COVID-19: 2021-22 School Year
The Government of Saskatchewan has announced a timeline for the end of the Public Health Orders.
- Proof of vaccination or negative test requirements will end on February 14 at 12:01 a.m.
- The provincial indoor mask mandate will end on March 1 at 12:01 a.m.
School divisions have been advised that they are not able to implement additional measures and are not to require proof of vaccination or negative test results or mandate masks in schools, but to remain “mask friendly.”
These changes do not mean that COVID-19 no longer poses a risk; it puts greater onus on individual decisions and personal responsibility. The government continues to encourage personal responsibility and protection. This includes vaccines, rapid testing and use of masks. We encourage members to continue to use these personal protection measures.
The Federation will provide information and guidance once more information is shared from the school divisions on their own protocols and mandates.
- 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.
- Refer to the Refusal to Work flowchart to understand employees’ role and obligations in the process of refusal to work.
- 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.
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:
- Maintaining good hand hygiene;
- Wearing a mask indoors where physical distancing is not possible;
- possible (N95 or KN95 masks are recommended);
- Rapid testing when able – Locations for Rapid Antigen Self Test Kits | Self-Testing | Government of Saskatchewan; and
- Staying home if you are feeling unwell.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Understand Saskatchewan’s current Public Health Orders: Public Health Orders | Public Measures | Government of Saskatchewan
- Know the requirements to enter the country you are planning to visit.
- Follow travel advisories from the Government of Canada website: Travel Advice and Advisories - Travel.gc.ca
- Understand the requirements for return to Canada: COVID-19: Travel, testing and borders - Travel.gc.ca
- 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.
- Information about STF Out-of-Country Medical Expenses and Travel Assistance Coverage
- Consider additional trip interruption / cancellation insurance.
- 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.)
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.