This year parents have faced a decision they never imagined they’d have to make: do we send our children to school or not?

But for parents of immunocompromised kids, this question isn’t new. The pandemic has only made it clearer: kids with pre-existing health conditions need a safer way to attend school and daycare, both now and in the future. In Saskatoon, a group of parents are building a co-op that will allow their kids to stay safe and socialize with their peers.

The At Risk Together (ART) Co-operative School incorporated in September and is planning a preschool and daycare service for immunocompromised kids. It will then work towards a Montessori-style school for elementary students. Children will be grouped into cohorts of their peers who face similar levels of risk, so the co-op can take the proper precautions. Their class sizes will be smaller, and cleaning protocols more stringent. The co-op will also combine in-person and virtual programs.

According to one of the co-op’s founders, Krysta Shacklock, finding a way for her child to learn and interact in person is vital.

“I can teach my kids math and their letters, but I can’t teach them how to share unsupervised, or deal with conflict, or trust in others,” she said. “They need friends. It’s so important.”

Co-operatives First is so proud to help the ART Co-op with incorporation and business planning. We can’t wait to see how this brilliant co-operative idea develops and makes life better for kids and their families.