After Nunavut’s latest case of COVID-19, schools close in Iqaluit and the Kivalliq
Closures are “due to concerns about COVID-19”
Iqaluit’s schools are preparing to reopen, following their closure on Thursday in response to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in Rankin Inlet.
Inuksuk High School, Nakasuk Elementary School and Joamie Elementary School will re-open on Friday, Nov. 13, while Aqsarniit Middle School will re-open on Monday, Nov. 16, said Lynda Gunn, speaking for the Iqaluit District Education Authority, in a social media post.
All schools will follow their usual schedules upon reopening, while following the territory’s stage two COVID-19 precautions.
The schools remained closed on Thursday, affecting more than 1,300 children in Nunavut’s capital, following the announcement on Nov. 11 of a confirmed case of COVID-19, Nunavut’s third, in Rankin Inlet.
All six schools in Iqaluit, including Nanook School in Apex and Ecole des Trois-Soleils, are moving to stage two in Nunavut’s opening plan for schools, Gunn told Nunatsiaq News late on Wednesday evening.
“According to Nunavut’s chief public health officer, all schools in Iqaluit are now in stage two: Escalated Risk of COVID-19 Transmission in the Region, until further notice,” Gunn said.
Stage two applies when a community is “at an escalated risk of COVID-19 transmission because one or more individuals have been identified through contact tracing as having potential exposure to COVID-19,” the plan says.
In stage two, elementary school students attend school for full-time, in-person instruction, and middle and high school students have staggered school attendance to reduce physical interaction.
Some remote learning will begin for middle and high school students, Gunn said on Iqaluit’s public service announcement page.
On Nov. 12, school staff will meet to discuss the transition to stage two.
Some of the schools in Iqaluit are open on Friday, Nov. 13: Inuksuk High School, Nakasuk and Joamie Schools, schools will re-open Friday, Nov. 13 as per normal school schedules, Gunn said on Nov. 12. However, Aqsarniit Middle School will only re-open for classes on Monday, Nov. 16 on normal schedule hours.
Rankin Inlet school operations are now in stage four due to a confirmed positive case of COVID-19.
This means all schools in Rankin Inlet are closed to students, staff and the public “until further notice” from the chief public health officer, said a COVID-19 Department of Education Services update.
All instruction in Rankin Inlet will now be conducted remotely.
Schools in the Kivalliq region’s other six communities, which are now in stage two, have also closed to students.
In Baker Lake, Helen de Peuter, the principal of Rachel Arngnammaktiq Elementary School, said in a social media update that all schools in the Kivalliq would remain closed at least until Monday, Nov. 16.
And Chris Snow, principal of Baker Lake’s Jonah Amitnaaq Secondary School, said schools in his community were moving to stage two operations.
Stage two operations will mean a reduction in the number of students who can attend school at the same time in Grades 7 to 12, along with additional precautionary measures, he said.
In Arviat, the district education authority said schools would remain closed until a later update.
Among other preventive measures, the Hamlet of Arviat said it was also closing the arena, community hall and other facilities for next two weeks. The hamlet council imposed a curfew as well, from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., with an exception made for hunters who might be leaving or entering town.