Saskatchewan organizations react to province’s decision on COVID-19 protocols

Organizations react to the Saskatchewan government's changes to COVID-19 protocols to take into effect starting Friday. Getty Images

During a COVID-19 update, the Saskatchewan government announced changes in COVID-19 protocols to take into effect on Friday.

The province said those who received a positive COVID-19 test result on either a PCR or a rapid antigen test will be required to self-isolate for five days regardless of vaccination status.

Those who are close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases will no longer be required to self-isolate regardless of vaccination status. Health officials also said that parents and caregivers will no longer be required to inform schools about positive test results.

Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman was asked during a COVID-19 update on Thursday, Jan. 27, whether proof-of-vaccination mandates will continue.

“Right now, it’s in place until the end of February and we’re going to continue that with the masking, the verification and the negative tests,” he said, adding that “this is continually evolving.”

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The president of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) says the government’s announcement will have significant implications for school divisions, parents, families and for school staff. But there will be some negatives and some positives that will come out of it.

“We will be working with local medical health officials to implement these changes,” said Shawn Davidson. “We will respond to this in the same fashion as we always have.”

The recent announcement did not sit well with others. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) said the province no longer requiring reporting of COVID-19 positive cases will make things strenuous for those working on the front lines.

“We consider it highly irresponsible that they are removing the incentives for the unvaccinated people to get vaccinated,” said Rob Westfield, CUPE Saskatchewan’s Education Workers Steering Committee Chair.

“This is causing stress and anxiety for students, parents and staff alike.”

Westfield adds that the province’s decision will put Saskatchewan’s front-line workers more at risk.

“It’s putting politics above the public health and safety of both students and staff in the education system,” he said. “Not knowing if you’ve been exposed to COVID is extremely stressful.”

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Each school division will be working with their own local medical health officials and SSBA encourages parents and caregivers to keep an eye out for communications from their schools.

Click to play video: 'Sask. union leaders call for restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge'
Sask. union leaders call for restrictions as COVID-19 cases surge

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