Sask. school divisions adjust to discontinued COVID-19 classroom contact tracing
School divisions in Saskatchewan are adjusting their practices for communicating COVID-19 cases in the classroom following directive from the provincial government.
As of Friday, Saskatchewan parents and caregivers are no longer required to tell schools if their child has COVID-19.
Shawn Davidson, the president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA), said this is a big change for all schools and their members.
“We will adapt to that change and do as the health officers direct us to do,” Davidson said. “It certainly does add a degree of simplicity to the contact tracing piece.”
He said over the past few weeks, school divisions have been challenged with additional work brought on by contact tracing.
“It’s health’s work and we really struggled with the capacity to get that done, so it certainly simplifies some of that work for us,” he said.
Davidson said school divisions are hopeful and confident parents will “do the right thing,” by keeping their children home if they’re sick.
Previously, classrooms would switch to online learning if COVID-19 exposures or cases reached a certain threshold.
Since cases are no longer being reported, there will be changes to how this is conducted. However Davidson said it’s not the end of online learning.
“As far as schools or classrooms being transitioned online, that has happened primarily at the request of local medical health officials, so they’re the authorities that are in the position to declare an outbreak,” he said. “I’m not certain what their criteria is with this change moving forward. To be very honest, their criteria has always been held by health and not necessarily something that we’ve have any influence on.”
SCHOOL DIVISION ADJUSTMENTS
Schools will no longer record and communicate COVID-19 cases with students and parents, but some will still monitor classes for potential shifts to remote learning.
Sean Chase, the director of education for Regina Catholic Schools, said administration will monitor attendance in classrooms.
“If we get to a situation where there’s a significant enough attendance concern for a period of time that just the operational logistics for the classroom would lead us into considering a move to remote learning, we would engage in that conversation,” he said.
Chase said their officials will still be in contact with public health for any advice.
“But, because there’s not contact tracing in place, then we wouldn’t necessarily have information as to the reason for absences being COVID-19. I’m not entirely sure how they’d be able to advise us from that standpoint,” he said.
He added staffing availability would be another factor to consider when it comes to remote learning.
The Prairie Valley School Division (PVSD) said it has advised parents to keep informing the division if their child is sick, but they don’t have to say if it’s COVID-19.
“We have to report when absentee rates reach a certain threshold, I think ten per cent,” Ian Hanna, spokesperson with the PVSD, said in an email. “Then, we monitor closely and accept the advice of public health about what to do next. When it gets to about 30 per cent absenteeism, they start thinking about shifting to remote learning.”
Regina Public Schools said its public health measures such as masking, enhanced cleaning and hand washing will remain in place despite the change to COVID-19 reporting.
“The school division reserves the right to move a class or a school to temporary remote learning if it is prudent to do so for health or operational reasons,” Terry Lazarou, the supervisor of communications, said in an email.
In a post on its website, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools encouraged guardians to continue reporting absences, including the length of absence if it is known.
It said schools will no longer be sending exposure notifications to parents and caregivers.
“Any classes that are currently online will move back to in-class learning Monday, Jan. 31,” the post reads.
The Saskatchewan School Boards Association, (SSBA) said school divisions have been working more closely with the province over the past few weeks, following a call for more collaboration earlier in January.
“(This decision) certainly does have some impact on our operations and we did get a presentation ahead of the announcement. The directors of education all attended that, so they would have a little bit of time to prepare for the change,” Davidson said. “There is a greater degree of conversations that are taking place now than what there maybe were a little bit ago.”
In a statement, the Ministry of Education said it heard feedback from many parents about their concerns with the former student close contact protocol. It confirmed the meeting with school division directors to inform them of the contact tracing change.
“We know that as case numbers occur in the community, they are also going to occur in our schools and there will be some disruption to in-class learning,” the statement said. “With a layered approached of continued masking, access to rapid tests, increased sanitation, cohorting and students and staff staying home when they are sick, schools are providing as safe a learning environment as possible.”
Regina Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
The police official blamed for not sending officers in more quickly to stop the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting is the chief of the school system's small police force, a unit dedicated ordinarily to building relationships with students and responding to the occasional fight.
Speakers at the National Rifle Association annual meeting assailed a Chicago gun ban that doesn't exist, ignored security upgrades at the Texas school where children were slaughtered and roundly distorted national gun and crime statistics as they pushed back against any tightening of gun laws.
Fifty-eight-year-old Vivian Ketchum is set to receive her high school diploma at a graduation ceremony at the University of Winnipeg next month. It is a moment that is decades in the making.
The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos was met with justifiable criticisms and unfounded conspiracy theories.
An 11-year-old survivor of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas, feared the gunman would come back for her so she smeared herself in her friend's blood and played dead.
Students trapped inside a classroom with a gunman repeatedly called 911 during this week's attack on a Texas elementary school, including one who pleaded, 'Please send the police now,' as officers waited more than an hour to breach the classroom after following the gunman into the building, authorities said Friday.
Fragments of a comet broken nearly 30 years ago could potentially light up the night sky Monday as experts predict an 'all or nothing' spectacle.
