Saskatchewan Rivers meets with Chokani to discuss COVID situation

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald The Saskatchewan Rivers School Division board of education met at the Education Centre in September

Division to develop and publish position on vaccination promotion

The Saskatchewan Rivers school board has passed a motion authorizing the chair and education director to develop and publish their position on vaccine promotion.

The board made the decision during their regular meeting on Monday following an COVID-19 update from Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Khami Chokani.

Chokani’s presentation outlined the recent history, current trends and future projections of COVID case rates, hospitalizations, vaccination rates and other information specific to the communities in the division.

The presentation took place during the closed portion of the meeting but was brought back to the open portion after discussion.

“In the closed session the board had some conversation around the data and their positions around masks and vaccines and things like that,” director of education Robert Bratvold said.

The board created the motion after moving back into open session.

Board highlights published by the division on Tuesday said trustees appreciated the time, clarity and conversation, since it provided valuable information that helped the board provide direction and oversight.

Bratvold said they used the closed session was an awkward but necessary step. He said the board wanted to hear Chokani in an open session, but didn’t want him getting grilled by the public.

“It was a little bit of an awkward way to do it, but the board gets the information and the public can know that they got the information,” he explained.

“Even though it was a closed session the board spoke to it in the open session,” he added.

There will be further board communication later this week or early next week on vaccinations according to Bratvold.

“It’s important, I think, that the public knows the board encourages all eligible residents to get vaccinated. That’s one of those things that we approved it in our plan, we shared it with our staff, we have encouraged our principals to communicate that, but the board directly hasn’t really said that before.”

Bratvold said the board plans to send a letter to families and the public either later this week or early next week updating them on the situation.

The need for vaccinations among all eligible residents was obvious and the Board indicated its support for vaccine promotion.

Bratvold explained that the presentation did not directly influence the vaccine promotion, it just happened to occur at the same time.

“I think it was important when you talk about Dr. Chokani;s presentation that it really coincided with the board’s vaccination promotion,” Bratvold daid.

Planning for the meeting began during the August regular meeting.