Nunavut asks out-of-territory teachers to return by April 21
About 80 teachers still in southern Canada
The Government of Nunavut is calling all teachers back to the territory’s schools.
In two weeks, on April 21, all Nunavut school staff members are expected to work in their home communities.
This is a “mandatory return to work date,” said Nunavut’s assistant deputy minister of education, Melanie Abbott, in a letter sent out today.
To limit the possible spread of COVID-19, schools in Nunavut, which shut their doors on March 17, were initially to remain closed to students until April 7, but that date was pushed back to April 20 and now April 21.
“If schools are reopened to students on this date, classes will resume, and school staff and administrators will be supported in bringing back school operations and student learning back on track as efficiently as possible,” Abbott said.
The scheduled return to classes in Nunavut is in contrast to the situation in the territory’s neighbouring jurisdictions, the Northwest Territories and Nunavik, which have cancelled school until the end of the year.
As of today, Tuesday, April 7, all school staff can access schools on “a voluntary basis,” if they want to prepare learning packages for students to use at home.
These will contain supplies such as pencils, paper and calculators.
Nunavut faces a big obstacle to reopening schools on April 21: many teachers are still out of the territory, and will be expected to self-isolate for 14 days before they fly north.
About 80 teachers—five from the Kitikmeot region, 50 from the Kivalliq region and 25 from the Baffin region—are no longer in Nunavut, according to an Education Department staff member with knowledge of the situation.
Because the schools were closed, absent teachers didn’t have to be Nunavut, said the Nunavut Teachers Union. But, with today’s announcement to prepare for schools reopening on April 21, teachers will have to be present or use personal leave to account for their absence.
“Staff should discuss with their principals as soon as possible on any issues which have an impact on their ability to report to work in their home community on April 21,” Abbott said.
The Education Department told Nunatsiaq News that some teachers had left the territory for their spring holidays prior to Tuesday, March 24, when the chief public health officer’s order for Nunavut residents to self-isolate for 14 days before their return to the territory began.
Under that order, any teacher returning to the territory must self-isolate for 14 days at a “designated isolation hub” in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Edmonton or Yellowknife before returning.
One teacher currently outside the territory, who asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak with journalists, said he is supposed to come out of quarantine today, but he doesn’t want to return to the territory.
“I didn’t think school was going to open again. All throughout Canada schools are closing, so it’s an unnecessary risk for the staff who went south to return,” he said.
Another teacher, who is also not authorized to speak to media, said he decided to remain in Nunavut during the school closures. But he said he worries about the possibility of COVID-19 infections if schools reopen.
The teacher said he also worries about going into school and using equipment such as school printers that others might not clean after using. The Education Department has said that cleaning in schools will be ramped up.
Departmental exams for high school students have been cancelled until June, says Abbott’s letter.
“Teachers will be provided with clear guidance on how assessments and grade progression will be achieved,” the letter states. “Teachers will be expected to produce final report cards appropriate to each grade level.”
An earlier version of this article included the headline “Nunavut prepares to reopen schools on April 21.” While teachers are being asked to prepare to return to school at that date, no decision has been made for classes to resume at that date. We regret any confusion this may have caused.
EDU Letter Mandatory Opening April 21 by NunatsiaqNews on Scribd
What’s they got a vaccine or cure up there? Why are certain individuals in a territory government announcing things that anyone with common sense can see as not going to happen. I say not. Concerning to have leadership with such delusions.
Good for you Nunavut, finally seeing people not rilled by fear!
Rilled? What is “rilled?” Someone should have paid more attention in school…
The question that the department of education cannot seem to answer is “Why can’t teachers work from home?” In their communities, in the south, it doesn’t matter! All marking is done online anyways. All departmental exams in the Territory have been cancelled already (by Alberta). Why is the government demanding they come back up here and expose the entire territory to the virus? “But they’re quarantined before they come back up!” And then they have to fly though an international airport? Ridiculous! My children will certainly not be going back to school, if it reopens at all. And all of this while the federal government has advised that social isolation to protect everyone will go on for months! Seems dangerous, reckless, and purely political. No thought to the safety of children or teachers!
I’ve been very diligent with social distancing and going to the store once/week. I’ve been isolating and staying in my house. I have chosen to follow recommendations. What is very concerning, is that in this community (and it’s not just this community) there has been little social distancing: kids and adults have been visiting at homes & hanging out together. There have been constant flows of people in and out of homes.
This is all easily observed in FB posts & photos of people residing in the community. Lots of ignoring social distancing Far too many Nunavimiiut haven’t been taking this seriously at all: everyone knows it. They have said that people may not show symptoms by day 14, but could still have the virus. COVID 19 must be in the territory –it could be people with mild symptoms, but it has to be here. There has been blatant ignoring of Dept. of Health recommendations regarding COVID safety. –As a teacher I have serious concerns about my safety when exposed colleagues who have not been social distancing. We’re supposed to prepare work packages for students– there are 1.5 copiers in the school.
*Not my quote* but in another social media forum, someone has made a fantastic point: some inmates are being realized early to prevent to prevent possible spreading of the virus, but yet teachers are bing mandated to be back working together.
The NTA needs to intervene: now!
The NTA should consider hiring a lawyer to draft a response to the GN.
This is a very stressful and traumatic time for many people.
It is times like this when we get to see where out government’s priorities are. All employees of the GN should take a hard look and ask yourself do you want to work for these people? Suppose and if you do- when this is all over with will you still go the extra mile for the GN? Many teachers do just that, they spend countless hours outside of regular school hours helping students. Many of them volunteer in the community. Would you still be as motivated to give it your very best and then some knowing that they wouldn’t for you? Will you ever vote again in favor of these same folks who sit smugly in front of the cameras giving “updates”. Anyone could read off a bunch of speaking notes to give an update. When it comes to leading this territory that is another story. Are they truely doing what is best for those 80 teachers? Each of those teachers have a family- many with kids.
Would the GN do that to them if they were all Inuit? They ensured that Inuit students were sent back to be with their families where they could be supported. For some teachers their support and families are in the south. Can we blame them for flying down to be with them during these times of uncertainty. By the end of this pandemic it is said that we will all know someone who has died as a result of covid 19.
It is likely the GN will TRY to backtrack to TRY and recover from this huge public relations disaster. Regardless we should not forget. I would have a lot more respect if they would step up and lead this government by making decisions about the school now so that families can make the necessary plans and not wait until last minute.
By the way- my bet is that teachers are not the only ones who left and went south and did not return. Let’s ask the GN if they plan to recall all GN staff back?
