Beck: Parents, school boards and teachers need support with 82 new school outbreaks in two weeks

NDP urges government to use 2 week break to get things right

REGINA – Today Carla Beck, Official Opposition Critic for Education, sounded the alarm on the Sask. Party government’s chaotic handling of COVID-19 in schools with COVID-19 variants on the rise, particularly in Regina and area. With an average of nearly 6 outbreaks a day reported over the last two weeks, the situation has clearly spiralled out of control.

“Parents, divisions and school staff are concerned. They want answers but unfortunately, Premier Moe and his government have been asleep at the wheel,” said Beck. “The fact is that the province’s entire plan for COVID-19 has been chaotic from the start - and now schools, families and communities are paying the price.”

The lack of leadership from the provincial government has prompted the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation to describe the situation as “chaos”, speaking out about the confusion for teachers and school communities. Schools throughout the province have been dealing with variant outbreaks, with some school divisions proactively moving online to get ahead of the variant spread. Yesterday it was revealed that active cases for Regina youth have gone up from 120 to 193 week over week; from 350 to 413 overall in Saskatchewan.

Beck also noted that concerns have been raised with the NDP Caucus about the use of rapid tests in schools. Despite a news release last week claiming that divisions would not have to utilize their own resources to  administer these tests, school boards and teachers have not been given any clear direction on who will actually be administering them. 

“Tests don’t administer themselves. Without instruction or personnel to administer them, this is another half-measure from this government that does nothing to keep kids and school staff safe,” said Beck. “It appears that the government was just looking for a good headline, instead of actually doing their job and working with schools to keep our kids safe.”

The Official Opposition is demanding the province take the two-week break as an opportunity to:

  • Work with school divisions on clear rapid testing protocols
  • Identify and train personnel to deliver tests
  • Reassess provincial public health measures in schools to ensure measures are sufficient to protect students and school staff from variants that are more transmissible and more dangerous for younger people