Maze Suggests Increased Number of Positive COVID-19 Results Signifies Second Wave is Upon Us

October 20, 2020
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan set the highest-ever single-day increase in COVID-19 positive tests on Monday with 66 new cases, and at least 50 cases are in 41 schools since September 8.

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Patrick Maze suggested that these increased numbers confirm what the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab has been predicting – as colder weather arrives, it results in people coming indoors more.

“Dr. Shahab has been talking for some time about a second wave, and it appears it is upon us so we need to be vigilant and continue to take all the proper precautions in our schools,” Maze said.

Maze has frequently questioned the approach to the re-opening of schools on September 8 with the provincial government providing school divisions with guidelines that were not consistent with the advice of public health relating to gathering sizes, cohorts and physical distancing.

“Yes, you want to give divisions some flexibility in terms of their own needs, but at the same time a sound, scientific response is what is required for a virus like this,” he stressed.

Citing a lack of consistency across the province as a result, Maze reiterated the STF’s stance on the need to suspend extracurricular activities.

“We need to give this some serious thought, at least until this virus is showing some signs of being under better control,” Maze added. “School divisions have made changes to schedules, implemented cohorts, social distancing expectations, timetable adjustments, staggered start times and other precautions. Extracurricular activities undermines these efforts.”

Maze also questioned why there isn’t more transparency in the reporting of in-school cases. “Parents, students and school staff deserve to know and understand what the impact of school opening is on caseload, and how the risks in schools and communities are changing,” said Maze.

The Federation encourages the government to consider what resources and directives can be provided to better protect the health and safety of students and staff, and maintain students’ access to learning.