Teachers not in Nunavut need to come back to ensure learning continues, minister says

93 school staff outside the territory ordered to come back by April 21

David Joanasie, minister of education, speaks at a daily press conference on Wednesday, April 8. Joanasie told reporters that all school staff outside the territory must return by April 21. The territory’s chief public health officer will determine when it is safe for students to go back to school, Joanasie said. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Emma Tranter

Nunavut’s education minister is clarifying his department’s decision to order all school staff currently out of the territory to return to Nunavut.

Speaking at a daily press conference on Wednesday, April 8, David Joanasie told reporters that schools in the territory would only reopen on the recommendation of Nunavut’s chief public health officer.

“Yesterday the Department of Education sent a letter to all school staff about returning to work in their home communities on April 21. It is for staff only,” Joanasie said.

That letter ordered all school staff to return to their home communities by April 21.

“This is a mandatory return-to-work date,” the letter said.

Premier Joe Savikataaq said he had received “several calls and messages” about whether students would also return to school on April 21.

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“This has not been decided. Dr. Patterson will determine in the coming days and weeks if the closure will be extended or not,” Savikataaq said.

“We need our staff back at work by April 21 to prepare for our students’ success and focus and next steps in their learning journey,” Joanasie said.

There are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut. As of April 8, 369 people have been tested, while 114 have been cleared and 255 are still under investigation.

Right now, 93 Nunavut school staff are outside the territory, Joanasie said.

To come back, Nunavut school staff need to follow the same isolation requirements as other residents returning to the territory. That means a 14-day quarantine period in one of four hotels designated by the GN before flying back.

“Our students deserve the same support and this is why we are asking teachers to work during this time. Teachers returning to work will focus on supporting students in their education and well-being by developing learning packages. This is particularly important for students that do not have access to online resources and those who are on specialized learning plans,” Joanasie said.

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Like other residents returning to Nunavut, school staff will have to pay for their airfare. The cost of food and accommodation while in one of the hotels in the south is covered by the GN.

Joanasie said during the COVID-19 pandemic, all GN staff are expected to work from within the territory, including teachers.

“This is so that they can develop and prepare continuity of learning plans in the case that the school closure is extended,” Joanasie said.

“We will address any requests from staff who currently are out of the territory to work remotely on a case-by-case basis.”

Joanasie said there are several reasons why school staff may have left the territory during school closures, including medical travel or vacation.

“Given the situation, there were recommendations when the original closures were announced that non-essential travel be limited. There were strong recommendations not to leave…. There’s some staff that left during the spring break or various other personal reasons, I can’t speak for them. Learning still has to continue in either case,” he said.

“The Department of Education has been in continuous contact with the Nunavut Teachers Association and the Coalition of Nunavut DEAs. They both support the decision to bring teachers back to work to ensure that students can continue to learn and are supported during school closures,” he added.

Health Minister George Hickes echoed Joanasie’s comments, and urged Nunavummiut to welcome teachers back into their communities.

“These teachers are residents of Nunavut as well. We’re at the tail end of a two-week mandatory isolation period for a number of residents that are coming home,” Hickes said.

This weekend, the first flights carrying Nunavut residents who have completed the mandatory 14-day isolation period in the south will land in the territory.

“I really don’t want communities to feel that these people are not welcome,” Hickes said.

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(68) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sh*tdisturbing on

    So a GN staffer leaked a letter? The results caused misconceptions.

    • Posted by Ed Snow on

      All GN emails and documents are subject to access to information requests… Sometimes getting information out their and keeping the government accountable is a good thing. The GN only does the right thing when they are publicly embarrassed

  2. Posted by You don’t know teachers. on

    If you know a teacher they aren’t just sitting around. Working from home is what teachers do best. The teach all day and most days they quickly eat dinner and are back at planning and putting together resources and material for the following lessons. They are still doing this in the south and can work remotely from anywhere.

    Why pay for a forced quarantine in a hotel and providing food to get all the teachers back just to cancel the school year.

    The implication that they are not working and other GN works have to work from home is silly. How productive are other GN employees working from home?

