November 2020: A Note From Tony

Hello Prairie South Friends, 

I will be sending a communication for parents either tomorrow or Monday so wanted to get this to you tonight so that you had some information in advance.   

The City of Moose Jaw has seen an increase in positive cases of COVID-19 over the past several days.  Prairie South has had 15 people who are either students or staff members test positive since early October, with 14 of these cases coming from schools in Moose Jaw.  Our process with Public Health has worked very well in each case, and contact tracing has gone smoothly.  This is an important part of our plan, because the results of contact tracing shed light on whether our work to reduce risk for students and staff has been effective. 

To this point, we have done a very good job of keeping each other safe from COVID-19.    In spite of the increased cases in our schools, we know that only one person has had the virus transmitted at school, and that this transmission only happened after close 1-on-1 interactions with an unmasked student.  This means that our cleaning processes have worked perfectly and may mean that our mask protocol is making a difference.  Thank you to the staff and students who are ensuring that personal spaces and high-touch surfaces are wiped frequently.  Our Medical Health Officers, Dr. Medu and Dr. Tabien, have re-confirmed the importance of hand washing and coughing etiquette as well as mask use for older students in congested situations.  We are working with them to see if we need to make an adjustment to our mask protocol moving forward, and should know more about that next week. 

Today I am requesting that each of you do some thinking about how you can be a leader in your communities related to COVID-19.  With 1400 staff in total, Prairie South has a very significant footprint in South Central Saskatchewan.  If we put our collective minds to it, we will be able to help people understand that simple things will continue to make the difference, and that these things are as important in Mankota as they are in Moose Jaw, because people will get sick there too eventually.  This doesn’t require anything flashy – it just requires well-informed people to take the virus seriously and influence the population in general to do the same.   

My sister-in-law’s dad, Ron Mackay,  was one of the first people who died of COVID in Saskatchewan.  Ron was elderly but otherwise healthy, and he was in the hospital only a few days before he died.  When I go to the grocery store, I see lots of people who look older or more frail than Ron did – some of them are related to some of you.  Let’s do this work together so that other families don’t suffer the same loss. 

If you are struggling, please reach out to your principal, to one of the Superintendent staff or to me.  We won’t be able to solve every problem but we care about each student and staff member in Prairie South.  We’re going to be okay.   

See you soon, 

Tony

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