Students at Sacred Heart School/École Sacré Coeur will be returning to remote learning for the next two weeks after four cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed at the school since April 30.
Gwen Keith, the director of education for the Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division, said they decided to shift to virtual learning because of the variants of COVID and the challenges they bring.
The cases are from different classrooms in the school, rather than one classroom. And there are some pending test results as well.
“As these things emerge, this is the safest, most coherent thing to do at this point for the safety of students and staff,” said Keith. “We certainly realize this has inconvenience to families, however we are doing our best to manage the complexity of what this means.”
There has also been one case in the Grade 7 classroom at St. Mary’s School. The affected classroom will be shifting to virtual learning as well.
Keith didn’t divulge whether it was staff, students or a mixture of both who tested positive between the two schools.
“The communication shared at the health level is that there is somebody who tested positive,” said Keith.
Students at Sacred Heart are slated to return to in-person learning on May 17, but the remote learning could be extended. Keith said the decision to have students back in the school will be based on the number of cases and discussions with administration for all concerned.
There is no immediate indication that COVID was spread within the school.
The division did not have to pivot in Estevan like it did with schools in its other communities earlier in the school year, and having COVID among students and/or staff “is a new experience” for Sacred Heart, she said.
Holy Family students returned to in-class learning on April 26, after spending two weeks in virtual learning. Keith believes the experience of remote learning in April will help.
She thanked parents for the patience they have shown throughout this process.
This week’s edition of the Mercury will have more on this story.