    • Posted by Thank you on

      Think you for point this out – teachers are currently at home planning and trying to make activities and lessons for students. Working remotely SHOULD be the protocol as it is safest, and this can be done from anywhere. Schools should not be open for staff OR students. Being precautions and prepared for the global pandemic happening everywhere else in the world is what makes sense right now. Enforcing unnecessary travel does not make sense right now. Teachers are willing to continue to work from home. WORK from home.

      Hoping common sense will kick in soon, or someone with it will step in.

      • Posted by Northern Guy on

        Sorry but in this case “home” means the community in which the teacher was hired, and that means coming back. Teachers are collecting a publicly funded paycheque and their employer has every right to demand that they return to work.

        • Posted by Sloane on

          I think it is far too dangerous to bring them back. However, I do think that the teachers who left knowing they were not supposed to (not the ones who left on break or for medical) should not be paid for the time they have not been here. Also, put me in a hotel for 2 weeks and pay for my food! They should also have to foot their own bill for this. The rest of us stayed because we were told to.

          • Posted by You’re not understanding on

            Yes but them telling us to stay was not ethical. People have the right to feel safe, and in a pandemic.. many people feel more safe near fully functioning hospitals. We need to realize that even though the department may legally have the right to make decisions, it is not necessarily the right or ethical decision.

          • Posted by No One in My World Was Told Anything on

            You might have been told, many weren’t.

            Unless you can produce an email or a memo ‘telling’ people to stay, then this opinion doesn’t mean much.

        • Posted by Not even true on

          That is absolutely incorrect, you should know your facts before posting on public forums. And if you state this, you better understand that you’re talking about a huge number of GN employees (not just teachers) going south, to their families for years, every holiday. Don’t make uneducated comments. This is not what the issue is.

  3. Posted by Young Trapper on

    The minister should have better insights to how teachers really work since his wife was one….

    Every spouse of a teacher know how much work teachers do at home and continue to do at home during these crazy times

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      I can’t help but notice a striking resemblance between what Joanasie is saying now and what the big Orange Cheeto Mascot was saying about how the American economy was “raring to go” by Easter. I know people from Nunavut like to make fun of people from the South — but feel free to get a good look at your own leaders first. When is the GN going to understand that this is a pandemic? Read a book for crying out loud

  4. Posted by Open your eyes on

    You are very concern about kids education mister minister well i’am living in Nunavut since 20 years now and I never seen any kids learning anything at scholl except make few draws and calling geese and destroy things around town be realist please and keep us safe from south.

  5. Posted by Paula on

    I don’t know if this is new math or something but last time I checked 8 (April 8) + 14 days quarantine = 22. I might add that there needs to be 2 days added (by the Health Medical Office)to the 14 days quarantine to ensure paper work is completed. So really the earliest they could return is April 24th ..IF THEY FLEW OUT ON APRIL 8th.

    I would also mention the extraordinary cost of this action. ..93 teachers meals, hotels, laundry services during their quarantine .. so they can return work in isolation in their community.

    I would also stress that even if they are quarantined…this system is NOT foolproof…. common elevators, interaction with staff who are out in the community on their off hours etc.

    I believe this is an unnecessary risk to a Territory that has NO cases!

    • Posted by MRS Math on

      Great commentary on the state of the education system

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      I chuckled a little at this when I read the first article because I did the math in my head and calculated that the teachers would have had to have been in the southern gateway city & hotel the date of the Minister’s speech. I guess that teachers need to be clairvoyant.
      Of course this is no different than the City of Iqaluit announcing that the property tax deadline would be delayed, issuing the announcement days after the deadline.
      Not to shame Iqaluit, the City of Ottawa did exactly the same thing, announcing a week after the first installment was due (and subject to immediate interest as is their policy), that the property tax deadline would be delayed. So of course this did not benefit the people who were on time, only those who were going to be late anyways. Since Ottawa has two payments, an interim and final payment homeowners need to budget for this well in advance.

