Nunavut mayors to discuss GN’s decision to recall teachers from outside territory
“Right now, we have zero cases and we want it to stay that way”
The Government of Nunavut’s decision to recall teachers now outside the territory is the subject of an emergency board meeting of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities, slated for Tuesday, April 14.
NAM President Kenny Bell, who is also the mayor of Iqaluit, says that he will be looking for a motion to demand that schools remain closed and that any teachers who have left Nunavut should stay out of the territory until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
“There is no reason to be putting our kids and our teachers at further risk right now, we have zero cases and we want it to stay that way,” Bell said in an social media post.
An online petition, addressed to Nunavut’s mayors and councillors, is also critical of this decision.
Since the petition was launched on April 10, it has garnered more than 1,900 of the 2,500 signatures it is seeking.
The petition says the signatories are disappointed by the GN’s decision to call back teachers who were outside the territory when its borders were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The residents of Nunavut are lucky for not having had the virus arrive. If the virus arrives, it will have [a] devastating impact on the residents,” says the petition.
The petition calls for the 85 teachers outside the territory not to return until the pandemic is over.
Many signatories, like Joe Rodrigues, Angela Dupuis and Eena Kullualu, added their own points to the petition:
- “I don’t think we should be putting the teachers at risk by asking them all to return, having to go to the airports again where there is more likelihood of contracting COVID-19, after having already isolated for two weeks in the South,” Rodrigues said.
- “After eight years of nursing in Nunavut, the thought of COVID spreading across Nunavut both breaks my heart and completely terrified me,” Dupuis said. “Absolutely every measure must be taken to keep it out. This includes not demanding or allowing teachers to return.”
- “There are not enough front line workers (nurses, doctors or any kind of doctors) for this disease,” Kullualu said.
The decision to bring the teachers back has also come under criticism from the Nunavut Teachers Association, which says the GN should close the territory’s schools for the rest of the school year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.