STF president requests more supports for schools as COVID-19 numbers rise in Sask.

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is calling for students, families and staff of school in the province to be vigilant and continue following precautions with increasing COVID-19 numbers in Saskatchewan.

Patrick Maze, president of the STF, said based on what the province’s chief medical health officer has been warning the public about for some time now, he would suggest the second wave is upon us.

“Dr. Saqib Shahab has been talking for some time about how a second wave will occur,” started Maze. “With the numbers that we are looking at, even though it seems the majority of them have come from a few specific incidents at the same point, that’s how second waves start.”

There are a few items Maze feels need to be addressed by the provincial government and school divisions with the jump in COVID-19 cases.

Maze reiterated the federation’s opinion that extracurricular activities at schools should be suspended until this virus is showing some signs of being “under better control.”

He also believes it’s time for more consistency and more stringent protocols when it comes to the provincial government’s COVID-19 plan.

“We know that social distancing can’t occur in schools, and yet we get a bit of frustration when we hear that masks are optional in some situations when social distancing cannot be followed,” he explained.

When discussing how information is given to the public regarding new cases, Maze called for more transparency when in-school cases are announced so families and staff can understand the impacts at their respective schools.

He said more information is better considering anxiety levels are starting to increase among teachers, school staff, parents and students.

“It’s not a case of anybody stigmatizing a person in a building. But at the same point, when we know COVID-19 is in the building, we need to know what classrooms it has been in, what the circumstances surrounding it are.”

The STF is also encouraging the provincial government to consider what resources and directives can be given to better protect students and staff during a rise in cases.

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