There has been a tragic start to the school year at Ecole Dundonald School after a kindergarten student died on Monday.
Director of Education for the Saskatoon Public School Division Barry MacDougall says the 5 year old boy went missing during morning recess and staff members called 9-1-1. Officers arrived around 10:50 a.m. to search for the boy, who was found at a pond nearby at Dundonald Park. The boy was rushed to hospital where he was joined by his parents. He was pronounced dead shortly after. Classes were cancelled for the afternoon. A letter has been sent home to parents that states the boy's death is "an extraordinary loss...and has deeply impacted our staff members and our school division". Students in grades 1-6 will return on Tuesday, and MacDougall says additional supports are there for students who need it. The kindergarten class will have the day off Tuesday. The letter also suggests parents talk openly with their children about their feelings, fears and questions, and to use specific words, like "died" instead of vague language, like "passed away", because that can confuse children. The Office of the Chief Coroner and the school division are both investigating. The Dundonald Park pond does not have a fence or barrier around the water. The tragic news is bringing condolences from the community, including Saskatoon's Mayor and the province's Minister of Education. Bronwyn Eyre says the provincial government is saddened to learn of the sudden and tragic passing and offers deepest condolences with thoughts and prayers for the student's family above all, and the staff and students at the school and all others impacted by this tragic event. The Ministry says it has spoken with the Saskatoon Public Schools Director of Education and Ecole Dundonald School's principal to offer any support needed. Mayor Charlie Clark offered condolences from himself and City Council and says as the Office of the Chief Coroner is gathering information, the City will work closely will all partners in the investigation of these circumstances.