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Saskatchewan unveils more steps for safe back to school return

The Saskatchewan Government is putting more anti-COVID preparations in place to ensure kids and parents can have a safer back to school.

Information packages are being sent out to all parents and guardians with information on the Safe Schools Plan. Some of the items in this backgrounder are options for COVID testing, which will be voluntary throughout the year in schools. Parents will be informed at least one week before voluntary testing will be available in their children’s school. Alternatively, people can schedule a test through Healthlink 8-1-1.

The package also outlines what will happen if COVID-19 symptoms are found in a child or staff member while at school. The child or staff member will be asked to wear a mask and self-isolate in a separate room. Their guardian will then be notified.

If a case is confirmed in only one person at the school, a contact tracing investigation will begin. If two or more individuals at a school test positive for COVID-19, an outbreak will be declared. This does not necessarily mean a school will close, because it may be triggered by a low number of cases. Public health officials in this scenario will then mobilize and co-ordinate a response.

If there has been close contact in the classroom with someone testing positive for COVID, parents of children in the class will be notified. If a second positive case is confirmed in that class, students will get alternative learning arrangements for 14 days. If two or more positive cases are confirmed in more than one classroom and public health can’t establish a transmission link, changes to school-wide delivery may come into place.

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The government says this approach was developed by public health and will be assessed throughout the school year based on transmission trends and risk, and health system and education system capacity.

People will receive a copy of the full plan from their school district, and can also find it on the Government’s website. Yesterday, the province mandated that each school district must have detailed information on their return to school plan online. Links to all 27 school boards sites can also be found on the Saskatchewan Government’s page.

Earlier this summer, six million masks and face shields for staff were given out to Saskatchewan schools. Another shipment was also sent out August 26th and will be delivered before school starts on September 8th.

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