COVID-19: Sask. back-to-school plan includes designated quarantine zones, phased withdrawals

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Patrick Maze, President of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation. TROY FLEECE/Regina Leader-Post

When asked how the mantra of “six feet away” might be observed in young children, Chief Medical Officer of Health Saqib Shahab insisted that the risk is minimal because younger students are clustered in. the same year.

“You have to consider a layered approach in a school setting,” Shahab said. “It might not be as relevant to have those two meters of physical distance.”

Unlike other provinces, Saskatchewan does not mandate the use of masks in schools.

The eight-point plan unveiled on Tuesday leaves the door open to this and other infection control measures with a four-phase plan that can be implemented on Shahab’s advice.

In the first phase, normal measures are taken. In the second, the masks purchased by the Department of Education would be distributed to school divisions. In the third, the capacity of the school can be reduced and students can be “cohorted” to reduce contact with each other. In the fourth and final phase, distance learning would become compulsory.

The triggers for activating these phases depend on the case, Shahab said.

Saskatchewan NDP Education Critic Carla Beck said she wished Saskatchewan had followed Alberta, where children in grades 4 and up will be required to wear masks in class.

“I didn’t expect to be here today and see our plan fall so far behind Alberta’s,” she said.

Wyant said the eight-point plan will be incorporated into each of the 27 school division strategies, which have been reviewed and approved by a committee of educators and other stakeholders.

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