Regina schools see rising COVID-19 cases as they move to online learning
REGINA -- Public and Catholic schools in Regina have confirmed more than 30 COVID-19 cases in 21 schools across the city since they announced Friday schools will move to Level 4 learning ahead of spring break.
Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) counted 12 cases at 6 schools, while Regina Public Schools added 19 cases at 15 schools.
OUTBREAKS IN REGINA SCHOOLS
Five schools in the Regina zone have been added to the province’s list of active COVID-19 outbreaks.
On Friday, Miller Catholic High School and Dr. A.E. Perry School were added to the list; École St. Elizabeth School, St. Gabriel School and École Du Parc were added Saturday.
Both the public and Catholic schools are sticking to their plans to shift to online learning throughout the next week.
“If things change between now and then, obviously we would have to make a move sooner,” Twylla West, spokesperson for the RCSD, said.
The school division said relatively speaking, transmission cases have remained low in schools. It’s asking students and families to continue keeping up with safety protocols over the next week so that doesn’t change.
The biggest challenge RCSD faces over the next week until the switch to virtual learning is staffing.
“Operationally, we cannot continue to keep schools open at the rate that we are short of staff,” West said. “[Our HR department] is being very creative in what they’re doing to maintain staffing levels this week.”
For Regina Public Schools, staffing isn’t as much of a problem. Spokesperson Terry Lazarou said after the last switch to virtual learning in December, the division prepared to have staff shortage in the future.
He said one of their biggest challenges is making sure students feel safe this week.
“Kids are still safe in schools due to all the safety protocols we’ve taken in the past,” Lazarou said. “Our schools are still safe places to be. However, with the increase in COVID-19 cases in the city specifically, we are trying to ensure that any kind of cases that do occur in our schools are very quickly dealt with.”
Both schools said they will act accordingly if anything significant happens at school over the next week until virtual learning commences.
Regina Public Schools will move all high school students to remote learning on March 24, Pre-K to Grade 8 will begin online learning on March 29.
High school students at RCSD will continue hybrid learning this week and elementary students will continue with face-to-face learning. Remote learning will start for all students on March 29.
There will be a scheduled break for all students from April 2 to 9.
All students will return after the break on April 12.
VARIANTS IN SCHOOLS
On Friday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority confirmed there are 25 Saskatchewan schools dealing with cases of COVID-19 variants of concern, most of which are in and around Regina.
The SHA said it “cannot confirm specific cases in the province.” It did confirm that it was treating all positive COVID-19 cases are VoCs.