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STF calls for Saskatoon and area schools to move to online learning

STF president Patrick Maze said the situation in Saskatoon is “perilous” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Nathaniel Dove / Global News

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation is calling for all schools in Saskatoon and area to move to online learning until it is safe for students and teachers to return to the classroom.

STF president Patrick Maze said the situation in Saskatoon is “perilous” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Read more: COVID-19 variant first detected in India found in Canada. What we know so far

“Schools are a source of transmission and there are numerous outbreaks in Saskatoon and area schools,” Maze said in a statement Thursday.

“We don’t have to wait for more schools to be impacted. A move to remote learning is one measure we can take to help protect people’s lives.”

There are currently 472 active COVID-19 cases in Saskatoon, and 560 total variants of concern identified in the region.

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Maze’s call comes on the same day Saskatoon Public Schools announced Nutana Collegiate is moving to remote learning.

The school division said it has been informed of three cases at the school since Sunday, two of which have been identified as variants of concern.

Nutana Collegiate moves to remote learning on Friday, with the school division expecting in-class learning to resume on May 10.

Read more: Regina school divisions extend remote learning until at least May 3

Maze said Saskatoon Public Schools, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools and the Prairie Spirit School Division ought to move to online learning on April 26.

He acknowledged that online learning is difficult for students, parents and teachers, but said the current risk necessitates the need to move to Level 4.

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“The province’s ICUs are full and our health-care system is dangerously close to not being able to provide care to everyone who needs it,” Maze said.

“Health-care workers are discussing how to decide who will get treatment and who won’t.”

“We all need to do everything we can to reduce transmission. Online learning helps keep students and others safe.”

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