  6. Posted by Bricked up on

    A letter came to all teachers through the NTA yesterday that would seem to contradict some of this. Learning packages can be prepared, but they wont be for marks, and wont further curriculum. They are to provide opportunities for continued learning. Further, they cant be handed in and teachers cant hand anything out. Marks will be based on a March 16 moment in time. Teachers also cannot gather a space with more than 10 people. So what a lovely two more months of school playing on youtube and reading from inside the classroom. Perhaps i just misread the letter, or perhaps a new one came out. Right now the school admin process is subservient to the union and they seem to be the only communication with the gn about what teachers are all supposesd to be doing, Did we not used to have a Rso? Not that they did much, but i bet their feelings are hurt by how unimportant they really are.

  7. Posted by ItOnlyTakesOne on

    A better headline: “GN risks thousands of lives while having no plan to ensure continual learning”

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      The higher-ups in education have zero comprehension of the fact that their mandates are not important during the worst pandemic in over 100 years. Public health is first and education is now a distant second until we get this under control. They are some of the last people who can be trusted to make responsible decisions in a global health crisis.

  8. Posted by Hello on

    Not everyone left NU when the GN’s announcement for non-essential travel was made. This global pandemic has escalated. Staff are able to (and continue) to work from their remote locations in the South as they’re not willing to risk getting sick and passing it to others. Now the GN wants to use their sick days if they’re not in NU reporting for work April 21? That’s just wrong.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Nope, every other employee in Nunavut lucky enough to still have a job is expected to work remotely from within the territory. Teachers are no different they are under a contract of employment here not B.C. or Nova Scotia or Ontario. If you want to remain employed here get back here and report for work.

      • Posted by No Moniker on

        Your angry posts about teachers following the “rules” betray a very simplistic mindset. Are you so oblivious to the risks involved here? Weighed against the perceived benefits of this action, I would argue there are very, very few. If it is possible for you, I would encourage a moment to reflect on what is really at stake in this.
        Consider it this way, the Chief Medical officer has ordered that all non-essential travel into the territory be halted. This is non-essential travel. There is nothing these teachers will be doing when they come back that could not be done remotely. The risk to their lives alone is enough to give us pause, add to that the risk to our communities, which is literally explosive. If so, it makes one wonder why has he reversed course on this? My guess: political pressure. If this backfires on us Mr. Patterson, it will sadly be a well-deserved disgrace to you, and you will never recover from the consequences. For now I say shame on you for even taking this risk.
        Against that back drop listening to ‘NorthernGuy’ pound the earth over “following the rules” is truly a sad and pathetic exercise in what small mindedness looks like. Gleaning from your comments, I am going to guess that the driving force behind your animus is really just jealously and resentment toward teachers. A general kind of feeling that seems to have blinded a lot of people in these comments from truly consider what is happening here.
        Get help, read a book or something. Please.

      • Posted by Can of Worms on

        Only partially correct, the message that was transmitted to employees varied very widely from department to department. The Ed Dept was a mess, much more confused than most. They were told to stay away for two weeks, other departments stayed in session for a couple of days longer and had time to put in place work plans, etc. The Dept of Ed never did this before telling people to work remotely.

        In my department, the location for working remotely was never defined. That is what everything is going to hinge on, and the lawyers will have a field day if it comes down to it.

        When the question was asked about where to work from, the answer from management was the only requirement is to be contactable during business hours, and to ‘try’ to be somewhere with good enough internet to do your job.

        I know of a number of GN employees and contractors who are outside of the territory and effectively doing their jobs, and no one knows that they are even gone.

        It is a legal can of worms, but no teacher has yet done anything to justify dismissal. As said above, if they aren’t back on the date specified, or haven’t taken all reasonable steps to be back at that time then the GN can start looking at dismissal, until then, what grounds would they use for dismissal?

  9. Posted by Anonymous on

    Totally outrageous of Minister of Education to order teachers to return to Nunavut, no common sense! The teachers that are returning up north, they will need to be tested for COVID-19 -what if some have symptoms, then what? I have read on social media of parents/families who are concern about teachers coming back up north risking Nunavutmiut’s health – I feel their emotions and anger. The Premier is no angel either, is he supporting the Education Minister, can he not see that Nunavutmiut to date has no case of COVID-19?

