Nunavut classrooms won’t reopen this school year

Nunavut classrooms will remain closed for the rest of the school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Education Minister David Joanasie announced on Friday, April 17. The cancellation of classes makes it even more important for Nunavut teachers to return to schools by April 21, to create support packages for students, Joanasie said. Teachers will check in weekly with families to provide support by phone, email, text or “other online portals,” he said. Teachers will do end-of-year assessments, including report cards, based on work completed before schools closed on March 17, said Joanasie. Final exams for high school students are cancelled and students’ grades will be based on course work done before schools closed. School work done at home for the rest of the year is for “continuity of learning and literacy,” Joanasie said. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Meagan Deuling

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(21) Comments:

  1. Posted by Justin Morrison on

    If teachers can go into their schools and work, why can’t GN office workers be asked to do the same? If teachers can work from their classroom, GN office workers could certainly do the same. Why are teachers the only non-essential group being asked to do this?

    • Posted by Inconsistencies Abound on

      Yep, wonderful grounds for a lawsuit against Joansie and the GN, breaking their own rules. I look forward to following the court case.

      He is the minister of logically inconsistent –

      Teachers will check in weekly with families to provide support by phone, email, text or “other online portals,”

      Hmmm, online portals. Must be something that they can’t access from elsewhere in teh country. Glad that they can rely on Nunavut’s very strong information technology infrastructure. /s

      • Posted by Tactic on

        That is the best they could come up with to get out of themselves out of this mess? Why would they treat teachers different that other non essential public servants? Get the popcorn, this will get very interesting. Can’t wait to hear that explanation!

    • Posted by Work on

      I’m a non-essential GN employee, and I go to work, and many others do too. We are allowed into the building one at a time. There is a schedule so that we all get some time each week to get things done that we can’t do from home. I imagine this is how teachers would be doing it too.

      • Posted by The Truth on

        Did the GN gave the same and equitable mandate to all other GN employees and departments as he demanded of ALL teachers. Josnasie just demonstrated how lowly he values the teachers who made the extra sacrifice to come to Nunavut. Will teachers be given masks and gloves on their arrivals at school on Tuesday?
        How are the students going to get the packages? Will there be overcrowding when they come to get the packages? Will they be given sharpeners and enough pencils? They break and chew on pencils a lot so am not sure how the paper and pencil will work.
        Ministry of Education PLEASE HELP TO SAVE OUR ENVIRONMENT. Thank you.

  2. Posted by Bob on

    Wow, can’t believe my eyes of the racism on display. These politicians who don’t know the first thing about education and pandemic are a waste of space. Go out and hunt and leave the decisions to somebody else.

    • Posted by Right? on

      By looking at the tan on Minister Joanasie’s face, it appears that’s exactly what he is doing.

  3. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    Many people thought that Minister Joanasie was an idiot when he originally ordered the teachers who had traveled to southern cities to return by I believe it was April 21st.
    I am very glad to see that he has decided to cancel the remainder of the school year, I am also glad that he has provided the reasoning behind his order for teachers to return as it shows that he has no clue concerning the risks he is taking during this pandemic.
    If the Premier had any intelligence himself he would demand Minister Joanasie’s immediate resignation. What a complete fool.

    • Posted by No Moniker on

      Thank you for this comment, I hope both the individuals named read it and when they do, know that it echoes the sentiment of many, if not most of us.
      One other thing I hope they consider; there is an illusion that comes with the trappings of power. In this moment, having the privilege to turn ones weak and poorly developed sense of judgement into policy surely gives the sense that such decisions are right and justified, even that they stand above the judgement of others (specifically, those who have less power, and because they have less power).
      This is an illusion, in the broad scope of time you will learn that those who will write your history will not be beholden to your legacy, nor will they be seduced by the same power that has seduced you. History will not be kind to the Premier nor the Minister of Education, nor should it. What I see is a case study for future generations on the staggering incapacity and incompetence of our current generation of leaders.

  4. Posted by This government is so screwed up! on

    If these teachers don’t go to work, will some person die, starve, or get sick? Teachers are Important but not essential employees and should not the placed in harms way.

  5. Posted by Really on

    Looking forward to going back to work with a lot of colleagues who have refused to follow social distancing & isolation procedures. Some have been following COVID guidelines and are scared of themselves or their children catching it, but far too many have not. No one has tested positive for the virus in the territory, but that doesn’t mean it is not here. There is constant visiting at people’s homes by staff and their children. Anyone who has been following COVID rules for the last month is throwing that out the window when the go into the school.
    What are gym teachers, sewing teachers & shop teachers going to be doing while the rest of the teachers are preparing materials for students? Humm . . . let me guess: working on personal projects as always. Add in useless learning coaches.
    I have no issue preparing materials for students to work on from home. The reality is that the majority of students won’t do the work: especially when they know that their mark is based on their achievement as of school closures back in March.
    The minister’s comments and 12 page instructions have many elements that are contradictory.

    Planning for the next school year: are you _____ kidding me? Class schedules & sealift are realistically what can be done now and that’s up to administration. We haven’t made it through this school year. Who knows what the situation in Canada or Nunavut will be by mid to late August.

    There’s no contact info for lots of our students, I’m not calling homes with my personal phone: crank calls are sure to follow. Many of my colleagues agree– so we’re all going to be using the same 3 phones at school to try to call kids & parents every week. I’m not messaging with students or parents on facebook either: not appropriate. The majority of students don’t have email, as is true for most parents. All of this is a joke. Everyone knows that by mid April the rest of the school year is a write off in a normal year: hunting, fishing, camping and longer days and staying up and out all night. Learning rapidly decreases.