I do not understand why teachers would have left? The first close was for a few weeks, then the second one was for a few weeks? Why would they leave? There was never more than 3 weeks off of school? If they had been told school was closed for the rest of the year, certainly I could understand. But it was always a temporary closure that could and may be extended, never a southern holiday. Now we have to pay to quarantine them and they will be at risk AGAIN by travelling on the airplane.
Southern vacation??? Anyone who left did so because basic rules were not being followed by locals and the health centers are ill-equipped; there are no ventilators in all but 2 communities. Furthermore, who could have predicted such reckless decision making but those in power? We will be the only teachers in Canada venturing into schools on the 21st. Who could’ve predicted that?
Not a southern vacation, an unprecedented pandemic that spreads like wild fire. A virus where people of all ages who contract it end up in hospitals on ventilators. Being a remote community with very limited health resources and where people are not following mandates. Your health is the one most important thing, and whoever decided to travel to a place with fully functional hospitals with more resources and doctors – I completely understand your decision.
In fact, why would they come back now when this pandemic is FAR from over. The lack of testing doesn’t mean Nunavut is safer or that Nunavut doesn’t have it.. it travelled the world.. it will get here.. Why force people to travel (first of all), back to communities with limited health facilities when they are probably safer where they are.
Wouldn’t one have been safer staying put in their uncrowded unit in Nunavut? Regardless of what the “locals” are doing. I would rather stay safe in my home instead of going south on the airplanes and airports where there would be a great deal of risk. The south is where the virus has been rampant, why be so quick to go into that? Schools were closed from March 15-Apr 3, staff were not given leave. Staff were told to wait for an update. Then the closure was extended until the 20, again no leave but school closure. Did they leave on a one way ticket? When did they plan to return knowing the leave was for only 3 weeks? Teachers now will be able to go into the school with proper direction from the principal to help the students at home and to complete the years assessment if the students are not to return. I do think that now that they are in the south, let them stay instead of bringing risk to Nunavutmiut. I also believe that if the virus is diagnosed in the territory this will all change.
I didn’t go south, but have been isolating at home. Far too many people in this community are not even doing ½ of what they should be regarding health & safety. Nunavut has one of (if not the most) unhealthy populations in Canada. In situations with serious overcrowding, this is where people need to be proportionately in terms of protective measures.
This is the land where people think that if they pray to God, that this virus will go away, protect them, their family & community.
It’s reckless behaviour all over the place. It’s scary. Who wouldn’t get away from such a situation if they had another place they could go? Common sense.
These people have gone HOME and should stay home like all governments are saying to reduce catching and passing on the nasty virus. We must have the most screwed up government, as other places have cancelled the school year and for some reason we have to expend lots of dollars to get these citizens away from HOME and bring them to NUNAVUT!
Oh my by No on 7 April, 2020 littler hyperbola saying spreading like wildfire. Absolutely not that all ages who get the virus end up in hospital and on ventilator. Do take a look at the stats. The majority are mild, never even need to be at a hospital. To close down Nunavut, school over fear is ridiculous. If you want to go but, but death rate, let’s go…. over 80 yrs 14.8%. Note many have 3 or more other serious issues and many are holding on by a thread prior. 70-79yrs 8%,now watch the drop 60-69yrs 3.6% , 50-59 1.3%, 40-49yrs tiny .04%. and .02% ages 10 to 39yrs. More chance to die from the flu, yet don’t you find it interesting never a lock down, panic over that? Look at docs in Spain saying stay at home, recover at home, go hospital more chance to get it, spread it.
gets some of the take home packages prepared by teachers. You could use the education.
The medical experts have said that we should not compare this to the flu. This disease is 20 times more deadly according to them. Those statistics you cited may refer to those areas where medical care is much stronger and living conditions are less crowded. Would you be so cavalier if those deaths occurred in your family? As well, many school staff are older, and are part of high- risk populations. Are they expendable?
So I just want to be clear.
Those of you in NU who oppose teachers having returned to their Homes in other locations throughout Canada…
To you it is acceptable that these people leave their loved ones in this pandemic so they can be sequestered in other cities for weeks so they can return to an unknown situation? They should give up their freedoms and access to medical care in other provinces so they return to MAYBE resume duties in what very likely will be an unhealthy community?
They should put ADDITIONAL strain on YOUR health care situation because you feel better about their paycheques that way?
These are Unprecedented times for this generation. For any territory, or province, or its people, to be so naive as to think they are immune to this virus is utterly mind boggling.
This virus DOESN’T CARE if it’s victims are residents or workers who are mandated back to your territory.
Look around! It’s world wide and unforgiving! What medical facilities can you promise returning workers? Are you prepared to forfeit YOUR access to those facilities so you can feel good about forcing these teachers back to work when the rest of our country has closed schools indefinitely!?
Common sense was never a strong point with the GN, in whatever the case or department.
Opening schools is a huge risk a unnecessary risk to take by the GN, whoever has decided this has to reevaluate this again and come to your senses.
It’s a complete joke!
This is a bad idea .some one do not have kids that is making this decision . It haven’t even started yet just wait bring back those southern teachers and it will come . Get your head out of your ass and think obout it . Don’t expose our kids to this thanks
Teachers can rest assure, and students as well. The school year is over for all of Canada. Nunavut will not open school April 21. When April 21 comes and goes, people should realize how smart their ministers are in the assembly. Yes, you will know, what you have for uninformed leadership in its fullest.
Teachers aren’t authorized to speak to the media? Why?
About 15 years ago the policy that gn employees could not talk to the media without approval came out, about 10 years ago teachers were completly stopped from any communication deemed to be negative, even on our personal communciations or social media. This extended about three years ago to include any activity within the schools, all of which could only be positive and had to be vetted first. It has gotten to the point we can not even have media come in to talk to the students about journalism as a careeer. So, we find other ways to get the stories out we need, we have pet reporters to help and we know the IQ principles and critical thought are not intended to extend to education. I would bet most of these comments come from teachers because this is the only forum that protects us. Hope that explains it a bit. Teachers gotta teach!
Here’s my guess on why teachers can’t speak to the media: they are smarter, more well educated, and far more articulate than the people running their department. Risk of embarrassment must be mitigated!
Hit the nail on the head
Teachers think they’re better than everyone, but they only came here for the salary. No altruism there.
Good job on using Alturism in a sentence. How exactly did you learn to do it? I had to look the darn word up! You are the cleverest! Probably homeschooled. Now that is altruistic!
This is ridiculous. Dangerous for the teachers, students, and communities. I hope the department of health steps in.
