Updated: Public health officer recommends that Nunavut schools and daycares close
“It is with an over-abundance of caution that I have made this recommendation”
Updated March 16, 11;49 a.m.
Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, has recommended the temporary closure of all schools and daycares in Nunavut to limit any potential spread of COVID-19.
These closures are effective starting Tuesday, March 17, for a three-week period, according to a news release that was issued today.
In the release Patterson said, “It is with an over-abundance of caution that I have made this recommendation.”
He added, “While there are still no confirmed cases in Nunavut, this approach aligns with preventive measures in several jurisdictions across the country and ensures the potential spread of COVID-19 is mitigated.”
In the release, Nunavummiut are reminded to wash your hands, often, for at least 20 seconds; cough and sneeze into your elbow; stay home if you feel sick; and call your health centre if you have symptoms.
The release also said that families should avoid group gatherings and remain at home as much as possible.
Current school closures
Nanook School in Apex and École des Trois-Soleils in Iqaluit are already closed today and tomorrow, following decisions by their local school authorities.
In an emergency meeting on Sunday evening, members of the Apex District Education Authority, and the Commission Scolaire Francophone du Nunavut voted to suspend classes due to concerns over the escalation of the COVID-19 virus.
On a post to its Facebook page, the Apex DEA wrote that the closure was temporary, and that they would meet with the Department of Education and Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, to determine a longer-term measure to protect students against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The CSFN posted that the decision was made under section 145 (e) of the Education Act. This states that DEAs may “temporarily close a school for health or safety reasons.”
The Iqaluit DEA also met on Sunday night, but its members voted to keep Aqsarniit, Joamie, Inuksuk and Nakasuk schools open until an announcement was made by the chief public health officer.