New COVID-19 Measures Leave School Staff and Students Vulnerable

November 13, 2020
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is disappointed in the new measures announced by the Government of Saskatchewan today and remains deeply concerned about what this could mean for schools, students and staff in the coming weeks.

“All communities and all school populations are at risk,” said Patrick Maze, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. “These measures leave staff and students in elementary schools and schools with student populations less than 600 vulnerable and exposed. All staff and students require a safe school environment.”

Maze is calling for masks to be mandatory for all staff and students, including PreK to Grade 3, and for school divisions to move immediately to Level 3.

“Classrooms are crowded, and there are numerous accounts of significant delays in contact tracing. This is creating significant health risks for the staff and students who are left unprotected,” said Maze. “Recommendations are insufficient. We need clear, consistent directives from government.”

Maze added that the messages shared by Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Shahab, the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Shaw and Saskatchewan Health Authority’s CEO Scott Livingstone foreshadow a grim future. “Our hope is to avoid a full closure of schools again. The education system is fragile and its success is key to the economic health of our province.”

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation stands by its position that masks be made mandatory provincewide and that school divisions suspend extracurricular activities, restrict community-based activities in schools and limit the number of schools each staff member is assigned to.