybody feel a little bit better and to reconnect as a staff, and as a group, and for our kids and families and community, too."
Boutin enlisted 13 people to rap on the song and used the school synthesizer to record them. They reworked the lyrics for the pandemic and put it all together. Boutin posted the video and said the response was overwhelming and humbling.
"We just kind of wanted a way to show that things are going to be different, but some things will still be the same," Boutin said. "With the same people at our school that we were in the spring. And we just kind of wanted to welcome everybody in a fun way."
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