STF Renews Call for Online Learning as COVID-19 Cases Rise

May 1, 2021
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is echoing the concerns of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark and Epidemiologist Dr. Cory Neudorf, both of whom are calling for increased measures in Saskatoon to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

“Two weeks ago, the STF called for Saskatoon and area schools to move online so we could be proactive and not end up in the same situation as Regina,” said STF President Patrick Maze. “This situation of rising case numbers for Saskatoon and other areas is precisely what we anticipated and feared. When epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists say we are ‘playing chicken’ with a deadly virus and to ‘buckle up’ I think we need to take that seriously and act, even if it poses challenges in the short term.”

According to Maze, despite being eligible as of yesterday, teachers are already having a difficult time securing an appointment. “It is one thing to be eligible, it is another to have the shot and give it a chance to do its job. There are worrying signs the system is overloaded and not able to handle the influx.”

The Federation contacted the Ministries of Health and Education yesterday and both have indicated they are working to address the issues experienced.

Maze says all available data made public shows a worsening situation and points to Saskatoon now having a single-day increase greater than Regina. In just over a week, the cumulative count of variants rose to 765 from 560.

“Again, we are asking Saskatoon and area schools to move online, and asking Regina and area schools to reconsider the decision to return to in-person learning,” urged Maze. “Parents, teachers and all school staff are exceptionally worried. If there’s evidence to support these decisions that hasn’t been made public, I urge government to share it to build public confidence and help everyone make informed decisions.”

Maze reiterates that remote learning is challenging for students, parents and teachers, and is not preferred by anyone, but until COVID-19 is under control, it is the safest and only option.