Kenn most GN staff are not authorized to speak with the media, has been like that for a very long time, maybe since the beginning of Nunavut.
It’s what you would expect in a police state.
GN has used a clause in the employment contract which prevents an employee from breaching confidentiality to muzzle any and all free speech. This includes the employee speaking on any topic that has nothing to do with their work or would violate confidentiality.
When no one is allowed to have a public opinion on important matters, means we do not live in a free and democratic society. And this even extends to the the employee’s family members who’ve been threatened that if they speak out the GN employee’s job and often housing is at risk.
I recall a teacher who was told to stop commenting on social media, not by the GN, their employer but by the teacher’s union. When you get to that point where the union doesn’t back their member in free speech, its worse than you imagined.
Joe the premier should be ashamed of himself. This policy sounds like it came from people that are backwards. Nunavut how long will you be backwards? Joe the premier should resign.
If GN still paying teachers then they are the boss. If teachers don’t return then pay cheques stop. End of discussion.
Getting tired of having to care for your own kid all day?
Nice big pay cheque u getting while in south. Your GN boss says return or cheques end. End of story. My kids doing fine. They still have school each day M-F but at home.
Of course, this entire situation is diminished into a paycheck. A PAYCHECK?! Do you understand what is actually happening around the world and in Canada?
End of story? Here’s the story. There’s a global pandemic that has travelled the world in a little less than 3 months. Major events, institutions, business’ and parts of our daily lives have been completely disrupted. We are seeing measures put in place that haven’t been since the last world war. This isn’t about money for some people – its actually about survival. People are dying. But hey, guess teachers are having the time of their lives getting a big paycheck while taking a vacation in the south eh? That’s a rich assumption to make.
We are currently under quarantine and practicing social distancing. So the GN has deemed it wise to enforce teachers to travel back to the communities in which they teach? This is not only reckless and moronic, but it is also a complete and blatant disregard for what the rest of the country has put in place to try and control this virus.
As you can see, there are multiple comments of people concerned about this issue. Parents, teachers and concerned citizens of this community. This has nothing to do with money and everything to do with common sense. It is about the health and safety of people who live in one of the few places IN THE WORLD, let me repeat that, IN THE WORLD that does not have any confirmed cases.
Maybe if you took your head out of the sand there might be some space to comprehend the magnitude of this situation instead of the drivel that is being spewed here. I’m worried about this kind of ignorance rather than teachers getting a paycheck.
This is exactly the hunch I have with all this, that the entire decision is underlined by the resentment some people feel toward our well educated and well paid teachers. Bring them back, make them suffer somehow! They are being well paid after all! How dare they enjoy an extended holiday on our dime!
Yes, I will reduce it all to that gnawing need to exact suffering and revenge; all other and all sensible considerations be damned, clearly.
You have way tooooo much time on your hands writing such a long essay. I didn’t read much of it since u veered off topic. The bottom-line is GN (boss) has told teachers to return to place of their employment. If they don’t return then GN (boss) will deal with it.
Annie come down to the Iqaluit airport when the jet comes in with essential workers from the south. Public health is meeting each flight and giving strict instructions to people and telling them the reality is that if the virus makes it in to communities they will have to decide who lives and who dies. Hey let’s just bring more people back to a place with 7 ventilators….
Your argument about teachers’ paycheques is redundant – not worth arguing if this is still your argument. This is a very serious issue and much larger than the one small point you are repeating. Just to add, every other teacher in Canada, along with other government employees in Canada (and many others), are working from home and continuing to be paid during this time as it is the most logical and socially responsible action.
It wasn’t an essay. That person made an intelligent, well thought out comment. This situation isn’t a simple black and white, ‘they don’t do what the boss says, they lose their jobs’ kind of situation. There are many shades of grey in this situation, including compassion, decency, appreciation, dignity and good common sense. Consideration of these shades of grey is essential if you want to have teachers who are willing to work here next year and a healthy population.
I guess you don’t care about that though, because your kids are just fine doing school at home Monday to Friday, right? Although I question that, since their current ‘teacher’ can’t be bothered to read a comment because it’s longer than two sentences and the opinion differs from theirs.
But the teachers deemed it wise to leave and go into all of that. Did the GN ask anyone to leave? No, they said stay put, we will update and they have. Never did they say leave and be reckless and moronic, the teachers choose to give complete and blatant disregard to GN when the GN said they were not being given leave but that school was closed for a bit. Caring for the health and safety of the communities as you say would have not been put in risk by having to come back if they had never left.
My niece has remained in her community. I am really concerned for her and feel she is more or less being held hostage by her school board with no logical or safe direction planned. She is much more important to her family than whatever her pay level might be. She deserves every dollar she earns. She is very committed to these people, more than they will ever appreciate. We love her and would like her to be safe and at home.
What is somewhat disconcerting is there is no public acknowledgement from the Chief Public Health Officer, the Premier, the Minister of Education nor the Deputy Minister of Education. Is this a let Melanie hang herself just in case? Were the DEAs consulted? Were the communities consulted? Was the union consulted? What factors were taken into consideration before making what appears as an irrational decision such as this? Yesterday Dr Lam suggested it wouldn’t hurt to start wearing masks. hmm I heard that announcement. Did anyone from the GN or Education hear it? And obviously, ignore it.
Apparently the Dept of Health ok’d the decision…but the GN and regional school operations are pushing this move. I’m also surprised the territorial Chief Medical Officer hasn’t put a stop to it. When everyone is being told to “stay the blazes home (Premier of NS)” it’s disheartening to see that the GN doesn’t value the health of its residents and is forcing some of its employees to potentially risk their health and safety. I don’t want the teachers who are still in the south to return and risk bringing back the infection to communities. Forcing these teachers to put themselves at risk (flying to cities to quarantine, then flying back north and the travel through airports after quarantine) is not right. There is work for teachers to do remotely. It is completely irrational to bring people back into the territory during this pandemic. Teachers are not essential workers and therefore should not travel.
Employee retention is not the GN’s strongest attribute! You should be clear in your communication. You are not from here and we are not interested in paying you any longer. They already know that most will not return, so it is another way of saving money. Next year, they will be shaking their head as to why they have another 100 vacant teaching positions that they cannot staff and the cycle continues. Who would return in a pandemic situation if the GN cannot provide the Health Care to its population that’s needed? There is a reason this message from someone junior in their position. Someone must be thrown under the bus at some point!
“There is a reason this message from someone junior in their position. Someone must be thrown under the bus at some point!”
It is an absolute disgrace that the Minister of Education didn’t make this announcement himself, I find this cowardly in the extreme!
