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Nunavut schools will not reopen

All schools in Nunavut will remain closed to students for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.

This decision has been supported by Nunavut’s chief public health officer, announced Minister of Education David Joanasie at today’s press conference.

Teachers are expected to start work on April 21 regardless of the school being closed for the rest of the school year, says Minister of Education David Joanasie. Rajnesh Sharma/NNSL photo

Teachers are expected to start work on April 21, regardless of the schools being closed.

There are presently 93 teachers in the south, who need to self-isolate for 14-days before returning to the territory.

On April 14, Health Minister George Hickes said 24 or 25 teachers have either started their isolation or have registered in GN designated hotels down south.

Teachers will be developing learning packages for students. These learning packages will take many forms including paper-based, activity-based and electronic-based. The purpose of these learning packages is to provide students with an opportunity to further develop their learning, explained Joanasie.

The Department of Education has developed guidelines to help teachers prepare student learning packages, assured Joanaise. For kindergarten to grade nine students, the packages will reflect materials that focus on literacy and numeracy, he explained.

For high school students, the educational needs of each student will be assessed individually. In order to graduate some students will need to complete specific courses, while others may have already completed the required courses, explained Joanaise. Teachers may provide opportunities for students to earn credits or upgrade their marks through suggested projects and assignments.

Activities that allow families to learn together, such as: reading, journal writing and creative projects; will be encouraged by teachers, said Joanaise.

Minister of Education said, his department is aware that some families may not receive the student learning packages since they are on the land. In this case, the department encourages families to engage in land-based activities like hunting and fishing to complement student learning.

Beyond creating student learning packages, teachers will be asked to check in with students weekly. This will allow teachers to track students' progress and provide them with any extra resources, said Joanasie.

Based on the needs of students and families, teachers could potentially communicate with them through phone, text, online portals or GN email.

Additionally, teaching staff will be responsible to evaluate their students’ work prior to the school closure. This means providing students with final grades and year-end report cards.

All departmental exams are cancelled for high school students, said Joanasie.

“For those Grade 12 students on track to graduate, I want to assure you that principals and teachers will work with you to ensure you complete any necessary requirements. We are here to help you succeed and realize your goals," he said.

Due to the uncertainty of Covid-19, school staff will also be expected to plan and prepare for the 2020-21 school year, informed Joanaise.

“For school staff who have voluntarily returned to work and have already been preparing learning packages, many students and families recognize your hard work and expressed their appreciation,” said Joanasie.

“Thank you for your efforts and commitment to Nunavut’s students.”