22 COVID-19 cases in Sask. schools over the weekend as Regina students resume in-person classes

·3 min read
22 COVID-19 cases in Sask. schools over the weekend as Regina students resume in-person classes
Most Regina schools are reopening to in-person classes on May 3.  (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)
Most Regina schools are reopening to in-person classes on May 3. (John Robertson/CBC - image credit)

After a weekend that saw Saskatchewan record 22 COVID-19 cases connected to 17 schools across the province, students in Regina are heading back to in-person classes Monday.

School districts in the Queen City announced last week that they would return to classes after switching to remote learning at the end of March.

Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools have said their decisions were based on recommendations from the local medical health officer who said there had been a reduction in cases among school-aged children.

Last week, Regina Public Schools told CBC that the decision was made by the senior administration of Regina Public Schools and supported by the Regina Board of Education.

Regina Catholic Schools said its board of trustees voted on a recommendation based on meetings between senior leadership and the local medical health officers, as well as the availability of staff.

That vote was held in a closed meeting and details on who voted for the decision are not available.

The return to in-person classes has has drawn flak from students and parents, as well as an epidemiologist with the University of Saskatchewan.

Multiple cases at schools over the weekend

The province reported 22 cases connected to 17 different schools between April 30 and May 2.

None of the cases were located in Regina but were spread throughout the the rest of the province, including in Saskatoon, Lloydminster and North Battleford.

Only one of the cases reported over the weekend have been designated as active outbreaks, according to the SHA.

That was at Canora Composite High School in Canora on Saturday, which recorded two positive cases.

The province declares an outbreak in a non-household setting when two or more people test positive for the virus.

As of Monday, there are 31 active outbreaks at schools in Saskatchewan.

Data released

An epidemiological analysis from the SHA was distributed to Regina school districts on Friday that provides more details on what informed the decision to return to in-person schools.

The analysis comes after an email obtained by CBC News last week indicated that health officials were not regularly providing the Regina Public Schools with the COVID-19 data that formed the core of their recommendation.

According to the analysis, Regina recorded 1,134 cases related to schools from January to the end of April.

The number of cases peaked between March 28 to April 3 with a slow decline in cases beginning the week of April 4 to April 10.

That decline has continued with the SHA identifying only 25 cases last week.

The SHA says its analysis found that of 845 cases related to school, only 14 per cent were likely to have been acquired in the school.

The rest or, 727 cases, were acquired outside of the school.

The report also says that adherence to public health measures — such as masking, distancing and cohorting — works.

The SHA concludes by saying their analysis of case trends and patterns is set to continue and their recommendation will change if necessary.