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      It is my understanding that all returning teachers will be tested upon their arrival for 14 days self isolation. If they test positive they won’t be allowed to enter the territory. If they don’t then they are no different than anyone else who has been south and returned.

      • Posted by BS Alert on

        It is “your understanding” that they will be tested, where did you come to this “understanding” from, Northern Guy? Did you divine it from some tea leaves or, was it some other mystic source ?

        • Posted by Northern Guy on

          Ummm maybe because the GN says that they will be tested
          “The Government of Nunavut says that residents who have been in isolation will be rigorously tested before they get approval to return” or is that not good enough for you?

      • Posted by Magiting on

        People returning to Nunavut are quarantined in the South. They are neither required to do 14 days isolation nor are they tested on arrival.

        They cannot realistically start the 21st since they would have had to start their isolation two days ago. Add to that the fact that ANYONE going through Southern airports can still be exposed between leaving the hotel and getting to the departure gate.

        Planning and providing school materials can be done remotely. It is being done all across Canada and the world. At the very most, school materials that need to be printed can be sent to the schools via email, printed and picked up by parents.

        Be very very careful, Nunavut. You are treading on thin ice… pun intended.

  10. Posted by According to yesterday’s painful daily update!! on

    While the minister was fumbling around, mumbling and intentionally going off topic: he said that photocopying is one of the reasons that teachers physically need to be in their communities. It was hard to watch. Maybe Patterson will shed some light on this today as he was conveniently absent yesterday. Is it possible they want teachers here now, so they will remain here until November. Some projections have society returning to near normalcy at this time. One thing is for sure… those teachers who return will be like the ones who did not leave – kissing goodbye to their summer plans. Let’s get teachers back here… have them walled up in their crappy apartments so they can run out of water every couple of days in the event this extends into the next school year. We have fantastic leadership! I feel bad for those who tried to connect with their regional school operations and got the usual response of silence. Supers, Exec Dirs, HR depts, well… the whole RSO offices are downright ugly when it comes to communicating whether or not leave is approved. So… I wouldn’t place all the blame on teachers who left. Some of them did so, because the Regional offices couldn’t or refused to correspond. Perhaps, their duty travel should be regulated if they can’t follow out simple, yet quite important functions like clicking reply on an email.

    • Posted by Concerned on

      It was so hard to watch the Minister respond to our concerns. I’m saddened and disheartened, this is the leader responsible for the education of our children. Seriously, the best you could come up with is ‘photocopying’? Is this all you expect of those highly educated teachers? Shame on you and the GN, our kids deserve better!

    • Posted by Cam Bay Resident on

      I 100% agree with you that watching the minister of education was and is pretty sad.
      But let’s talk here, plain and simple, the safest place on this planet before the March break was right here in Nunavut. So teachers can’t bit** and complain saying they were scared for their health so they run and fly into the hot zones. If they’re so damn smart, then why the f* you run into the fire. Give your heads a shake you fully educated teachers.
      Since the CMO put in the hard rules, I still believe the safest place on the planet is right here in Nunavut.
      Quit whining and moaning and either quit or come back and support the students that you signed on the dotted line to teach. Quit f in saying kids don’t even want to learn and kids are destructive. There are bad apples, sure. We have kids that want to learn too, so smarten the f up and quit complaining because you have to leave the luxury of the city to come back to the safest place on planet earth.

      • Posted by The Old Trapper on

        You are under the mistaken impression that Nunavut, because of its isolation, is “safe”. It is only “safe” as long as the virus is kept at bay.
        If the virus does get into Nunavut you will probably wish that you were in northern Italy where the virus killed only 10-12% of the people it infected.
        There are currently no therapeutics drugs to treat Covid-19. There is no vaccine to protect you from catching this virus. It kills a high percentage of people over 60, or with pre-existing conditions, such as respiratory issues, diabetes, etc. There is no herd immunity.
        You are not safe, and won’t be until there is a vaccine.

