'I will never know': Sask. ends COVID-19 case reporting in schools
As of Friday, Saskatchewan parents and caregivers are no longer required to tell schools if their child has COVID-19 - a decision that isn't sitting well some two Saskatoon parents.
"It's like sending my kid to school, with the full possibility of getting an infection. And I don't have the option to decide at all," said Aruna Padmanabhan, a parent who spoke with CTV News over Facebook messenger.
Health Minister Paul Merriman announced the change Thursday morning along with a shortening of the self-isolation time required for unvaccinated people who test positive for the illness — from 10 to five days.
"As we learn to live with COVID, we learned to be prepared to transition our public health measures and responses," Merriman said.
"We have to continually adapt to what we're seeing in front of us what the real data is explaining to us."
Padmanabhan has two kids, aged four and seven. She said her seven-year-old has been flagged as a close contact twice since the start of the school year.
"So we kept the younger one a little isolated from his brother. Now with these guidelines, I will never know," she said.
Another parent CTV News spoke with said the change is “selfish.”
Shaunna Cey has three kids, ages 12, nine and six, who attend North Park Wilson School.
She said the school is good at informing them of any problems, but she worries that will no longer happen and wants parents to continue to report positive test results even if it isn’t required.
“I as a parent would still let the school know because why wouldn’t you? You want to keep our kids safe,” Cey said.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement to CTV News that the changes stem from the widespread community transmission seen in the current Omicron-fueled wave.
"Contact tracing is no longer an effective measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19 due to the shorter incubation period and the fact that many more infected people show few or no symptoms," the ministry said.
The ministry pointed to the health measures still in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as indoor masking rules and proof of vaccination requirements.
Saskatchewan Teacher's Federation president Patrick Maze calls the change "frustrating."
"That was really the only tool that parents and educators had for kind of doing a risk assessment on how bad the situation was in the school," Maze told CTV News in a Zoom interview.
"And so once you remove that, we'll have really no idea how many cases there are."
Maze said while the rule requiring parents to report COVID-19 cases ultimately relied on an honour system, it was still better than the alternative.
"To completely eliminate it just kind of throws out any ability for education workers to be able to tell whether they're working in a safe spot or not," Maze said.
Margi Corbett, a retired teacher and admin with Safe Schools Saskatchewan, is also frustrated over the announcement, saying she is hearing from many concerned parents.
“They’re still getting letters about head lice for example, but not about a potentially fatal respiratory illness. And that just doesn’t seem right. It seems illogical, irresponsible and they’re a little bit frightened by that,” she said.
“It really does feel like we’re throwing (students) to the wolves.”
In light of the province's announcement, Saskatoon Public Schools said it will no longer share information concerning close COVID-19 contacts.
"In the absence of a public health order or direction from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, schools cannot share an individual’s private health information," the school division said in a message to parents.
The division said any child who tests positive for COVID-19 should be reported as "sick."
The Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) is also making similar changes.
"As schools will no longer be notified of cases, schools will not have accurate information to pass along to families," GSCS said in an update for parents and caregivers.
Any GSCS classes currently online will move to in-person learning as of Jan. 31.
Saskatoon Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Families are sharing photos and stories of their loved ones, who lost their lives in a mass shooting in Texas that killed at least 19 children and two adults on Tuesday afternoon.
Onlookers urged police officers to charge into the Texas elementary school where a gunman's rampage killed 19 children and two teachers, a witness said Wednesday, as investigators worked to track the massacre that lasted upwards of 40 minutes and ended when the 18-year-old shooter was killed by a Border Patrol team.
The six candidates on the ballot to be the next leader of the Conservative Party of Canada are debating face-to-face in French, in Laval, Que.
A news conference about the shooting at a Texas elementary school broke into shouting Wednesday as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke blamed Republican Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction ahead of the latest in a long string of mass shootings in the state.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cancelled plans to appear in person at a Liberal fundraiser in British Columbia Tuesday after RCMP warned an aggressive protest outside the event could escalate if he arrived, said a source close to the decision. The source spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.
Several parts of the country, including British Columbia and Canada's Maritime provinces, are likely to see wetter-than-normal conditions this summer, according to AccuWeather's annual summer forecast.
The Public Health Agency of Canada says it has now confirmed a total of 16 cases of monkeypox in the country, all in Quebec.
A jury in Portland has convicted a self-published romance novelist - who once wrote an essay titled 'How to Murder Your Husband' - of fatally shooting her husband four years ago.
Do oil companies control the price of crude? CTVNews.ca asked experts to explain.
'All it takes is one': Sask. RCMP partner with Washington police to publicize disappearance of Mekayla Bali
Saskatchewan RCMP and the Washington State Patrol announced a collaboration of efforts to locate Mekayla Bali, who was 16-years-old when she was last on April 12, 2016 in Yorkton.
