The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation is calling for the reinstatement of COVID preventative measures in schools given data recently presented from wastewater analysis in several Saskatchewan cities. Data from Saskatoon shows a 742 percent increase in COVID presence. North Battleford shows an increase of 250 percent and Prince Albert shows a 56 percent increase. The call and the supporting data came via a news release from the STF.
“Saskatchewan educators want to be in schools along with their students, teaching and learning in a safe environment. These new wastewater results are alarming and need to be taken seriously,” said Patrick Maze, President, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. “This government has a responsibility to keep students, staff and the greater community safe. Our health system is over capacity and health-care workers are stressed. We need to ensure that those who are ill receive the assistance they need in a timely way. By reintroducing these basic and minimal health measures, fewer people will require hospitalization and schools can continue to operate safely.”
The Federation wants to see the return of mandatory masking for students and staff in schools, on buses and during extra-curricular activities. They want to see isolation requirements for those who test positive and increased data sharing between schools and health officials. It also wants the Education Sector Response Planning Team restored, access to PRC testing for staff, and increased public reporting on cases.
“Students have already sacrificed so much. It is time to prioritize and protect their needs,” said Maze. “We cannot wish COVID-19 away. Learning to live with COVID-19 must mean learning to take appropriate and reasonable measures when the situation calls for them. The government’s decisions have left us with very limited data available to assess the risk in our communities. Absenteeism is unusually high for teaching staff and students, and there is a lack of available substitute teachers.”
Maze also wants to see school divisions intervene in the interests of their students if the government fails to act in accordance with the current situation.