      • Posted by Good Money on

        Well, they’ve had the first death among the Yamomani in Brazil, some of the most isolated people on earth. If it is there, I’d bet good money that it is in Nunavut, but just not identified yet.

  11. Posted by Arctic Migrant on

    It’s funny to me how everyone was up in arms when this thing started, and wanted to get all the post-secondary students back to Nunavut asap.

    Those students – who live in the south – had to do the same 14-day quarantine that the teachers are being asked to undertake so that they can return to work.

    Where was the same outcry of “don’t let them in” a few weeks ago? Right, there was none.

    Strange double-standard.

    • Posted by babysitters on

      it’s different when you want your older kids home cause now you are stuck with all the younger ones at home

    • Posted by Insider/Outsider on

      That Nunavut xenophobia showing through. You know, the students ‘belong’ here, most of the teachers are ‘outsiders’ and don’t.

      One of the most distasteful things about Nunavut society.

      Though to be fair, the knowledge of asymptomatic carriers is much stronger now than it was even two weeks ago.

  12. Posted by Sloane on

    Why? Why are you doing this? It is far too dangerous to have the students return, but not the teachers? Thank you so much for showing how much you value our services. We value your children. We teach them right from wrong. If we were in school, I would be teaching that this decision is wrong. You will put us in dirty schools, to prepare learning packages with supplies we don’t have, to “send” to students who won’t even do them? Again, I ask why? Is it really worth the risk to your elders, to your entire community? I don’t think so. Dr. Tam keeps repeating we have to protect those most at risk. Is there anyone more at risk than an Inuit elder? I don’t think so. Hey, Prime Minister Trudeau, are you aware of this plan? Perhaps you would like to intervene to prevent these lovely people from dying due to some poorly made decisions.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Because you are being paid to work in Nunavut. If you dont like the terms of your employment then you are free to resign and find work elsewhere. The taxpayers of Nunavut arent paying your salary so that you can not work at whatever destination you decided to skedaddle to when this broke out.

      • Posted by GN employees on

        Many GN employees have also left the Territory as they feel that if the virus gets in the medical system here wont be able to meet the needs. We should have stats on all departments its easy to blame teacher but there are lots of other GN employees who are gone.

        7 ventilators here vs how many in the south….

      • Posted by Unreal on

        Northern Guy your black and white attitude is truly pathetic, the world is obviously too complex a place for such a small mind.

      • Posted by Sloane on

        The most important issue here is the safety of the Inuit. Bringing back teachers who have gone South is irresponsible. Dock their pay if you are so concerned about the money. I would. The government shouldn’t foot the bill for people who left against orders, and again, I don’t mean people who left on break or due to medical. We cannot lose sight of the fact that this virus will decimate the Inuit population if/when it gets here. Let’s stand together to protect those that are most at risk.

        • Posted by Togetherness on

          What a racist comment. It’s hardly a time for tribalism, when the folks at the health centre who are putting their lives on the line for you are mostly not of your chosen race.

        • Posted by Let’s see it on

          Sloane, you say “The government shouldn’t foot the bill for people who left against orders”…
          Please tell us where, when and the content of these “orders” that you are talking about. I don’t believe they exist. In fact I believe you made the whole idea up in your head just to “win” the point. If I’m wrong then show me, I would hate to see you proved a liar.

        • Posted by Health for All on

          Racist much bud?

          The most important thing is the health of Nunavummiut, which includes all, regardless of ethnicity.

          As for orders…you won’t be able to produce them as they don’t exist.

      • Posted by Common Sense Must Prevail on

        There are other avenues to argue your case from, but you are in for a rude and sober awakening if you are arguing the point from the perspective of taxpayer money.

        The Government of Nunavut operates on an annual budget of 2.35 billion dollars a year, of which 1.84 billion is sourced directly from Federal transfers. Nunavut’s budget accounts for this and I quote: “The TTF is an annual unconditional payment that recognizes territories, with our small economies and tax bases, are not able to raise enough revenue on our own to provide public services comparable to elsewhere in Canada.” When we discuss public services, healthcare and education are (and should be) prioritized.