This entire situation can’t be real. If the entire country was cancelled why are they able to open? As a teacher I would have left too. Now they have to travel, possibly be exposed & possibly bring it back to that community? Very irresponsible for them to put everyone at risk by opening already. Schools in China aren’t even open yet. Why can’t teachers talk to the media?
This is unnecessary stress for us parents, students and teachers to go through.
GN can you explain yourself for this unwise decision that you are making?
Ken Harper: you know why we can’t talk to the media . . . we cannot publicly criticize our employer.
The teacher’s Association needs to address this.
School employees are not considered ‘essential’ –all “non essential “Government of Nunavut employees are to be working from home.
80 teachers returning to the community is concerning. That people can show little to no symptoms of the virus at day 14, but still have it, transmit it to others and become sick themselves is a known fact. But equally so is the fact that social distancing and -and extreme protective measures have not been happening -sorry, I don’t have confidence in my coworkers. I see their pictures of people doing activities together & visiting. Children flow between homes.
It’s not the fault of school employees that the GN lags behind other school boards, provinces & territories in being able to implement learning online.
I sure as hell don’t want any work packages back from students.
I hear you. This is how Covid-19 will enter Nunavut – if it’s not already there (and that is a very big “if.”)
If they are ordered back and don’t return. The GN doesn’t have to pay them. It’s breech of contract.
Yes, that’s obvious. So what’s your point, David?
I just thought I would give the simple a chance to feel smart.
How does it feel?
You do have to wonder if this is intended by the gn to force the resignations of the entire teaching staff in Naujaat, cos i am guessing its such a hot mess of teacher hating there none of them stayed. 50 out of the Kivallaq, ouch!
First, I wonder how many will return. I bet these teachers could get a note from their doctor fast and easy.
It was really a horrible decision. Considering no jurisdiction is more desperate than Nunavut (except maybe Nunavik), for teachers and the entire country is experiencing a severe shortage. Why push people away now? How many teachers today are wondering why they work for for such a Mickey Moose jurisdiction??
That said, rural Alberta and rural BC are both desperate for teachers. Pay is higher in Alberta, but wow BC is nice.
My daughter graduated with her BEd last Spring and was heavily recruited by several BC boards…….. and they all cold called her.
That’s the thing right now, there are so many options for teachers everywhere. But a lot of people in Nunavut, and the GN, have it backwards and don’t get it. A decent teacher, even a marginal teacher, can work wherever they want right now. Demand has never been higher.
It’s going to get a lot worse for Nunavut, before it gets better in this regard.
They never understood the importance of closing. It reminds me of when the DEA and Dept of Ed declared a 2 day closure LOL The French School and Nanook were smart and just shut things down. Now with the world extending measures (and here the municipalities wisely moving to ban travel), this bizarre letter is made. Feel so badly for the teachers, health care workers…. Love the single day extension of the suspension, too. Classic.
Leave it to the Department of Education to go against all guidelines set up by the federal government and world health organization.
Here we all are sacrificing through self isolation and social distancing and in one fell swoop the Dept of Education wants to flush it all away by stuffing 250 plus kids into tight quarters and then sending them home to their families. If we don’t have Covid yet we sure as heck will after this dumb idea is implemented!
How dumb can an educated group of people be. No wonder the education system in Nunavut is such a joke when you have idiots like these making stupid decisions, endangering the lives of all Nunavut residents.
They’re not educated Bobby. Newsflash. It’s the GN.
Educated? LOL! Let me make an educated guess, duh! These are politicians only in it for themselves.
Gotta feel for the teachers, being forced to return against their will. Too bad they got into a shotgun marriage with the GN. They’re all intelligent folk only wanting to help students. Being forced to return will not help any students nor the communities they teach in.
I wouldn’t be surprised if none of then return. Even those that do so because of the fear-mongering stunts by the politicians, probably will not return next year. Deputy ministers and superintendents of schools are nothing more than pawns of the minister so they’re not any different from elected officials.
If these pawns really did care about the students and the communities they live in they wouldn’t have given in so easily to the minister’s demands.
Even when school is reopen, I will not be sending any of my children to school. I hope those intelligent teachers think the same and not return. Why should they endanger their health and the health of others because the ludicrous government says so?
What is more important right now? Our children’s education or our communities health (keeping in mind the lack of health resources) This is a complete joke! Risk our communities to have our teachers back from infected areas so they can make home work packages or learning packages. Come on! I will not send my children back to school until this is lifted in Canada. It’s just time that cases will show in Nunavut. Look at how slow we are getting results. Out of 39,000 people, 200 plus results in 3 weeks. Shocking!
Contrast that amount of testing with the Faroe Islands, population 51,000 (so 1.5 times the population of Nunavut). They have done 5,035 tests as of today, and found 184 cases, most of which have already recovered. Only two people are in the hospital. No-one has died. Unlike most jurisdictions, they are NOT waiting until someone shows symptoms, to test – they are testing as many people as they can and finding many who are asymptomatic (and would therefore have unwittingly spread the disease if they had not been tested).
I am confused. The state of emergency is in place until May 3 as declared by the Chief Medical officer, Why would schools be opened prior to this date?
We are being told by our Prime Minister to stay home, not gather in groups, that the curve has not yet even begun to flatten. Why are Nunavut schools going to be opened against this advice?
Teachers across the country are preparing and beginning to deliver programs using learning packages, ClassDojo SeeSaw, Microsoft365 among others.
There is no reason that working from home can not be done whether that it is in Nunavut or another province or territory.
I agree, why would they be allowed to leave in the first place?
Us other GN empoyees were told to work from home, didn’t realize we could’ve gone down south to be where medical services are better or go on a semi-vacation while being paid and not use leave credits. Hope the GN cuts their summer pay by the number of weeks they weren’t in Nunavut.
I doubt the schools will re-open, it doesn’t matter, Nunavut education already has social promotion. All students will go on to the next grade. Grade 12s, I don’t know.
Yukon announced today that its schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. But here, two weeks and we’re back? After over a month of messaging from various levels of government to stay home, now we’re about to ask parents to simply send their kids in? Get those teachers in there too, because we definitely don’t have a recruitment or retention problem up here. Brutal. Classic GN move.
We are like sheep being led to be slaughtered.
Please dont let any teachers who left nunavut come back until all is over! ??♂
As new law(s) are being broken or ignored, please RCMP, charge the Premier and whoever is ordering the teachers back to school. This is very reckless ordering the teachers back to work while rest of Canadian schools are no longer open until the new school year.
Read things carefully: schools are not opening to students on April 21. School staff are being mandated to return on that date.
