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Prairie South to keep pandemic restrictions in place until end of June

'In spite of the complexities connected to COVID-19, we have had a good year in Prairie South. For the most part, this is due to the commitment to our staff and our partnerships with parents and families.'

All pandemic-related safety precautions will remain in place throughout Prairie South School Division until the end of June since cases of COVID-19 continue to pop up in classrooms.

Education director Tony Baldwin and board chair Robert Bachmann issued a letter recently updating parents and students about how the pandemic continues to affect the school division. They indicated that while efforts to prevent transmission in schools have been successful, there is still significant coronavirus activity and transmission in homes and the community. 

“While most of our staff and students older than 12 have received an initial vaccination, few people in our schools are fully vaccinated, and we continue to be concerned for the health and safety of students and staff as we move through June,” they said. 

As of June 11, Prairie South had detected 130 positive COVID-19 cases as part of its school contact-tracing program. The monthly data from the division shows: 

  • From September to November 2020, there were 20 cases
  • From December 2020 to February, there were 20 cases
  • From March to June, there were 90 cases, including 38 in May alone

Data by grade shows:

  • Prekindergarten/kindergarten: six cases
  • Grades 1 and 2: 10 cases
  • Grades 3 and 4: nine cases
  • Grades 5 and 6: 13 cases
  • Grades 7 and 8: eight cases
  • Grades 9 and 10: 23 cases
  • Grades 11 and 12: 36 cases
  • Staff: 25 cases

Based on these numbers, the division is not ready to lift restrictions and will continue with them until the end of June, Baldwin and Bachmann said. The division will work with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and other health partners during the summer to determine whether any restrictions will be necessary for the fall. Both men are hoping for a “normal” start to the 2021-22 school year.

With a few days of school left, division administration is asking parents to call 811 if their child has symptoms of COVID-19 and request a test while also keeping the child at home instead of sending him or her to school. Principals will also continue to send home students immediately if they have symptoms.

PSSD appreciates parents who have had their children vaccinated at clinics in Moose Jaw, Assiniboia and Gravelbourg, Baldwin and Bachmann continued. There will still be some opportunities for school-based vaccinations throughout the month in areas where students have not had access. 

“In spite of the complexities connected to COVID-19, we have had a good year in Prairie South,” they added. “For the most part, this is due to the commitment to our staff and our partnerships with parents and families. Prairie South is grateful to have the opportunity to serve your children.”