        It is outlandish that this is being discussed as anything other than a matter of public or personal health.

        It should not be argued in terms of economics, for both reasons of principle and reasons of practicality: for if the Canadian Federal Government stopped bankrolling Nunavut today, Nunavut would collapse tomorrow.

        Northern Guy, if you are seeking to win the argument, don’t pull Nunavut taxpayer money as a pillar for your point. Looking at the budget, your point does not stand.

        • Posted by Northern Guy on

          Where do you think the money for TFF comes from? It is federal money derived from Canadian taxpayers! There is no magical money tree situated in a basement at the department of finance that grows Nunavut’s transfer payment. Whether you like it or not teachers are public servants whose salary is derived from tax dollars.

  13. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    We’ve already had Dumb & Dumber.
    Now we have Dumbest.

  14. Posted by Entitled on

    All these comments have pointed out the vocal teachers seem like they’re entitled to this and that. Like everyone else, they should’ve thought this through before travelling south.
    No one else gets the whole summer off which is likely twice the number of leave days than everyone else.
    It states just to be back in the communities, be on call to plan and prepare for what may be required of their services.

    • Posted by My Hunch on

      I’ve come to the opinion that people who complain about the ‘entitlement’ of others are often deeply jealous and resentful towards people whom they feel have a more fulfilling career and life then they do.
      Do you think that might be an accurate assessment?

  15. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    From a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Technical Report (link at bottom);
    “Prolonged viral shedding from nasopharyngeal aspirates up to at least 24 days after symptom onset was reported among COVID-19 patients in Singapore.”
    “Potential transmission from asymptomatic persons has been reported. Bai et al. 2020 report a familial cluster of five COVID-19 patients hospitalised with fever and respiratory symptoms that had contact before onset of symptoms with an asymptomatic family member, a young 20-year old woman, after her return from Wuhan. She remained asymptomatic for the entire duration of laboratory and clinical monitoring (19 days)[9].”
    Mr. Minister, the above is called “Science”, I suggest that you listen to the scientists and the medical professionals, and err on the side of caution. Sure a 14 day quarantine “may” do the job, but what are the consequences if it doesn’t?

    link: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19-Discharge-criteria.pdf

  16. Posted by Putuguk on

    The pandemic has been very effective in exposing the weaknesses that exist in the structures of societies across the world. For us, food security, housing shortages, existing health conditions, the state of our health system, all these things heighten the danger of even having one confirmed case up here.

    The same can be said of our Education system. Today, it is very common for employers to invest in online staff resources, VPN systems, dedicated employee portals, online databases and such that allow an employee to be constructive no matter where they are, as long as they can get online. It is the 21st Century!

    This does not seem to be the case with our schools where they have been seen to struggle to even have printed versions of report cards available at times.

    “Prepare for Student Success and focus on their learning journey” is teacher code for planning and gathering resources. That can be done online.

    It seems to me that almost every year there are public announcements on funding and dedicated bandwidth being set aside for e-learning and education up here. What the heck have the education officials been doing with these resources all this time?

    Lets face it. The reason they need the teachers physically up here is that they have not made the effort to put systems in place to allow their workforce to be effective in a modern age.

    • Posted by No Infrastructure on

      THe ‘hard’ infrastructure does not exist, let along the trained personnel.

      We would need more satellites launched, or fibre cable run everywhere already in order to do this. There are not enough computers or modems in the territory to outfit every student, and this is not the time to be trying to find them and distribute. Who is going to pay the bill for the modem fees? From which budget?

      At least elsewhere in the north, they have fibre optic to most places. We don’t have that, and won’t for years. There will be no new satellite bandwidth in any meaningful time-frame, so these solutions that work elsewhere in the country won’t fly here.

  17. Posted by Concerned Inuk on

    This is the 21st century, email student packages to parents and parents can print out. As for ppl who can’t print out, make a list of who can’t print out and print out for them.

