Nunavut schools closed to students for the rest of the year

Teachers to provide individualized learning packages and remote support

Nunavut’s minister of education, David Joanasie, announces in Iqaluit on April 17 that classrooms will remain closed to students for the remainder of the school year. (File photo)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Schools across Nunavut will remain closed for the rest of the school year, Minister of Education David Joanasie announced on Friday, April 17, in Iqaluit.

Teachers will return to schools on April 21 to prepare learning packages for their students, and to assess course work done up until March 17, when the Government of Nunavut closed schools across the territory.

Joanasie said he understands families who are out on the land will not be able to receive learning packages. “On-the-land activities like hunting and fishing complement student learning,” he said, “and the department encourages these activities.”

Students will not be given grades based on work done at home between March 17 and the end of the school year. Learning packages will focus on supporting literacy and numeracy for students up to Grade 9.

Teachers and administrators will evaluate the individual situations of high school students in Grade 10 and higher, Joanasie said.

Final exams for high-school students are cancelled, and some students may have already acquired the credits they need to graduate.

If they haven’t, these students may need to complete specific courses to be eligible to graduate.

“Teachers may provide opportunities for students to upgrade their marks or earn the credits they need by completing suggested assignments and projects,” Joanasie said.

He also said that teachers will do individual check-ins with families once a week by text, email, phone or “other online portals.”

Recognizing the difficulty that many Nunavummiut have in accessing the internet, Joanasie said that learning packages will be paper-based, activity-based, as well as electronic.

Along with creating learning packages and checking in with students, it is imperative for teachers to return to their classrooms this week in order to assess work that students completed before the schools were shut down, Joanasie said.

Not all teachers will not be able to return to their classrooms. When schools shut down in March, up to 93 teachers left Nunavut, and the department has called on them to return.

Joanasie said in some cases, “circumstances prevent teachers from returning.”

These teachers can work remotely to complete learning packages, do assessments and support their students. However, Joanasie said teachers need a “variety of material” to complete assessments that is only available in the classroom, which is why the department wants teachers to return if they are able.

Teachers will also be looking ahead to prepare for the 2020-21 school year, Joanasie said.

Teachers can return to their schools throughout the day on a staggered schedule, Joanasie said, to ensure they are able to practise physical distancing from each other while on site.

Joanasie said that the ministers of education from provinces and territories across the country are participating in by-weekly conference calls to share best practices. He acknowledges that school closures are tough on students and parents who now have to take on the role of teachers at home, but said that the safety of everyone is the top priority.

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(19) Comments:

  1. Posted by Concerned Citizen on

    “However, Joanasie said teachers need a ‘variety of material’ to complete assessments that is only available in the classroom, which is why the department wants teachers to return if they are able.”

    Bullshit. All of the grading is registered in an online system. If the teachers have the physical copies of student work, then that’s all they need to work from home. The only material needed from the classroom is student created, and if new guidelines need to be sent out regarding marking procedures, then this can be done by email. If any teacher needs something from the class, it can be sent by post office by the school secretary or educational assistants. Calling all these teachers from the South back to do photocopying and send out work packages that will not be evaluated is an unnecessary risk to Nunavummiat. Why not let teachers do it all from home when they clearly can, instead of taking the risk of spreading a pneumonia-like virus exponentially through communities where many people live in house of ten and to an area that has over 5 times the national average of respiratory illnesses? This makes absolutely no sense. If you want the southern teachers to do their jobs, then they can do it from home.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Seriously, teachers are not parasites, they are Nunavut residence just like you who either own a home or rent a home in Nunavut. They have every right to come home just like the medical patients who are struggling to maintain isolation in the southern centers. People are people or inuit are inuit. Common stop the discrimination on teachers. The essential workers are the ones more likely to bring the virus up here not the teachers for God sakes. Appreciate your teachers and respect them and change your focus to the students who need the education.

      • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

        I do appreciate teachers, but teachers are secondary in importance during a pandemic. They are not currently an essential service. Also, the vast majority of teachers are not permanent residents of Nunavut and have no plans to stay for more than a year for two. They deserve to be home with their families, just like Nunavummiat. I don’t know why you are saying that teachers (who are originally from the south) returning to the north are not a risk to bring the the disease back — anyone returning is a risk.

  2. Posted by Sam on

    These teachers should just stay where they are, no point when the schools are closed. Keep the risk low by keeping the teachers south, still risking to bring the virus up even with the 14 day quarantine.

