The availability of rapid antigen tests to schools, students and staff appears to be an advantage in keeping northern schools open.

While several school divisions in the province transition to remote learning due to school closures brought on by the Omicron variant, the Northern Lights School Division has been able to avoid wide-spread disruption.

“We saw some activity in the La Ronge area that was of concern, and continues to be a concern,” said Northern Lights School Division Director of Education Jason Young.

He explained that school officials are managing when COVID cases due arise in other communities.

“I think the piece we’ve added more so than we have in the past, we’ve got just more rapid tests available and more testing that’s readily available, and not having to go through determining whether someone has confirmed COVID and not you need to use a PCR test. What’s sufficient is knowing that on the rapid test, they’ve tested positive, and then reacting to that,” Young said.

Public Health Officials indicate that Omicron cases are on the rise in the North, but that the three Far North regions are not seeing an uptick in booster immunizations. Vaccination rates hover below 20 percent across the Far North.

Young said that schools are facing staffing shortages, but that they are managing quite well in keeping open.

People are encouraged to get vaccinated, monitor for symptoms and stay home if feeling unwell.