  18. Posted by Maria on

    I can’t believe the utter lack of common sense the Dept. of Education has shown. At the time that schools closed there was no travel ban in NU so why does the GN think it’s ok to punish teachers by forcing them to return to communities where everyone is not following social distancing protocols and the health care system will crumble if there is an outbreak? Can GN guarantee that teachers will be safe if they return to their communities? Can they guarantee that none of them will catch covid and pass it on to their community members? And for what? To photocopy stacks of worksheets that kids aren’t going to do anyway? Education in Nunavut is a joke and the only thing keeping it from falling apart completely are teachers who show up and do their jobs in a dysfunctional system. The GN has made more than clear that they don’t care about their teachers’ safety but somehow the minister of education never wastes an opportunity to complain about teacher shortages. Smfh.

    • Posted by Filthy NU? on

      Are you saying Nunavut is filthy and does not meet the conditions of the over-glorified teachers?
      Their specialty is teaching kids to learn, that doesn’t come with how bureaucracy actually works and doing the humongous jobs of done by the municipalities to run the communities to name a few.

      • Posted by Filthy? No…Clean? No. on

        Yes, schools and public facilities in general (particularly outside of Iqaluit/Rankin/Cam) are quite a bit dirtier than what you would normally expect elsewhere in Canada. This is not a criticism, but just an observation. Conditions are tough, the machinery for cleaning is rare, and many of the cleaning staff are not fully trained and have high turnover.

    • Posted by Putuguk on

      I disagree strongly that the education system in Nunavut is a joke. If a student takes full advantage of schooling up here, they will be as prepared, (if not more so), for adult life including post secondary education as southern students, depending on the province. What is a joke up here is the level of parental and community buy in. When school was cancelled in my community, my child received a multi subject home work package that we have been working through at a rate of 2-3 hours a day. If other parents and students are not doing this, it is 100% on them, not the schools or the teachers. Very happy we got this homework package and that the end of the school year is not a total waste. If they could continue making these packages, I would very much welcome this. The main point is, any local staff or casual already here can sit by the copier and make these packages and deliver them around town. The packages should be able to be generated anywhere in the world a teacher happens to be electronically and sent in. It should be possible to get what the Dept of Ed wants done without exposing anybody to undue covid risk.

  19. Posted by King djoser on

    Any teacher that left should be asked NOT TO COME BACK. Especially that one principle who has been off work for a year or more out of territory and i think was still collecting cheques. Why is nunavut even teaching our own people to be teachers if almost 100 of em took off? Just leave them in the south and replace them all with locals, who cares if they arent trained, most of em know how to follow the same stuff teachers do year after year after year. Just leave them there and replace with inuit.

  20. Posted by natsiq on

    For those teachers who are still in Nunavut, will we have to prepare work packages for people who left? I urged colleagues not to just leave for 2-3 weeks, as the situation was evolving. Even if other provinces were ‘cancelling the school year’. I urged them to just wait and see what happens: if the whole school year was called off, leaving would make sense. There was always a strung chance that school staff would be recalled, even if the schools did not reopen to students for the rest of the school year.
    I do think that people are overreacting some, about not wanting those school employees who went south to return to communities. They will be going through the same quarantine period as those who are out on medical travel. People are making huge assumptions that those school staff who travelled south, have not been practicing isolating, frequent hand washing, etc.
    I have a few family members in the south that are in high risk groups and have little supports. I am very worried about them. If something develops with one of them, I may have to leave.

    • Posted by Wondering on

      What do you base your assessment that people are overreacting on? My opinion is very different so I’m curious about the metrics you use.

      • Posted by Overreaction? on

        Why are teachers returning form the south who will undergo the 14 day quarantine in a supervised location any more of a threat than people who are returning from ‘medical’ having also undergone the 14 day hotel quarantine? Why single out returning GN employees who work in schools? That’s my point.
        I’d actually like to see it being a little longer than 14 days. On day 14 I’d like everyone to get tested (again?) for COVID19. As soon as those results comeback (which will mean more time in the hotel) & are clear get those people on a plane heading north.
        School staff who went south should be returning to their communities as soon as they have undergone the 14 day supervised quarantine..
        The ‘essential’ workers who don’t undergo a 14 day supervised quarantine before flying into the territory are far more of a concern.

