With many teachers unable to get vaccines despite eligibility, union pushes for remote learning in Saskatoon

The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation (STF) is continuing to call for increased measures in Saskatoon to slow the spread of COVID-19.

A little over a week ago, the STF called for Saskatoon and area schools to move to online learning to be proactive and prevent a rise in cases.

In a Saturday morning press release, STF president Patrick Maze says the rise in case numbers in Saskatoon and other areas is "precisely what we anticipated and feared."

Maze says teachers are having a difficult time securing a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

On Friday, the province opened up vaccine eligibility to those under 40 and some frontline workers including teachers.

“It is one thing to be eligible, it is another to have the shot and give it a chance to do its job. There are worrying signs the system is overloaded and not able to handle the influx.”

The federation says it contacted the health and education ministries on Friday and both have indicated they're working to address the issues.

The STF pointed to the increase in variant cases since its initial call for remote learning on April 22, when the total of variant cases identified in the Saskatoon area sat at 560.

As of Friday, there had been 765 cumulative cases identified in the area

“Parents, teachers and all school staff are exceptionally worried. If there’s evidence to support these decisions that hasn’t been made public, I urge government to share it to build public confidence and help everyone make informed decisions," Maze said.

Maze emphasizes remote learning isn't preferred by anyone but is the safest option until COVID-19 is under control.