Sask. students return to classes as COVID-19 cases rise
Saskatchewan students have returned to classrooms as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country.
School boards across the province said they are taking a multi-layered approach to the pandemic including mandatory masks and increased sanitation protocols. However some experts say these measures are not enough
"I do think at some point we do have to look at other measures to control community spread,” said Dr. Dennis Kendel who is a physician and public policy consultant. “Our schools are opening and the virus will spread throughout the schools anyone who thinks it wont is delusional.”
The province is the only one in Canada that did not push back the start date for students, following the holiday break.
"Most of the provinces who did that did it because they were going to use that time to improve the risk factors such as ventilation systems,” said Kendel.
Rob Westfield, an educational support worker and chairperson of the CUPE Saskatchewan Education Workers’ Steering Committee, said the government has failed at providing a safe environment.
"The Saskatchewan government has failed in providing a safe environment not just for the staff at the education centre but the students as well,” said Westfield.
Westfield adds that safety should be a top priority for all involved.
"We want the kids to be in class but we want them to do it safely as well,” said Westfield.
In a statement, the Government of Saskatchewan said the protocols that have been put in place, along with the over $150 million that school divisions have been given to support students and staff as we manage throughout the pandemic, have proven to be successful.
Some students in Regina said they feel safe at school at this time.
“I feel like right now were doing a really good job at keeping others safe,” said Alyssa Dustyhorn who is a student at Balfour high school in Regina.
“I don’t feel unsafe at school but I feel like they could be doing more,” said Maya Carriere who is also a student at Balfour.
The province also advises anyone with a positive rapid test to self isolate and notify any close contacts.
The Paul Merriman, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Health and Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical health officer, will provide a COVID-19 update on Wednesday.