School divisions in Prince Albert send out letters to parents in response to COVID-19

Both school divisions in Prince Albert have sent out letters to parents regarding the COVID-19 outbreak. The school divisions are trying to keep communication open with parents.

“We are always trying to communicate with our parents in a proactive way so whatever we can do to help our families understand the necessity to remain as healthy as possible we will do our best to make sure we are communicating that,” director of education Lorel Trumier said.

The Roman Catholic Division’s letter was sent to parents on March 11 before the first known case in Saskatchewan but after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic. The Saskatchewan Rivers letter came out on Friday, March 13 after the first case in Saskatchewan was announced.

“We feel that the activities we have done to date to prepare for this is sufficient and we will because it is an ever evolving element that occurs in our society then we will just ensure that we are responsive for the request of our Sask Health Authority,” she explained.

In their letter, The Saskatchewan Rivers Division explained that they have placed some temporary operational changes in place. These include cancellation of field trips or gatherings that involve more than one class or with significant members of the public, cancellation of guest speakers, external presentation and tours, cancellation of gatherings such as pep rallies, suspension of any school-based incentives or rewards for attendance and the replacement of Parent-Teacher Conferences with a phone call or other electronic means.

The upcoming visit from Lt.-Gov. Russell Mirasty, which is scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, could not be confirmed as canceled in time for deadline.

Both divisions letters include information such as contacting 811 HealthLine if you have questions about your health, stay at home if you are feeling ill and seek advice from 811 regarding self-isolation. As well, both divisions encourage practicing proper coughing etiquette, proper hand washing and hygiene and other things encouraged by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

The Roman Catholic Division’s letter includes an insert on proper coughing methods.

Both divisions are continuing to monitor the evolving situation. In their update on Friday the province said school closure is not being considered at this time. The SHA will communicate with education leadership daily as the situation evolves.

“If the Saskatchewan Health Authority or Ministry of Education or perhaps the province endeavour to close schools then we will do so if necessary but we are not at that point yet. I think it’s really important that we understand that if school closure occurs it is probably in the spirit of slowing down virus distribution,” Trumier said.

She explained that they will continue to use the division’s website and communications within the division to keep parents up to date.

Saskatchewan Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold was not available for comment Friday.