A new report says Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto rank among the top 20 cities around the world when it comes to work-life balance.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says the federal government is working with groups on the ground to resolve air travel 'bottlenecks' in time for a busy summer.
Barrett Ross says his dog Indy suffered a punctured bowel, lost a tooth and had his stomach injured when he was attacked by three other dogs.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council's (STC) temporary downtown shelter has been granted an extension to operate at its present location until April 2023 — but Tribal Chief Mark Arcand hopes to relocate well before then.
A pedestrian injured by a vehicle in Prince Albert has died.
Pembina Trails School Division is confirming to CTV News that a group of students found a body during community cleanup at Ècole South Pointe School.
Winnipeg police are telling people to find an alternate route this afternoon as they are investigating a fatal crash near the St. Boniface Industrial Park.
'It's one way to be creative': Winnipeg student wants to be a bartender when older; school doesn't like comment in yearbook
Bartender. That is what one Grade 4 student said for the yearbook when asked what he wanted to be when he grows up, an answer the school is asking him to change.
A southern Alberta man who killed three people, including a two-year-old girl, could have the ability to request a release from jail earlier than his original sentence intended, thanks to a landmark Supreme Court decision Friday.
Calgary Flames fans are still coming to terms with a playoff series loss to the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night in a game that saw both controversy and heartbreak following a Connor McDavid overtime goal.
Western Canada's premiers want to reform their health-care systems by expanding services but they say Ottawa first needs to pick up the phone.
A hotly-controversial decision on whether or not to freeze base funding for police in Edmonton was delayed Friday as fallout from a dispute between the mayor and the provincial justice minister continued to rattle political circles.
A 19-year-old man is in police custody after a shooting near Rogers Place after an Edmonton Oilers viewing party ended Thursday evening.
A shelter many expected to remain open until the end of June in Wetaskiwin, Alta., will close a month early.
WATCH | New video appears to show man carrying air rifle on Toronto streets before being killed by police
A man shot dead by police officers near a Toronto elementary school on Thursday afternoon appears to have been captured on home security footage carrying an air rifle moments before the incident.
A 21-year-old Toronto man is facing a slew of charges following a suspected hate-motivated incident at a Jewish school in North York.
Toronto Pearson International is warning travellers and Mississauga residents they may notice unusual activity at the airport this weekend.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Here's what we know about the storm cleanup in Ottawa today
Hydro Ottawa is not committing to a new deadline to restore power to thousands of customers, one week after a devastating storm with wind gusts of 190 km/h hit Ottawa.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | What you need to know about Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend
It's the first in-person Ottawa Race Weekend in Ottawa since 2019, after the 2020 and 2021 events were shifted online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of Friday evening, 26,000 Hydro Ottawa customers remain without power in all neighbourhoods of the city.
A B.C. mom with a rare, debilitating illness has spent years trying to get the help she needs. Now she's considering medical assistance in dying.
The number of COVID-19 patients in B.C. hospitals hit its lowest point in more than a month this week, and the decline was driven largely by regions outside the Lower Mainland.
Researchers working in partnership with UBC believe an eco-friendly material could help solve the world’s plastic pollution problem.
Is it unconstitutional to make someone pay to get a legal document translated into French? One of Montreal's top lawyers thinks so, and pointed out two other things from Bill 96 that he thinks the courts would most easily find fault with.
Canada's highest court has ruled that Alexandre Bissonnette, who murdered six people at the Quebec City mosque in 2017, will be eligible for parole after 25 years.
Quebec says it is ready to vaccinate people who have come into close contact with monkeypox as soon as Friday.
B.C. speedboat driver arrested with 650kg of meth 'feared for his family's safety,' he told U.S. investigators
New details are emerging after a 51-year-old Alberta man was arrested aboard a speedboat that U.S. authorities say was carrying 650 kilograms of methamphetamine between Washington state and British Columbia.
The emergency department at Port McNeill Hospital unexpectedly shut down on Friday evening due to a staffing shortage.
At least one building was destroyed Friday afternoon as firefighters rushed to a large fire at the vacant Pioneer Square Mall in Mill Bay, B.C.
A Cape Breton father is warning the public of the dangers in the area he lives after his teenager son fell nearly 40 feet over a cliff in Glace Bay.
A lawyer for families of victims killed in the Nova Scotia mass shooting says an 18-hour delay in finding five bodies of those murdered is a sign of "deficient" policing.
The lawyer who represented a man who murdered three RCMP officers nearly eight years ago in Moncton, N.B., said a decision made by the Supreme Court of Canada Friday may potentially change his sentence.
Thursday evening, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce hosted the 25th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards.
On Friday, there was a walk in Sudbury to remember the remains of 215 residential schoolchildren found in Kamloops, B.C., a year ago May 27.
Staff at the new Sault Metis Centre are getting set for the grand opening Saturday.
A man, who was a referee at high school volleyball games in Guelph for more than 30 years, is facing sex assault-related charges.
The Region of Waterloo says there's a high safety risk at a Kitchener encampment and they are working with residents to prepare them for their eventual move.
Two low-cost airlines are butting heads over an agreement at the Region of Waterloo International Airport. Swoop wants to offer flights but the airport already has an exclusivity deal with rival Flair Airlines