Remote learning at all Sask. Rivers and P.A. Catholic schools until Jan. 18

Decision made after late-Friday meeting with local public health officials

A classroom in Rosthern Community School. – Government of Saskatchewan/Submitted

All schools in the Prince Albert Catholic School Division and in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division are moving to remote learning as of Monday, and won’t return to in-person classes until at least Jan. 18.

The two school divisions sent a news release Friday evening announcing the news after a late afternoon meeting with public health officials.

Officially, the school divisions announced they were moving to Level 4 of the Saskatchewan Safe School Plan effective Dec. 14, for all students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. Last year when the entire province was moved to remote learning, it was mostly done online, though some schools offered non-digital learning packages.

The temporary measure expires on Friday, Jan. 15 with in-person classes set to resume the following Monday.

That resumption of in-person classes is pending a further review of health data.

“This preventative measure is in response to Public Health recommendations based on the increased rates of community transmission of COVID-19,” the joint statement reads.

“Students will participate and engage in remote learning programming as learning expectations will remain a priority.  Schools will provide specialized programming or support for intensive learning needs on an individualized basis.  Information and instruction for all students and families will be forthcoming from their school administration and staff early next week.”

When reached by phone, Saskatchewan Rivers education director Robert Bravold said more information will be sent by individual schools by noon Saturday.

On Thursday the province released the updated COVID-19 testing numbers in school-aged children and youth aged 19 and younger. There are 1,022 total active cases in youth across the province.

In the North Central zone, which includes Prince Albert, there are 124 active cases in youth, which is an increase from the 96 reported last Thursday. Last week there were 315 youth tests performed across the North Central zone.

North Central 2, which is Prince Albert, has 63 active cases in youth.

North Central 1, which includes communities such as Christopher Lake, Candle Lake and Meath Park, has 50 active cases and North Central 3 has 11 active cases.

The province said this week that active case counts may be slightly overinflated as not all recovered cases have been counted.

The North Central Zone, as a whole, had 34 new cases Friday.

Prince Albert has a reported active case count of 339.

— With files from Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism initiative Reporter.