A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
For those looking to hop the border into Manitoba for their camping seasons, it started off on the wrong foot for Duck Mountain Provincial Park.
The Manitoba Government could turn to the military for help as it struggles with staffing shortages, overcrowding, and in some cases, temporary closures of emergency rooms.
The Manitoba government is hinting it may allow more alcohol sales through private channels to boost customer convenience.
Hundreds of residents in River Park South were left without power Wednesday evening after a pole was knocked down on St. Anne's Road.
The City of Calgary has recruited three people from the commercial real-estate sector in an effort to get a new event centre to replace the aging Scotiabank Saddledome.
Those who haven't receive their bill by the first week of June are asked to contact 311.
After a massacre at a Texas elementary school, some are looking into safety protections against gun violence in Calgary's school system while mental health experts are offering advice for difficult conversations about mass shootings.
Even though they cheer for opposite teams, a proposal by a Flames fan at Game 4 of the Battle of Alberta received a resounding "yes" from the Oilers-loving bride to be.
Edmonton’s School Resource Officer Program has received a passing grade in a new report that was presented to Catholic School Trustees on Wednesday.
Alberta's justice minister is facing criticism for "strange" and "remarkably unhelpful" comments he made in the legislature on Tuesday when an NDP MLA asked him to help fight crime in Chinatown.
Was your home damaged by the Ontario storm? Insurance companies say payouts could take weeks to process
The insurance industry says it could take up to six weeks to get an idea of how many hundreds of millions of dollars in pay outs will be required from the weekend storm that brought death and destruction to Ontario and Quebec, but that early estimates are substantial.
Police have released new video of a recent incident in which a vehicle was caught doing doughnuts and speeding along the shoulder of busy Ontario roadways.
People all across Ontario are getting creative when it comes to netting a secondary income, otherwise known as a “side hustle,” and many are turning to secondhand economies thriving on online platforms.
The president of Hydro Ottawa says "with a little bit of luck" power will be restored along the Merivale Road area on Thursday, bringing power to another 15,000 to 20,000 customers still in the dark following Saturday's storm.
The Ottawa Catholic School Board says all schools with power will be open on Thursday, but 14 schools without power will remain closed.
Out of the tragedy of Saturday’s storm, come stories of people helping each other.
A social media video that captures the moment a man gets Tasered by a Vancouver police officer is prompting calls for more training for police going out mental health calls.
Things got messy at B.C. Premier John Horgan's constituency office Wednesday.
The province is not promising any additional help to a Coquitlam woman with stage 4 breast cancer who is having to pay about $1200 a month for her treatment.
Quebec politicians were not pleased with the federal Liberals' comments on Bill 96 and Bill 21, firing back with a slew of protests and even raising sovereignty as the solution.
Quebec's public health department is set to give its first press conference on the growing monkeypox outbreak as the province recorded its 16th confirmed case Wednesday.
Indigenous communities in Quebec say the language law passed Tuesday will harm the education prospects of their youth and undermine reconciliation in the province.
Authorities are investigating Wednesday after the body of a porpoise was discovered on a beach near Victoria.
Victoria police say three men were arrested after a random bear spray attack occurred on Monday.
A British Columbia company that was once at the forefront of the booming plant-based meats industry is shuttering stores and production plants as it struggles to survive.
As the inquiry into Nova Scotia’s mass shooting moves its public proceedings to Truro, many of the family members affected by the tragedy and their lawyers are boycotting the proceedings over the next week.
Former Chief Anchor Steve Murphy offers a timely perspective on the Mass Casualty Commission and the difference 30 years after the Westray inquiry.
Speaking off-script at an event in Halifax Wednesday morning, Canada's Minister of Public Safety said he was gutted by the latest mass shooting south of the border - the 27th in a school this year alone.
It’s a sign that summer is on the horizon. Farmers’ markets are opening in cities and towns across the north.
Health care appears to be one of the bigger issues for voters along the North Shore as they get set to cast ballots in Algoma-Manitoulin.
A candidate in the provincial election in Greater Sudbury has been named in a $306 million lawsuit related to last winter's trucker convoy in Ottawa.
Two men and one woman are facing charges Wednesday after police say their vehicle struck a London police cruiser and then the suspects fled the scene on foot over the weekend.
OPP and Southwest Middlesex fire are on the scene of a fatal collision Wednesday afternoon involving a tanker truck and a passenger vehicle.
Jeff Ducharme was in his home office when a young man in a truck pulled up, ran up to the front of his home in Norwich, Ont. and stole his pride flag in broad daylight.