COVID-19 numbers in Saskatchewan Rivers discussed by board

The Sask Rivers Education Centre/ Daily Herald File Photo

The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board of education received an update on COVID-19 cases in its schools during Monday’s meeting.

Director of education Robert Bratvold told the division that as of May 5, there had been 85 cases in 20 different schools. Thirteen schools had not reported a single case of COVID-19 as of May 5.

“Of the schools that have had a case, 16 of them have had three or less all year long,” Bratvold said.

“It speaks to the work that the health team has done and the work that our schools and families are doing to keep kids safe,” Bratvold said.

There are 13 schools in the division that have not had a case of COVID-19 as of May 5.

The report also stated that local Medical Health Officer Dr. Khami Chkcani remains concerned about the increase in variants of concern (VOC) but there has not been a rapid rise in cases as Regina has experienced. According to the report, VOCs make up 40 per cent of all positive cases outside of correctional facilities which is a slight increase over the previous week.

He also explained in his update that the division has worked with Kids First and the Ministry of Education and there has been the addition of an Early Years Coach funded by Kids First to ensure smooth transition into pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten.

“ I have talked about it before but it’s a fantastic program that provides support and guidance, provides funding to really help schools move towards that positive relationship and a joyful learning kind of experience,” he said.

During the closed session of the meeting, superintendent Neil Finch presented an enrolment trends and projections update for Sept. 2021. Recent trends indicate that families who disconnected from the division due to COVID-19 are returning to school.

“The enrolment report that Neil brought was reassuring in a lot of positive ways. Our elementary schools are seeing significant steady growing enrolment and I think that just sends a message that our parents are seeing — despite the challenges — that schools still are great safe places to be. So we have got lots of kids coming back to school and that’s a positive,” Bratvold said.

Enrolment numbers play a role in the amount of funding school divisions receive from the province.

It is also really reassuring to know that families are seeing the support and the connections that they can have with their schools,” Bratvold said.

“Building that relationship with families and sustaining it is really nice to see and seeing the value of our schools.”

SRSC group completes professional development workshop

During the Saskatchewan Rivers Students for Change (SRSC) update trustee Emily Zbaraschuk explained that the group had met and completed professional development facilitated by Kim Bader.

“We finished off by giving presentations that we had been working on for the last two meetings and we were given a chance to practice them and make them better so that we had quite polished presentations by the end of it. We all really enjoyed what we learned and enjoyed getting to learn about various topics like student leadership and to see what our fellow students had researched and spent some time learning about,” Zbaraschuk said.

SRSC was also offered a chance to present these at the school board’s meeting on June 7. Zbaraschuk was also an active participant in a notice of motion presented by trustee Jaimie Smith-Windsor.

“It’s a great thing that students are connected, she offered some good insights in the conversation around the notice of motion and also relative to things that are happening in their schools and that was a really good thing,” Bratvold said.

During her update on activities in schools, Zbaraschuk mentioned that schools are planning for graduation, Birch Hills School completed a Co-op card fundraiser and Shellbrook students at W.P Sandin School did an environmental cleanup for Earth Day.

“We are just headed into the last two months and we are excited for summer,” Zbaraschuk said.

Student trustee Kelly Lam was not able to attend Monday’s meeting.