I would like to see the media interview the NTA president about this.
The NTA emailed teachers today telling them of the mandate to return to work. The NTA said it is now discussing with the Dept. of Ed things such as: flexible schedules & working form home provisions (likely only applicable for those with no child care), limiting staff in the school at one time, safety protocols being put in place and monitored (really? poor or no protocols happening in homes -schools can’t possibly stop the virus coming int he front door), what these work packages might be and possible assessment. Why was this not all sorted out *before *the Dept. of Ed released their mandate???
6-7 weeks into the 2nd semester and things shut down for COVID. Now these work packages — much of which won’t be done by a lot of students and so is a huge waste of paper, ink & time. These are going to be ‘busy’/activity packages — they will touch on some curriculum, I’m sure. Unmotivated, PUBG addicted & exhausted students who were doing little in class before the shut-down are not going to work at home . . . complete assignments, get credits & report cards.
***Get real GN: the school year is a write-off***
There are already far too many high school credits handed out for free in this territory: moves like this just make it worse
What are the shop, sewing, learning coaches and SSA’s going to be doing during this time?
As a concerned Nana, I will forbid my grandchildren to enter a public place called the school. It is still too early. I will take them to the cabin as soon as possible and stay there till mid fall.
-Education is important for the future of your kids
-There is NO Covid-19 in Nunavut so far
-Teachers are currently paid to sit home not educating your kids
-READ THE EDU LETTER… in the school opening dates section, it clearly state that opening schools to students will be assess later BUT they want the teachers back to develop a plan to ensure continuity learning in the event the schools remain closed…
-Teachers, please make every effort to come back, you will continue to get paid and it will help kids get the education they deserve to succeed in life.
Here’s the problem Joe, by coming back into the territory while there is a travel ban on all non-essential travel, incidentally, these teachers risk bringing the virus into their communities. One wonders, if that were to happen, would your tune change on this? Or do you just think there’s really little to no risk?
I agree with your assessment of the bigger picture since I myself contracted the Covid-19 in jail 😉 but risk zero doesn’t exist. However I believe that all the steps taken to mitigate that risk by the GN (14 days quarantine down south), the airports where people are transiting (dedicated areas for people traveling to Nunavut) and the airlines (enhance airplane cleaning between each legs) is very good. Several people are still coming up every day on the airlines. Overhaul I believe the trade off between the territory kids future and the minimal risk that teachers will bring back the virus is worth taking the risk. A lot of commenters seems to think education is somewhat less important than their community health but it never cease to amaze me how much people smoke in our territory…
Read between the lines and you will find the answer as to why this is happening the way it is. It’s a systemic issue that’s been showing itself more often as the territory develops.
For anyone who has spent a significant amount of time in senior positions in Nunavut, it’s clear why the Chief Public Health Officer is silent on this topic.
There are some parallels that can be drawn from the way Trump behaves. None of the reasons for this move make any sense. In fact, it’s going to punish the rule maker at the end of the day regardless of the outcome. Yet, the perceived prize of making their point reigns supreme.
This is stupid. Idiotic. Quite simply the worst decision that the GN has ever made
It will only take one sick person to wipe out entire communities (who already do not have the resources to take care of their populations, let alone elders). It’s so sad.
Administrators: please let go of your egos and take care of your people, both in and outside the territory <3 It's time to be solutions-oriented, not control-oriented.
Health is important?
All the smokers smoking in their home and vehicle in the presence of their kids please refrain from commenting. You are causing damage to your kids lungs that might prevent them from breezing through a Covid-19 infection. At least let them get the education they deserve to access a better life
Fallaceous argument. Two wrongs don’t make a right. This is not a normal flu. There is no vaccine for it.
I just want to point the hypocrisy about the outrage this create under the disguise that we are ooohhhh so concerned about the community health. Cigarette induced health problems was the #1 killer in Canada last year and guess what it will be #1 again this year well ahead of Covid-19. The measures in place to bring those teachers back safely are sufficient in my opinion. But if you suggest education is not That important maybe we should look into shutting down the schools for all of next year, make it 2 years, the GN will be able to divert the money from education to the health department because that’s the only thing that matter.
This is one of the stupidest, most ill-conceived notions I’ve seen recently. What boneheads in the department of Education came up with this idiocy? Do they want to kill people?
Trudeau needs to be made aware of this immediately. The decision is quite dangerous and unethical. Literally all of Canada is making students and teachers STAY HOME – why did they decide Nunavut is somehow exempt from this?
How little do they value their employees‘ health, they should be embarrassed to broadcast their lack of respect they have for employees (and students if they decide to start them again).
Online learning and distance learning is working for the rest of the country and most importantly – keeping everyone safe. This should be the focus – everyone needs to stay home (including staff).
The word pandemic needs to be taken more seriously, many lives are in the hands of these decisions…
Where’s our MP who was so eager to speak to the media last week.
Let’s see where she stands on the GN’s poistion.
Very good question. Although, I feel that the answer to that question will just mimic the feelings currently being strewn about at the GN’s expense.
Someone commented earlier that Trudeau needs to be informed of this. I don’t disagree! Want to see a somewhat cooperative group of elected officials turn into a free-for-all royal rumble!?
I am not letting my kids go to school during this pandemic, I will not take the risk and shame on the GN for forcing teaching to travel and possibly be in contact with the virus and possibly bringing that virus to Nunavut.
Common sense is lacking in this decision, we need to make calls and write letters to our MLAs to put a stop to this.
We need stronger leadership in our government.
This article isn’t about opening the schools again. Melanie Abbott used the word “If” when referring to the schools being open. No one has said that schools will be open on the 21st of April.. This article had a misleading headline that has since been changed.
What the GN is actually asking, is for teachers (who are currently being paid) to return and do their jobs. The schools were closed temporarily, and while they may not reopen this school year, teachers have a responsibility to provide alternative opportunities for learning for students. If they don’t want to come back for April 21st, then they shouldn’t be paid.
This article is about opening the schools again. I have teacher friends who were not allowed back into the building and now they are. Yes maybe children are not in classes but they will be going to the schools to get this homework packet. Not my children!! Why would Melanie Abbott even mention ‘if’. The WORLD IS ON LOCKDOWN. There is a pandemic out there that none of us have seen before. Why is she even mentioning if?If what? If we continue with low testing and low reporting then my child can go to the school and potentially get infected from his teacher who was down south. I don’t think so.
I am a parent but I’ve worked in the schools and I know how important teachers are.
I feel so bad for the teachers. So sorry this is what you are going through.
We need our teachers but after reading that letter I could see why many might not want to come back here. I hope the government changes their decision.