  21. Posted by Call a spade a spade on

    It’s time to call a spade a spade – the decision is stemming from control, not concern or safety.

    They know teachers can successfully teach remotely.
    They know it’s happening successfully across the country.
    They know they are going against the Prime Minister’s cry to stay put.
    They know this could very well cause the virus to spread into small communities.

    They know all of this.

    When it all comes down to it.. it’s about control that the department has somehow thought they lost from the teachers who left, and they want that control back. These are teachers who deemed it necessary to go back to more resources and family during a very scary time that no one could have predicted. Of course one’s health is the most important thing and no one should be shamed for this so let’s get past this finger pointing please.
    Let’s focus on the Real issue before it wipes us all out. -The territory as a whole, how to keep this virus from spreading to our small communities with limited health care.
    It is scary, and the proper actions need to be taken before people start having to choose who lives and dies.

    Big picture: This decision is unethical. They’re not thinking of their people. They’re using education as a shield for their reckless decision. But the education issue has already been solved with remote Teaching.

    Students are currently learning as teachers have already been working remotely from wherever they are – this issue is no longer and issue. Kids are learning. And if your community has not received learning material for kids, this is a separate issue.

    It’s time to focus on the real issue.

  22. Posted by Concerned Nunavut resident on

    First stop all flights from community to community, cancelled all appointments that were scheduled in the south now I think they are making a big mistake by flying in southerners back to Nunavut! Too soon! BIG mistake! Our territory is the only one on that board that keeps rising numbers & we would like to keep it that way. Our health facilities aren’t big enough to take in alot of people with some communities with only 2 or 3 nurses. Let’s keep Nunavut free from the virus!

  23. Posted by Worried on

    I work in a school. I’ve been keeping my child home. He hasn’t visited with his friends or cousins. I have to go to work at the school on April21. I heard that there might be a limit on maybe half the staff being in at the school at a time. I’ve very worried about being back in the school. A lot of the people didn’t do distancing and staying home. I actually think there might be more hanging around and visiting then before the COVID closing things for NU. I don’t want to be in a building with people who haven’t been serious about this: doing their own visiting or who live with their kids who have been hanging around. This will not be a safe work place situation.

    • Posted by Don’t go in on

      A) get a note from your doctor
      B) contact your union
      C) don’t show up… AWOLs don’t get addressed anymore by RSOs in NU anyways
      D) contact your MLA
      E) Ask the Minister of Ed… maybe Hickes will have to answer for him though

      • Posted by Worried on

        “Don’t go in”: where are you?
        There are no doctors in this community. What kind of note would a doctor write me: I don’t have any symptoms of the virus.
        I did call the union.
        Your AWOL information: where did you get it from? Because they have been addressing them. And I think with these 90+ people being out of the territory there will be a magnifying glass on AWOLs and doctor notes.

  24. Posted by Gordon Kukkuvak on

    looks like some teachers are getting back to Nunavut already in other communities what is going on pretty screwed up in Nunavut Justice system probably not even 14 day quarantine as well is our politicians from Nunavut got there head screwed on right or is there something more serious going on with government of Canada?

  25. Posted by Just so Stupid on

    Wouldn’t a competent government make a decision before expending all the money to house and feed these southern teachers about continuing with the school year? Other jurisdictions have seen the numbers and have made the wise decision to cancel the school year. This is just downright absurd!

  26. Posted by Comcerned on

    We surely need our southern teachers returned to teach our students correctly and to prep them up for real life decision making and real south college and not fake arctic college. I”ve seen from my own eyes how local Inuit teachers do not meet the real requirements to teach our children correct. It’s the kids who suffer down the road . Local Inuit teachers such as cambridge bay. Sorry, but it’s TRUE….

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