The Northern Lights School Division said it is prepared to pivot its learning structure if needed as the Omicron variant becomes the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the province.

“We know that as the transmissible variant Omicron becomes dominant in our province, we are likely to see increases to the number of cases in schools,” stated a letter. “If changes are needed, our division is prepared to move quickly. This may include moving classes to remote learning temporarily or cancelling extracurricular activities.”

Wednesday, Education Minister Dustin Duncan committed to keeping in-person instruction going, as several other provinces have delayed school as new Omicron cases surge. 

He said he consulted with school boards and other stakeholders about the possibility of postponing the start classes.

“We know that in person education is important. And moving to extended absences or remote learning extended periods of time away from our students, their social networks, that is not consequence free,” explained Duncan. “There was certainly no interest that was expressed to extend the holiday break, whether that be two days or a week, I don’t think that there was a lot of value that was seen by those groups.”

Duncan said 250,000 rapid tests are being deployed to Saskatchewan schools. He is encouraging families to test once a week, get vaccinated and stay home if you are sick. Families are asked to self-report positive infections to schools, so classes can notify close contacts in classrooms.

The Northern Lights School Division is offering online learning options for students in K-12.