WEYBURN – The South East Cornerstone Public School Division (SECPSD) has rolled out an updated administrative procedure to accommodate recent changes to the continual challenges posed by a fifth wave of COVID-19 and the responses that have followed.
One new mandate going into effect on Jan. 1, following the Christmas season break, will address vaccination status or proof of a negative test for spectators at school extra-curricular events. All in attendance at those events, except for students enrolled in the K-12 school system or under the age of five, will require either proof of vaccination or a negative test.
In detailing the updates to the COVID protocol, director of education Lynn Little pointed out changes or updates to the extra-curricular travel and accommodations mandate moving forward.
“Students whether vaccinated or not will be eligible to participate in all extra-curricular activities, if they are held in school facilities and providing there is no public health order nor local medical health order prohibiting them from doing so,” she said.
If the event is held in a facility that requires vaccination or proof of a negative test, then SECPSD students, staff and parent volunteers will follow the guidelines of each jurisdiction. In addition, if restaurants and other potential venues require vaccination proof or negative test proof, this may cause complications for non-vaccinated athletes or other participants, Little pointed out.
“Travel and accommodations are areas where there is an increased risk of transmission. So effective January 1, all student participants, passengers and drivers, fully vaccinated or not, will self-administer a rapid antigen test, provided by SECPSD, prior to entering a vehicle to travel. The team coach will ensure testing has been completed and test results confirmed prior to entering the vehicle. Anyone who tests positive will be directed to access a Public Health site for a PCR test prior to participating in the sport or event,” she said.
It was further stipulated that all student participants, fully vaccinated or not, who will be sharing accommodations with non-family members, must take a rapid antigen test prior to sharing a room. Anyone who tests positive will again be directed to take the PCR test prior to participation.
If the student has travelled to the event with the team, the rapid test taken prior to departure will serve this purpose.
If the student does not test prior to departure, the student’s family will be responsible to provide separate transportation and accommodations.
All volunteer drivers and staff are subject to the SECPSD procedure of vaccination or proof of negative test. Parents driving their own children are not considered volunteers, however if any other child, not their own, is in the vehicle, they are then considered volunteers and must adhere to the SECPSD procedure.
Little said the changes and updates may create some confusion or concerns at first, but “it will become routine after we’ve gone through this a few times.”
The other administration updates and information items included band instruction that was added to the curriculum within the arts education department and the career development counselling program and the roles played by the participants. There were also minor changes regarding fundraising activities in the schools that were brought to the attention of the board members.