2021-22 School Year

The most recent Government of Saskatchewan announcement is encouraging all employers, including school divisions, to implement a proof of vaccine or negative test. Schools are currently exempt from the vaccine mandate put in place to begin October 1, 2021; the current mask mandate applies to all schools across the province.

The Federation will provide information and guidance once more information is shared from the school divisions on their own protocols and mandates.

Information for Principals

  • Your school division will provide you with information on protocols and supports available. Your division should provide clarity on:
    • What protocols may be mandatory, what is optional and what measures will be supported
    • Plans and procedures regarding school test kits and student illness
    • What decisions will be made at the division level and what ones can be made at the school level
    • The plans for reintroduction of extracurricular activities. Teachers’ support of extracurricular activities is on a voluntary basis.
    • Any mental health and well-being supports that are offered by the division.
  • All STF members have access to the Member and Family Assistance Program any time of day, any day of the year. Log in to MySTF and visit the Teacher Well-Being page for contact information.

The STF commends local school divisions who are taking action to implement vaccination mandates for their staff and encourage expansion of the mandate to all eligible school populations, including students. There is high uptake of COVID-19 vaccination among Federation members. If you are hesitant and are not yet vaccinated, we strongly urge you to seek guidance from a trusted and reputable medical source, such as your family physician.

If your employer introduces a vaccine policy, please review the policy and seek clarification on any requirements that are not clear. If a vaccine policy is introduced, it is important to note:

  • The Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission has stated that “personal preference” is not protected under the Code and not eligible for accommodation.
  • Vaccination status is personal medical information and, like all personal information, must be maintained and protected by school divisions in accordance with The Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
  • Access to vaccine leave is still available. Under The Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, teachers are eligible for up to three hours leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccine without any deduction from your pay or benefits.
  • Vaccination status does not impact a teacher’s ability to access sick days or other benefits. Sick leave and other negotiated benefits can be found in the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement and other negotiated leaves can be found in local agreements.

For detailed information and screening questions used for each COVID-19 vaccine in Saskatchewan, visit the Government of Saskatchewan’s website.

Teachers who have not yet been vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses by taking individual precautions such as:

If a school division mandates any precautions, such as wearing personal protective equipment, cohorting students, etc., it is the responsibility of the school division to provide the necessary equipment to all staff.

As of December 30th, the Government of Saskatchewan updated the Public Health Order regarding mandatory isolation. If you are required to isolate, you can access Quarantine Leave. Refer to the chart below to help determine if you need to self-isolate or monitor symptoms based on your vaccination status:

Vaccination Status

Tested Positive

Close Contact

Symptomatic and close contact OR awaiting test results

Leave to Access

Unvaccinated

Mandatory Isolation for 10 days after receiving the positive test result, or 24 hours after fever has resolved without the aid of fever-reducing medications and all other symptoms have been improving for at least 48 hours, whichever is later

Mandatory isolation for 10 days after receiving notice that you are a close contact

Self- Isolate Immediately.

Call 811 and follow HealthLine Directives

Quarantine Leave in accordance with Healthline Directives

Fully Vaccinated

Mandatory isolation for 5 days after receiving the positive test result, or 24 hours after fever has resolved without the aid of fever-reducing medications and all other symptoms have been improving for at least 48 hours, whichever is later

No requirement to self-isolate if you are a close contact. You must monitor and seek testing at first sign of COVID-19 symptoms

Self-Isolate Immediately.

Call 811 and follow Healthline Directives

Quarantine Leave in accordance with Healthline Directives

  • Stay home if you are unwell.
  • Access to quarantine leave is dependent upon direction in a Public Health Order or by the direction of a public health officer. Teachers who are directed by a public health officer, such as an 811 specialist, to self-isolate due to a potential COVID-19 exposure would have access to quarantine leave in accordance with Article 12.2 of the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • Teachers on full- time contracts are entitled to 20 days of sick leave per school year through Article Seven of the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • Unused sick leave accumulates (ASL) from year to year. Teachers are encouraged to check their pay statements to confirm their ASL. Details can be found by reviewing Article Seven – Duty to Accommodate For Disability and Sick Leave in the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • If you are concerned you may have contracted COVID-19, call HealthLine 811 for direction. Be sure to:
    • Request and record the reference number for the call;
    • Note the date and time of the call; and
    • Record and follow the order or directive from the HealthLine consultant; and
    • If directed to stay home, contact your employer and enter absences as quarantine as per Article 12.2 of the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    • If you have questions about quarantine leave or have been denied quarantine leave, contact the Federation at 1-800-667-7762 and ask to speak to a member of the senior administrative staff.

An updated Public Health Order issued September 30 updated isolation requirements for students: Students who are household close contacts are no longer exempt from self-isolation. An updated Public Health Order issued December 30 reduces the isolation period to 5 days for fully-vaccinated, asymptomatic students.

