Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation calling for protection for teachers and students from COVID-19 variants

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is calling for more to be done to protect students and teachers from COVID-19 variants of concern.

President Patrick Maze says classes, and even schools, have been shut down because of variants of COVID-19.

“The entire grades 9-12 classes in the Good Spirit School Division — which is Yorkton and Melville area — have been moved to online learning (as well as) classrooms in Regina, Moose Jaw, and Saskatoon now,” Maze said. “This is not the time to be loosening health measures, and it seems like students and staff are paying the price.”

Maze says with variant cases continuing to increase, the province should be adding restrictions instead of peeling them back.

“We need to get in front of this, and part of that, STF’s call is that there are hundreds of thousands of rapid tests that our government has, but they haven’t used any of them yet,” Maze said. “They’re sitting on a shelf somewhere, and so we’re calling on the government to get those into schools so that we can make sure that students are being tested.”

Maze says schools are now assuming any new case of COVID traced back to the building is a variant case.

“They’re taking every precaution with it, but the thing is if students aren’t getting tested, then we don’t know whether they have (COVID-19) or not,” Maze said. “We need to get those rapid test kits into schools so that we can detect where COVID is, and right now it’s a case of assuming that if you’ve got COVID, you’ve got the new variant.”

Maze also says about 40 percent of youth who contract COVID-19 — variant or otherwise — are asymptomatic. He urges all teachers, staff and students to not extend their bubbles at this time.

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