With classes set to begin in a couple of weeks times, there are still a lot of questions about COVID guidelines for staff and students at schools in Saskatchewan.
The Saskatchewan Medical Association and the Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians have released their recommendations for the upcoming school year to the school boards in the province.
They include mandatory masking and mandatory vaccines for individuals over the age of 12 inside of schools.
President of the Sask. College of Family Physicians Dr. Myles Deutscher says children under the age of 12 are too vulnerable to COVID since they are unable to receive a vaccine at this time. “As we watch COVID case numbers rise over the past couple of weeks and as the Delta variant sweeps through this province we’re seeing cases climb in unvaccinated people so this is really a wave of the unvaccinated that includes people that have chosen to be unvaccinated and those who don’t have the opportunity to be vaccinated and that includes our young population under 12 for which the vaccine has yet to be approved for.”
The physicians have cited the concern with that the province has the highest amount of cases and new cases per 100,000 people as concern. They also find it troubling that Saskatchewan trails other provinces for vaccinations for people over the age of 12.
Other recommendations that the Saskatchewan Medical Association and Saskatchewan College of Family Physicians is to have the to the school board to consider include establishing mobile vaccination clinics in schools.
They asked that all sick children and adults to stay at home and to get tested. They requested sanitizing dispensers to be widely available and to continue to practice hand washing and sanitization. Another recommendation is to report positive cases to parents or anyone else who needs to know as they can and for close contacts to self-isolate. They asked for clean and test HVAC systems regularly to ensure they are functioning properly and for everyone to maintain social distancing when possible, until case numbers subside.
Further details about guidelines with COVID-19 in schools are expected sometime next week with the Ministry of Health saying they are along with the Ministry of Education are monitoring COVID-19 in the province and that “school divisions will continue to work with medical health officers in responding to public health risks in school settings.”