  • Vaccine Mandate:
    • At this time, the vaccine mandate taking place October 1, 2021, does not apply to schools. The Federation will continue to monitor mandates and provide updates as necessary.
  • Masking in schools:
    • The below requirements are the minimum standard set by the government. If your school’s division has put more stringent measures in place, those continue to apply.
      • Exempt for individuals who have a medical condition or disability. Medical documentation must be provided.
      • Masks during band class are not mandatory, as long as a distance of three metres can be maintained.
      • If distance can be maintained, a mask is not necessary for individuals during public speaking. This can include speaking from a podium, platform, stage, desk or other standing or seating area dedicated to speaking.
  • Student isolation orders:
    • If identified as a close contact:
      • “Close contact” refers to students who are in the same classroom as a positive case for more than 15 minutes or ride the bus or other shared transportation with a student who has tested positive for COVID-19.
      • Students who are household close contacts are not exempt from self-isolation to attend school, and must isolate for 10 days.
      • Regardless of vaccine status, students who are close contacts, in settings other than households, are exempt from self-isolation to attend classes as long as they are symptom-free and must wear a mask. All students who are close contacts, regardless of vaccine status or location of exposure, are required to self-isolate at home outside of class time, and unable to attend extracurricular activities.
      • For more information on what you need to know as a close contact visit the government’s website
    • If a student tests positive for COVID-19:
      • An unvaccinated individual must self-isolate for 10 days or 48 hours after symptoms have ended, whichever is later
      • A vaccinated individual must self-isolate for 5 days or 48 hours after symptoms have ended, whichever is later
      • Continue to follow the advice of the health care provider and Saskatchewan Health Authority
      • If a student is suspected to be positive for COVID-19, you are advised to work with your Principal, and follow the divisions policies in place to address this situation.
COVID-19 Student Close Contact protocol image
  • Full-day, in-person instruction is considered to be a full-time assignment. Double duty involves providing both full-day in-person instruction and additional, simultaneous virtual instruction to registered students.
  • If you have been assigned double duty, contact the Federation at 1-800-667-7762 and ask to speak to a member of the senior administrative staff.
  • Duty to Accommodate guidelines and process have not changed since pre-pandemic and are not impacted by the pandemic or Public Health Orders. 
  • The current process follows the guidance provided by the STF and SSBA in 2013. 
  • If you believe this applies to you or you have any questions, contact the Federation at 1-800-667-7762 and ask to speak to a member of the senior administrative staff.
  • Section 3-31 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act states that an employee may refuse to perform any particular act or series of acts at a place of employment if the employee has reasonable grounds to believe that the act or series of acts is unusually dangerous to the employee’s health or safety, or the health or safety of any other person at the place of employment until sufficient steps have been taken to satisfy the worker otherwise; or the occupational health and safety committee has investigated the matter and advised the worker otherwise.
    •  An employee’s right to refuse to perform work as a result of COVID-19 will be contingent upon many factors including, but not limited to the state of COVID-19 in the employee’s community and workplace at the time the refusal to work is being exercised, age and health of the specific employee, measures adopted by the school division to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, and any other factually relevant considerations in assessing whether there is a hazard, a risk or a danger.
  • If you believe you have reasonable grounds to refuse work, contact the Federation at 1-800-667-7762 for guidance.

Changing Assignments

  • Teachers are contractually obligated to provide teaching service in whatever assignment their employer determines is required to meet the needs of students and the division.
  • The assignment must comply with the expectations of the 2019-2023 Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • If you are planning to travel abroad at this time, carefully consider the risks and mitigation requirements. With information developing regarding the new Omicron variant, take extra caution and be aware that circumstances can change quickly, including border closures and access to flights.
  • Be aware that if you contract COVID-19 while abroad or are otherwise required to quarantine in another country prior to returning home, you would request quarantine leave / sick leave benefits as you normally would. However, if your employer denies your request, the STF will review these circumstances on a case-by-case basis and the outcome is not guaranteed.
  • Be prepared to accept the risk of contracting COVID-19 and the associated consequences (such as quarantine, added hotel costs, flight changes, medical care, hospitalization, etc.)
  • Mitigate the risk to the best of your ability using well known safety measures (such as personal protective equipment, social distancing, regular hand washing / sanitizing, avoid crowded places, etc.)

Frequently Asked Questions

We continue to call on the Government of Saskatchewan to make vaccination mandatory for all eligible staff and students – in all Saskatchewan schools – to protect students, staff, families and communities from COVID-19. Since This call dates back to August 16, 2021, when the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation became the first professional teacher organization in Canada to advocate for this measure.

Scientific evidence has proven that vaccines are safe; they are the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and they reduce the severity of illness if you do contract it. Students under 12 are still unvaccinated and are at risk of contracting the Delta strain at higher rates. Students have a right to a safe learning environment. Teachers have a right to a safe working environment. Ensuring all eligible people are fully vaccinated helps protect our youngest students and vulnerable adults.

If you intend to provide test results, rather than proof of vaccination, you should confirm with your division whether it is covering any associated costs. Please note costs of tests are not eligible expenses through the STF Members’ Health Plan.

  • The STF will advocate for employers to pay for testing for those teachers who are unable to receive the vaccine for reasons that are protected by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and subject to the employer’s duty to accommodate. This will occur on a case-by-case basis and as such there is no guarantee that this advocacy will be successful.

The STF will advocate for a reasonable accommodation for teachers who are unable to receive the vaccine for reasons that are protected by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and subject to the employer’s duty to accommodate.

Yes. Any discipline will depend on employer policies in place and other legal considerations. The STF’s support of the member’s appeal will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances and the applicable law. As per The Education Act, 1995, the STF may support the teacher’s appeal in accordance with on the basis that the discipline was unreasonable.