The Government of Nunavut made the “right call” by putting people’s health first and closing schools and daycares throughout Nunavut, says Bill Fennell, president of the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU).

Putting children and workers’ health first “was the right thing to do for Nunavut,” union president Bill Fennell says in regards to closing schools and daycares.
photo courtesy of the NEU

“Until now, the daily lives of most people in Nunavut had not been impacted by this serious situation and people may have been tempted to feel a false sense of security,” Fennell stated. “This is why the GN’s decision to put the health and potential safety of Nunavut’s children and those that work in the schools and daycares ahead of other considerations was the right thing to do for Nunavut.”

The GN announced on Monday that schools and daycares would shut down for three weeks.

The NEU, which represents close to 4,900 territorial workers, has fielded numerous inquiries from GN employees wondering how their workplaces will be affected by COVID-19, according to Fennell.

“The NEU understands that there may be other precautions and decisions that the GN will have to make as they continue to monitor and react to this changing and serious situation,” he said. “These decisions will impact people’s daily lives and work. We will continue to offer our support to our members and ask our members to look out for their neighbours and family who may be impacted by any shutdowns or interruptions to their jobs and workplaces.”

Although the NEU offices in Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet remain open, the union requests that members call or email instead of stopping by the office to limit chances of transmitting the virus.

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