    • Posted by Uvanga on

      Now you’re the expert on medical advise on 2 week mandatory isolation. All the medical experts have been advising this, are you saying it doesn’t work? All the Nunavut medical patients might bring the virus here if you suspect the the isolation wouldn’t work. That’s a scary thought??

      • Posted by No You Got It on

        Ummm, yes, that’s exactly it. The returning medical patients are a most definitely a threat.

        Doesn’t mean that we keep them out, but it does mean that we have to be aware of the risk that they pose to us.

  3. Posted by Dedicated Teachers Stayed on

    all the teachers who left should be AWOL and not paid
    .
    everybody was informed that the GN would reassess April 7
    .
    that does not mean leave, it means wait and see
    .
    every teacher was informed in person by principals
    .
    get back to work or lose pay from March 17 to present
    .
    should have to pay cost of quarantine hotel too

    • Posted by Lies and fantasies on

      “every teacher was informed in person by principals”
      .
      I can’t believe Nunatsiaq prints these lies.
      .
      So sick of the vitriolic bullshit that’s following with these stories.

    • Posted by Kick to the Curb on

      Except that nobody was informed of anything. It was a complete farce of contradictory instructions, non-instructions, and the usual gang of incompetent personnel. I’ve seen some of the emails that were flying around – completely incomprehensible and contradictory.

      Joansie needs to clean house, get rid of the incompetents who can’t communicate simple instructions clearly, and show some leadership.

      Once he has done that, we need to kick Joansie to the curb.

      Time to get some new, and hopefully competent, people into the K-12 system.

      • Posted by How did they get hired anyway? on

        It is routine in our department for the manager, director, or whomever to send out several follow up notes as they can never seem to articulate a clear point in one letter… truly a sad spectacle.

      • Posted by Harry on

        I agree, this department has to be reviewed and some people have to go, the leadership in that department has failed for far too long, we need changes to the education department.

  4. Posted by why why why on

    There is no need to be shutting down the schools for the rest of the year. First off we have NO cases. Why would we be shutting down with no actual cases?? Secondly, the point that why go back when there’s only a month left holds zero weight. You go back because teachers are getting paid. You go back because it’s important for students. You go back because there more to it than just school work. There’s food insecurity, there’s identifying other problems that may be occurring. There’s just so much more to it.

    And why did the teachers leave to begin with? A few may have actual reasons. Others just wanted to leave. Under no circumstance should these teachers still be receiving a northern allowance.

    Teachers are being paid with public funds. Act accordingly.

    Schools in Ontario and Quebec haven’t closed for the full year. Why are we doing it here when we have ZERO cases? Even going back for one week is worth opening the schools for. Ministers need to stop listening to people shouting on facebook and start actually getting advice from medical officials. I don’t want to hear their ideas are ‘endorsed’. I want to hear this is what medical professionals have advised them to do.

    agjahuhgahghg!!

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      So let’s get this straight: A new contagious disease that has no treatment, no vaccination, kills people more with already present respiratory illness (who have 5 times the national average of respiratory diseases) and has the highest rate of death among the elderly (think of the elders) shouldn’t be a concern to Nunavummiat? I don’t know what you’re smoking, but you should give all your dealer’s number man because it must be some strong shit.

  5. Posted by Credential Evaluator on

    I think the credentials of the ministers should be made public. What are the credentials of the Minister of Education? What college or university did he graduate from?

    • Posted by Concerned Citizen on

      http://assembly.nu.ca/honourable-david-joanasie

      Mr. Joanasie holds a certificate in business communication from Saint Mary’s University and a diploma from Algonquin College. He also attended the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa.

      • Posted by Not Much Really on

        Strange that this doesn’t mention what the diploma is in. Overall a certificate and diploma are fairly mediocre accomplishments.

  6. Posted by Makes no sense on

    We don’t grow trees up here. Too cold. Every teacher has to make packages for each student. Some teachers have 5 different grade levels cause of the social passing. We will go through tons of paper. Photo copiers will be silted by end of the week. Backwards trend for non essential workers.
    Premier please fire your minister. Issmuqittuq minister and deputy minister.

    • Posted by Federal Government on

      This worst then what The previous premier did, makes me wonder what the feds are pushing. Is it funding issues. Where is our MP. For crying out loud..lets get some real answers teachers are not essential in a middle of pandemic.

  7. Posted by Conspiracy Theories Anyone? on

    So, minimal professional qualifications by any measure, and none suited to the role that he holds?

    Nice. Well, that explains a lot I guess.

    Have to wonder why someone with no background or qualifications in the field was chosen for the position?

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