Let out kids finish the year on the land and learning in the community and start again next year WITH OUR TEACHERS.
Teachers continuing to work – absolutely yes. Making them go into the school to work – absolutely not.
Check out every other province’s/territory’s policies and approaches to distance learning. The argument is not valid.
Let’s see how many positive cases Nunavut will have by that said date. And let’s see all the new strictest of measures put in place as a result. Opening schools will be far from the agenda. I bet.
Let them stay down there without pay. Nunavut has Substitute teachers
Yea the qualifications of subs are a phone and a pulse. Plus they are delivering the plans teachers provide. Just to let you know these are busy work because the sub doesn’t have the qualifications to teach. One of the interview questions for new teachers is “many subs are untrained what would you plan for a sub look like?”
Actually, you don’t even need substitute teachers, it’s called, hey, lets do our traditional family on the land trips. The weather is improving, the southern school year is now lost anyway, concerned parent, this is your chance to step up and take back the culture and the traditional learning. Good for you! I hope more people take this opportunity! Why put your childrens learning in anyone else’s hands! You be responsible for the experience! Don’t Come back when the batteries on the phone dies, Or they want to shower! Three months at camp only in the language will be the best spring of their lives!
This is absurd. It’s a flagrant disregard for the safety of the elderly and vulnerable people. They have attained their ultimate level of incompetence.
Let me give you a scenario. A teacher living in Ottawa isolates for 14 days before going back to Nunavut. The agents who hands them their boarding pass is infected but asymptomatic. The teacher is now infected and 3 hours later Covid-19 is loose in Nunavut.
Take a look at Italy or Spain’s numbers. Over 10% of the people infected died. Their advanced healthcare system was simply overwhelmed. Now imagine Nunavut. One half of the people 60 years old and older would die. One quarter of the people over 50 would probably die as well. Maybe only 10% of 20 to 40 year olds would die.
The GN must realize that this scenario is not only possible, but if they go ahead with this stupidity it is almost guaranteed. I take this P A N D E M I C seriously. I’m down south and my last trip to the grocery store was on March 12th, the day after Ottawa had it’s first positive case. I don’t plan on going to the grocery store for at least another 2 weeks, and that’s if we “flatten the curve”. If need be I’m good for another month, after all who can’t afford to lose a few kilos?
The whole world is facing this pandemic. You think China, Italy, Iran, Spain, or the U.S. was bad? Wait a month or two then look at the numbers from Africa and South America, the Indian slums .There will be dead bodies left in the street. Mark my words.
To the Minister of Education and the Premier, is this what you want for Nunavut?
A recent study out of China estimated that about 80% of the people who came down with COVID-19 (including those who died) were infected by carriers who were asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms. In Canada, those people would likely not be detected until too late because testing is still limited and they wouldn’t have priority. The people who weren’t really sick, in other words, were the ones spreading the virus around.
Iceland’s testing, as another datapoint, shows that roughly have the population who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 didn’t show any symptoms.
So the drivers taking the people from isolation to the plane, someone on the flight crew, someone who isn’t in the bus or plane at all but worked on it and was in the cabin just before the flight, any number of ways quarantine can be breached. It’s unlikely, but it only has to to happen once. And those teachers are going to be traveling through provinces when infection rates are peaking.
Unless those teacher go into another two week quarantine immediately after they arrive in their communities, this plan significantly increases the risk. So at the same time as isolated northern communities are slamming the doors shut in a desperate attempt to keep people safe, here comes Education with a battering ram.
“On April 21, a decision will be made according to the recommendation of the CPHO. If school closures persist:
– school staff will be required to resume operations and will be asked to develop continuity of learning plans for all students
– teachers will be provided with clear guidance on how assessments, final report cards, and grade progression will be achieved.
If schools re-open:
– school operations will resume as normal”
They don’t have concrete answers. Teachers can work from home like the rest of the country to provide these resources. There’s no need to travel anywhere until it is safe to do so.
And the GN was doing so good, zero positives for the virus in the territory, putting travelers into hotels to isolate prior to coming north. I have never felt prouder to be a part of a community that could one day be the model for the world to emulate, if a virus pandemic should ever reoccur. But then this. This is not even making sense, to bring teachers from hot zones in the south, with no mandatory 14 day isolation in the south, bringing them within arms length of our most precious resources, our children. I am not sure who it was within GN or the Cabinet who made this lame brain decision. There must be another way to stop paying the teachers who are residing down south. This method certainly may produce alot of casualties, Nunavut wide.
Sadly education in Nunavut is in a sad state. The facts are clear with the low attendance, low graduation rates, and all the vacancies that I’ve been reading about this year. The dept. is struggling to recruit and retain teachers who are the difference makers in our kids lives. Yes, a couple of bad apples but it’s everywhere. But since we’ve been home with our kids for weeks, we can appreciate all the efforts their teachers put in working late to prepare the next day, going in early to feed them, volunteering in sports, music, skills, etc. But now, my kids’ school is at an all time low for attendance (they even lost positions over that), it’s dirtier than ever, staff are not supported/unmotivated from poor leadership, they look so stressed when I pick my kids up at the end of the day. It’s all trickling down from toxic leadership such as the regional school boards. They are the ones giving misinformation to HQ, who ultimately make these decisions. And now they decide to call teachers back to work in 2 weeks….*insert sarcasm here*. Def. coming from regions. I think it is a great idea for two reasons 1) prepare homework packages to send home (which I hope is happening), 2) Even more important, to feed the kids (breakfast bags to hand out or something along those lines). Other than that, Melanie, I feel for you as the “leaders” did not take responsibility for this announcement. But I know for certain that if they call school back before May, I am not sending my kids to school. Nunavut may be at zero now, but we are behind in the rest of the world and if kids go back before it’s done in Canada, it is only a matter of time for COVID-19 to arrive and when it does, we will not be prepared. Tents? *more sarcasm* We will not be immune to it, and we will be the last to get it. And it will be highly likely to arrive amongst some of those 80 who will be returning.
In any other province or territory, the Premier or at least the Minister of Education would hold a press conference to announce this directive, and that would happen concurrently with the sending off the letter in this incredible moment in time. It’s astounding that this very important development is laid out to the public simply by a letter from an ADM. Shocking!!!!
Well what do you expect MLAs are chosen by who has the most family or who is the most popular in the communities they serve not based on education or credentials…
What a bad decision made by the Deputy Minister of Education, no common sense! More cowardly of the Minister of Education himself to allow his Deputy Minister to make the announce -so unreal! There needs to be a petition started now before it’s too late. I have read alot of comments from parents that will not allow their children back to school, I feel their anger.