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      Stop making sense and describing reality. There is no place for that kind of language here.

  6. Posted by The Truth on

    WHERE ARE THE UNION GUYS? They seemed to be sitting on their rocking chairs enjoying part of the teachers pay check.
    Wake up NTA ! Now is time to fight for your teachers. Instead, you just seat back and agree with everything the department of education does. You the NTA is part of the problem. Why do teachers have to make trip to the school everyday? What if some teachers after going in on day 2, finishes photocopying and making phone calls etc. do they still have to go in and sit around and look at the walls? I understand in the letter to teachers on April 17, that no mention was made on how the packages will be distributed to the students. and the teachers dead NTA/union executives kept quiet and nodded their heads with the department of Education.

  7. Posted by Raven on

    Minister Joanasie seems to be following Premier Savikataq’s example of not providing the leadership required to manage a crisis.

    Thank goodness he closed the school year at least.

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      “Leadership” lol, that’s a good one.

  8. Posted by confused citizen on

    ENOUGH,its over quit beating a dead tuktu,

  9. Posted by Amitturmiut on

    Teachers have loved ones too and now they have to leave them behind and worry about their own families to go work,
    for schooling that won’t be actual school work that will get actual exams, substitute teachers can do this work from their communities, we should be more worried about the casual nurses that come up north right now, they probably have easier access getting to the north and probably work at a hospital where there might have cases of covid19

  10. Posted by Perspective is needed on

    As teachers you are in a wonderful position to be one of the more influential forces in a young person’s life; helping to shape the minds of the next generation of Nunavummiut. If some days, all you manage to do is provide a safe space and role model expected behaviour, you are still making a difference. Why don’t we take a second to apply some critical thinking to this discussion?

    Why should I have to work from the office, if others don’t have to?:

    “If teachers can work from their classroom, GN office workers could certainly do the
    same. Why are teachers the only non-essential group being asked to do this?”

    Because you can… It’s about mitigating risk, and your unique ability to work safely in your circumstances. You can’t compare the working conditions of 28 Medical Travel specialists crammed into a small office space, with that of a large empty school with 1 teacher per classroom. Your ability for safe social distancing in any of Nunavut’s schools, is a luxury many other GN workers don’t have.

    Teaching as a profession:

    “Hmmm, online portals. Must be something that they can’t access from elsewhere in
    teh country. Glad that they can rely on Nunavut’s very strong information technology

    You are paid to be here, in Nunavut. You are part of a profession, hopefully you are trained and certified and possess the skills, work ethic, and dedication to help students in anyway you can with whatever medium is available to you. The technological and infrastructural challenges facing Nunavut, are exactly why you can’t work from outside Nunavut. You should count yourself fortunate to be in a place that doesn’t have any confirmed cases of Covid-19.

    Perspective and outlook:

    “…who made the extra sacrifice to come to Nunavut. Will teachers be given masks and
    gloves on their arrivals at school on Tuesday?”

    I’m sorry Mother Teresa, “extra sacrifice to come to Nunavut…”; there’s a Covid-19 outbreak in a refugee camp across the ocean that is calling for your help. No you should not be given masks and gloves! You’re not a Saint, and you’re definitely not a front line worker, you are going back to an environment that is close to sterile for Covid-19. With consideration for your safety and that of all Nunavummiut, this government took an aggressive public health stance, and sent you all home more than 1 month ago. With effective social distancing measures and some dumb luck, you are now living in the only province/territory in Canada with no confirmed cases of Covid-19. Any viruses sneezed across your keyboard 1 month ago, have now been rendered inert. Millions of Canadians have applied for financial assistance as unemployment soars, small business across Canada are at risk of bankruptcy, and you want to talk about your hurt feelings about being asked to go back to work for the job for which you have continued to be paid for?


    “Go out and hunt and leave the decisions to somebody else.”

    There is no issue with going out and hunting, from a leadership, cultural, or public safety perspective. So why would you take offence to this? The Chief Public Health Officer has recommended people enjoy the outdoors to help balance mental health self-care with the need to isolate from others. I don’t know anything about Minister Joanasie, but he seems to be role modelling the correct behaviour here.

    Doing your part:

    “If these teachers don’t go to work, will some person die, starve, or get sick? Teachers
    are Important but not essential employees and should not the placed in harms way.”

    The sky is not falling. You are being asked to do your part to flatten the curve, while
    keeping the government running so that it can provide the services that Nunavummiut need. Your union has been involved. Medical professions have been involved. The decision to balance students needs with employee/public safety is evident in the fact that you’ve been home for a month. An informed decision has now been made and you are being asked to rise to the challenge of how to help educate our youth during a public health emergency.

    • Posted by Tone Deaf on

      .The reality is there is nothing that these teachers are being asked to do, upon there return, that could not be done remotely. Therefore bringing them back into the territory poses an unnecessary risk to them and the the territory.

  11. Posted by Da inuit N1994 on

    Would the students get back to school

  12. Posted by think about it on

    Except we won’t be isolated in our classrooms –we will be preparing work packages: all sharing the same photocopier in the staffroom. Using the same printer too. A lot of people have not been socially distancing, the children of school staff or the staff themselves.
    Those people who have followed government guidelines will be exposed to dangerous situations. People have not been taking this seriously. I’ve been leaving the house to go shopping for 20 minutes, one time a week & had no contact with anyone else, in person. My protective measures are all being placed in jeopardy.
    And all this to prepare ‘busy work’ that will not be collected or assessed . . . and be headed to the dump. for the foxes & ravens to look at. Students now know that their marks are based upon what they did up to mid March –they are not going to be doing busy work.

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