School divisions planning in wake of coronavirus

Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division board chair Barry Hollick (middle left) and Director of Education Robert Bratvold (middle right) listen to a speaker during an annual general meeting in January 2016. Sask. Rivers will be operating with one less board member after the Ministry of Education gave them permission to go with only nine trustees for the next three years. -- Herald file photo.

With the threat of coronavirus or the novel virus of COVID-19 shutting down events and communities around the world both the Prince Albert Roman Catholic and Saskatchewan Rivers School Division are making plans in case the epidemic reaches Saskatchewan. The divisions are both communicating with the Ministry of Education and other authorities.

Both divisions held their regular meetings on Monday, March 9 and the boards each received updates on preparedness in the divisions. The Saskatchewan Rivers Division has already begun the work.

“We have already essentially got our plans in place and we roll them out as we need to. We rely lots on the Ministry who gets their information from Sask Health. We will help out by sharing communication a bit — we don’t want to be the source or seen as the expert,” Saskatchewan Rivers director of education Robert Bratvold said.

According to Roman Catholic director of education Lorel Trumier, the board received an update on what planning is under way

“I think that we want to make sure that the board is aware that those things are occurring we are managing it in the best way that we can,” Trumier said.

She explained that they are monitoring the Canadian Government website and working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and Ministry of Education. The Saskatchewan Rivers Division is taking similar steps according to Bratvold’s report to the board on Monday.

“We are trying to be as proactive as possible on that matter,” Trumier said.

The Roman Catholic Division was also informed that Global Partners would not be sending Japanese students to Prince Albert high schools this month. Trumier said that they would have been in contact about it and decided to cancel.

“I think that is in the best interest of their students in the decision they are making and ultimately we respect that and it was probably in the best interest of ours,” she explained.

There are currently no cases of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan but both divisions are prepared if the situation arises.