Safe Access to Education for Immune Compromised Families in Saskatchewan

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There have always been immune compromised families in Saskatchewan, and unfortunately these families have struggled within a system that is poorly equipped to allow their children to flourish and grow within the education system. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic the parents in families were already well-versed in isolation measures to protect their children or themselves. The reality that these individuals have had to live with is that something as simple as a fever or the common cold takes an incredible toll on their bodies and likely results hospitalization because their bodies are not equipped (because of genetics, disease, or treatment) to protect them. 

Parents of immune compromised children have lived through the trauma of helplessly watching their children fight for their lives in hospital and live with risk that their children will have to do that again. Immune compromised parents live daily with the threat of not watching their children grow up. Teachers who are immune compromised, or live with family who is immune compromised, have always risked their health by being in the classroom but their love for their students has kept them there. The reality of the COVID-19 pandemic is that these risks have increased exponentially. Based on the current plan, it is not safe for immune compromised individuals, or members of immune compromised families to return to the classroom this fall. 

Homeschooling is an option in terms of academic achievement, however it does not account for the strain on household resources or negative effects on mental health. At least one parent must engage in teaching duties and/or full-time parenting because it is not safe to have children in school/care outside of the home. And it does not account for vital social and emotional development of our children which can only happen in a classroom setting. 

We need an option that matches immune compromised teachers with immune compromised children. By having separate facilities for our vulnerable population they can benefit from a sense of normalcy as all parties within that bubble would be practicing the same social distancing/isolation measures. Additionally, our children would gain a community of similarly diagnosed peers who understand their unique struggles and their mental health would directly benefit. The entire population is living with the effects of 5 months of isolation, imagine how it feels when that is your entire life?

These issues will not go away if COVID-19 does. Compromised immunity is a reality for many members of our population, it was before COVID-19 and will continue to be for the rest of their lives. We need to do better for our children, they deserve a quality education not restricted to screens, they deserve to play and laugh with their friends in the same room. Our teachers deserve to work in a safe environment, all of them. 

Please sign this petition to support the allocation of financial resources from the government to inclusively support immune compromised families within the education system.