Correction: This version of the story has been updated to reflect that the 93 Nunavut teachers are presently outside the territory. The previous version of the story, due to inaccurate information provided by the Department of Education, contained an error.
Nunavut teachers are permitted, on a voluntary basis, to enter schools in order to start developing learning packages for students since yesterday.
The schools are not accessible to students. Only up to ten staff members can access the school at a time. While at the school, all staff must adhere to the physical distancing recommendations made by Dr. Michael Patterson.
“The primary objective is to put in place some continuity of learning plans and packages for students,” said Minister of Education David Joanaise.
Since March 17, all schools in the territory have been closed due to COVID-19 concerns.
On March 31, the Department of Education launched a website for students to continue learning while remaining at home. However recognizing that not all homes have internet access or computers, the school staff is now aiming to develop paper based continuity of learning packages. This requires teachers to access resources at schools.
All school staff are expected to return to work on April 21, 2020.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Joanaise revealed that 93 Nunavut teachers are presently out of the territory. This is about eight percent of all school staff in Nunavut.
Joanaise said, these teachers were advised on whether or not they should travel outside the territory amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ultimately however, the decision was left to the teachers, he said.
Now, all these teachers must undergo a mandatory 14 self-isolation period in the south before returning to Nunavut.
The Department of Education is currently working on bringing back the teachers from outside the territory while taking into the account this required self-isolation period.
Teachers who cannot return by April 21 are advised to contact their principal.
On April 21, Dr. Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer will announce whether schools will remain closed. If schools remain closed, teachers are expected to resume operations and develop continuity of learning plans for all students. Alternatively, if schools open, operations will resume as normal.
Regardless of Dr. Patterson’s decision, departmental exams for high school students have been cancelled until the end of June.