Does the GN realize that there is no vaccine for Covid-19, and that there is no therapeutic drugs that have been tested and approved?
If the GN wants to be able to hire any teachers from the south for the fall they should;
– declare the school year over due to the pandemic.
– arrange and pay for southern teachers to get home.
– pay teachers until the end of the school year.
The GN needs to understand that the world has now changed, as it did after 9/11. Until we have a vaccine and therapeutics there will be social distancing. The next school year may be 100% online.
The GN needs to start preparing for this eventuality now to be ready for later this year. They won’t but you have been advised.
Amen! Thank you so much for this comment – you have hit the nail on the head! You should speak publicly about this with your wisdom and sensible, educated points.
I appreciate your comments, and I just hope that a few of the skeptics listen as lives actually do depend on it.
Listen to the Public Health experts, Canada has some of the best in the world. We need straight answers from our leaders. The GN has the opportunity to protect all of its citizens, but it can only do that if Covid-19 is kept out of the territory.
Nunavut has zero cases, and zero deaths from Covid-19. Let’s all be smart and keep it that way.
The Hamlet Council and community of Rankin Inlet have spent a lot of money time and resources to follow the GN DIRECTIVE TO Social Distance within our community and stay at home for the past 3 weeks , cancelling all social activities in the community , Is the GN now saying by opening up the schools it is alright to go back to normal , open playgrounds, outdoor rinks , sliding hills after April 21st , because if kids are in school they might as well play together.
I think we need for our community an explanation with this announcement . this chief health officer and Premier should address this announcement.
If any concerned parent is reading these comments, or any government worker who is “jealous” or “enraged” that teachers got a “free vacation” down south let me, as a teacher be VERY CLEAR:
1) We are non-essential workers and were told to go home and socially isolate on March 16th. We were not even allowed into school buildings! Principals were asked to verify that we did not go into the school. This is the same for all teachers. So we were supposed to be “at home”, doing nothing. We did not sneak out of the territory to avoid work duties: there were none.
2) I may collect a pay check from the Nunavut government, and I am PROUD to do so, and teach my incredible students….but I AM NOT A PRISONER IN THE TERRITORY!
3) My entire family and my elderly, highly at risk, parents are in the south. I got on a plane and went to them without a second thought. What if they needed me and I had not been there? These are extraordinary times and I took extraordinary measures. And I would do it again. My family is everything to me. I took no pleasure in leaving my HOME in Nunavut. But my duty is to my family in this huge time of crisis.
4) I don’t want to come back and endanger my home and my friends in my community. I want to work. I will work all day remotely! I am not lazy. Unfortunately, I will not be paid unless I come back. And I, and many of us, cannot afford to be without pay (for ourselves, our mortgages, our family members who depend on our pay). Many others are in the same boat. It is an impossible situation and I feel deeply sorry to be involved in anything that will hurt my home. Which is Nunavut.
I just wanted to say that. Thank you for reading this.
Love what the ‘Community Teacher’ posted above.
Why are folks thinking the very worst of the teachers. If the case is that they can’t possibly be doing what is best for the students and communities then we really do have a big problem.
How can we the public help the teachers here?
Start a petition and I’m sure you will get many support signatures. You can work remotely and check in on students from wherever you are.
This is absolutely a unnecessary power play of control by the GN.
Students should be learning land and life skills right now. Homework should be healthy lifestyle choices and family connections.
Then yes a bit of check in from the teachers. Nothing huge as well are all in survival mode.
If a teacher wants support to stop this ridiculous policy just ask for it. I bet you will get many community members behind you.
Joe the short sighted premier needs to resign, effectively immediately.
COVID-19 GN Update
April 7, 2020
There are still no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut.
This weekend, many Nunavummiut who have been in isolation in the south will be coming back into the territory. I can confirm a few details about their travel back into the territory:
• Clients who have completed their isolation will be bussed from the isolation hotels to the airports and board flights.
• FANS students will be chartered into the territory and then onto their home communities.
• Every effort to limit outside contact at the airports will be made.
• Clients who have completed their 14-day isolation in one of the hotel hubs are
not required to do another isolation in their home community. However – they should continue to monitor their symptoms, practise physical distancing and stay at home except for essential needs.
Remember, these measures apply are our new normal.
Thank to all Nunavummiut for their efforts to protect one another. Please keep it up, and please stay diligent.
Please explain to me how this man speaks out of both sides of his mouth?
Relax folks, have a great rest, don’t lose sleep over this. The fed are boss, not the puppet you see in office Iqaluit. This is Nunavut, overseen by Canada. Anyone want to bet on this one ?
Teachers should not have left the territory. I find it mind-boggling that not only could they do so and still collect their salary, but that they and everyone else is united in wanting them to remain paid while off living their lives elsewhere. If teachers care so much about not spreading Covid, they should not have left and entered a region where it exists, they were safer at home in Nunavut.
Nunavut had and still has 0 cases. Schools should not have been closed when they were. As everyone notes, social distancing is not followed very well anyway, so the kids might as well be in school, they are playing together and visiting anyway while schools are closed.
One thing that is for sure in Nunavut, is that everyone loves being off work, whether it be weather, or a pandemic that is not even in the territory.
Those who left and abandoned the kids leave them no pay and make them isolate and quarantine, teachers have a job to do, shouldn’t have left
David Joanasie, Melanie Abbott,
Trudy Pettigrew, Bill Cooper, Catherine Keeling and all their superintendents need to report to the airports to greet the returning staff with hugs and kisses galore.
Savikataaq, Hickes, and Patterson will get their luggage… I smell a class action lawsuit…”in this the matter of the Nunavut Teachers v. The Nimrods
Seriously, there are 683 filled positions as of the last report. 80 that have to come north….this means 603 are already here in a territory that has self isolation protocols in place. People need to wake up and get out of the fear you’ve dug yourself into. Yes, there are concerns, yes, there is a chance it will come north, but we are doing what we can to mitigate that. Let our kids learn.
Nunavut gov just made bad decision. School should remain closed. Hopefully for those doing 14 day, still not carrying the virus and spread it like wild fire. Stay safe, keep your distance, stay healthy. Government of nunavut should shut down until end of June. To be safe, then sorry.
Nunavut education has found the cure for covid19. They need teachers and students to be back in school. WHO needs to urgently contact the education department for the help it needs. Covid 19 cure.
Not clear on this decision. Is it only teachers mandated to return to work on the 21st OR is it all GN workers? Because teachers are GN workers, therefore, all GN workers should be back to work on the 21st April.
