STF Calls for Saskatoon and Area Schools to Move to Remote Learning

April 22, 2021
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is calling for Saskatoon and area schools to move to Level 4 of the Safe School Plan and have all students learning remotely starting Monday, April 26 and remain online until it is safe to return to in-person learning.

“The situation in Saskatoon is perilous. We urge Saskatoon Public, Saskatoon Catholic and Prairie Spirit school divisions to take action now,” said STF President Patrick Maze. “Schools are a source of transmission and there are numerous outbreaks in Saskatoon and area schools. We don’t have to wait for more schools to be impacted. A move to remote learning is one measure we can take to help protect people’s lives.”

This call follows the Federation’s request on March 31 for all schools in the province to move to remote learning for two weeks after the Easter break in an effort to reduce transmission. Maze acknowledges that remote learning is difficult for students, parents and teachers, but says the current risk is too great.

“The province’s ICUs are full and our healthcare system is dangerously close to not being able to provide care to everyone who needs it. Healthcare workers are discussing how to decide who will get treatment and who won’t,” said Maze. “We all need to do everything we can to reduce transmission. Online learning helps keep students and others safe.”

According to data released by the Government of Saskatchewan:

  • In the first three weeks of April, variants of concern in Saskatoon have increased 925 percent (from 53 to 543); and total active cases have increased in Saskatoon by 128 percent (from 224 to 513).
  • Test positivity increased by 46 percent (from 5 to 7.3 percent) among children and youth aged 0-19 between March 29 and April 11 in the Saskatoon zone.
  • Saskatoon has 543 cases of variants of concern. Regina had 434 when its school divisions announced a move to remote learning.

It is expected all teachers and school staff will finally be eligible for vaccines next week. Rapid testing in schools is also a measure that can help reduce school spread, but has not yet been implemented outside of a couple of pilot sites.