Public schools in Saskatchewan closing amid coronavirus concerns

The Saskatchewan government is closing all public schools in the province as it deals with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

All pre-K-12 schools will close indefinitely starting March 20.

The criteria include evidence of sustained transmission within the community, a rapid increase in local cases and transmission without a known link to travel or confirmed cases.

Officials said there continues to be no evidence that any of the criteria have been met and children remaining in school during the wind-down period face a low risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Teachers and other staff will work from home during the school closures, government officials said.

Education officials said they will work with school divisions and teachers to implement a supplemental curriculum program through distance and alternative learning measures.

They added this will have no impact on final grades; instead officials said it will ensure students who want to continue to learn have the resources to do so.

To date, there has been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan and five presumptive cases.

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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