It is amazing the attitude towards teachers. It always comes down to they are overpaid southerners.
Firstly education historical is what has propelled societies to greatness. We need to value education for Nunavut to grow. We will never reach a self sufficient territory.
Secondly out of all GN employees teachers don’t collect overtime unless they are sent out for a conference. They do their work at home are at the school on weekends. They are expected to run extra curricular activities. Constantly spend their own money for resources. Whereas other departments purposefully book duty travel over weekends to get extra holidays and per diem. When was the last time someone from housing or CGS was coaching a soccer team or running a movie night?
Teachers are active members of our communities it time we start valuing them more and then we won’t have problems recruiting them
Yes , indeed the old trapper has spoken truthfully. Bad decision on behalf of nunavut government. What’s two months left. Gov decision is just as bad as the nunavut justice system.
I lived in Iqaluit for many years. I’ve read this piece and I am astounded at the stupidity of the GN. The entire country has cancelled the school year. Ensuring both students and staff are protected during this pandemic and yet in the countries most challenged jurisdiction they are reopening schools! I have no words that can express the absolute stupidity of the person responsible for this. To date NU doesn’t have a case of COVID and they should be thankful and keep up their strong measures. Reopening schools puts everyone in danger. Is the DM nuts. Give your head a shake Cathy and close those schools until this pandemic is over.
This Cabinet seens to have taken the approach that anything goes at the DM level and refuses to take action against any of their studpity- in which there are many examples.
Wuhan lockdown I finally over where it all started it took six and it’s probably going to take six months before everything settles down in north America
The Department of Education is ensuring food security by feeding us this baloney sandwich.
NTA is agreeing with GN for everything . The NTA is not doing anything when teachers are affected whether it is Covid 19 or Airfare issues or talking in front of media by the teachers. We are living in 21st century and no one can intimidate teachers and other stakeholders. Here GN Education department is threatening teachers.
Start a GoFundMe page to hire someone to advocate for the teachers.
You are absolutely correct
I think Nunavut Teacher Association should contact all the teachers and ask their opinion on this issue and file a class action lawsuit
It is true that Nunavut teachers association is not doing anything for the benefit of teachers. If GN not consulted with NTA before they make this decision, NTA should send message to all its members to disagree with this GN decision.
Unfortunately much of this conversation has been derailed by the premise that the schools are planning to re-open; they aren’t. So stop wasting energy on that.
If they aren’t planning to open, then the real question is why is the GN asking all the teachers who left their communities to return?
Answer: so they can prepare homework for their students?
If this is the extent of it, then the next question is how is it possible when all non-essential travel into Nunavut has been banned? This is clearly not essential. We need an explanation for this. The risks involved in bringing these people back into the territory to.. do some paperwork, basically, are not even close to justified. Whatever work the Department wants these teachers to do, can be done remotely. Fact!
If this precipitates the arrival of coronavirus into the territory will our cowardly little minister who couldn’t even make this policy announcement himself take the fall, or will the Premier? Or will the Chief Medical officer finally have something to say about how he let petty GN bureaucrats run roughshod over his polices?
I agree with “who is the Ostrich” GN said stay “put” “isolate” until further notice! Teacher’s you signed up for the “contract” to work in Nunavut! And most of you leave your family in the south to make $$$,these are mostly transient teachers that left.
There are teachers that have been up in Nunavut for many years and are staying put in their community, patiently waiting!
As usual, when these sorts of issues arise, most people neglect to consider that there are laws that govern what is going on and these laws provide direction on what to do.
Nunavut has a Safety Act. The Government of Nunavut is bound by the Safety Act. Under the Safety Act, a worker has the right to refuse work that is unsafe, especially if that worker believes that an unusual danger exists in the workplace.
Certainly, any reasonable person would agree that the risk of contracting Covid-19 by breaking physical distancing to travel and work in a common workplace with multiple employees is an unusual danger.
If a teacher believes they will be risking themselves by reporting to work April 21st, they should refuse with reasons as they are entitled to do.
There go all the nurses then. If you think it’s unsafe to be a teacher sitting at home right now, imagine being a nurse, getting called out 24 hours a day and looking after all the sick people. THAT’s danger.
Nurses work around infectious disease every day. TB, HEP, HIV you name it. Corona virus does not make this any different. Nurses are trained and equipped to handle this workplace risk, unlike teachers. The Safety Act provides the right to refuse unusually dangerous work.
People mention: who would want to send their kids to school to be with teachers where were in the south?
Student’s are not returning to class.
Teacher who went down south, should they really be isolated for 14 days in the south, return to their communities and to work? Is 14 days enough –what about when they are passing through the airports, what about who handles their luggage. Once getting back into the territory, some people will need to take a second flight to get to their community.
And yet another piece to this picture: even without the 80 teachers returning to their communities & schools, there is a serious issue. All the Nunavut residents who haven’t been taking social distancing seriously at all. Spend an hour looking out the front window: people coming and going everywhere. You can see what everyone has been up to by scrolling through FB a few times a day.
All the efforts of people who have been taking this seriously are going to be compromised the minute they start working together.
Oh and Easter long weekend– public community events have been cancelled, but there are to be candies and toys given to kids and bingo over the radio for adults. For days now, people have been commenting that they don’t have a radio or phone and so will be going to other people’s houses to play. Is this type of thing –radio BINGO happening in other NU communities too????? People must play BINGO & nothing will stop them, not even COVID 19.
Sorry to say, the janitors in schools in this town can’t manage to keep schools clean. Their attendance is ridiculous and they use drugs while at work. Serious health protocols will not be followed by all school staff, and all it takes is one or two.
Prepare learning packages that are going to just end up at the dump. Learning Continuum: have you any knowledge of the realities of communities & schools: many students come to school purely to socialized. They are tired & unmotivated. Suddenly they are going to be interested in doing learning????
They have been on FB or playing video games all night or out wandering around ½ the night to escape gambling, drug use and drinking in their homes. Is anyone actually going to work on these learning packages? Perhaps some elementary students.
So tell me, who are we supposed to listen to, the GN or the PM on whether teachers should return to work on April 21st. According to our prime minister, all non-essential staff are to stay at home. What a careless decision to ask the teachers to return to school during a global pandemic. Give your head a shake GN! As for the people who are saying that the teachers just wanted to go south for a break… ITS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC!!! Not a vacation!!! People are getting sick, people are dying, the nation is at a standstill. People want to be close to their families during this terrifying health pandemic spreading around the world. Besides that, out of 39000 Nunavummiut and the GN has only tested 369! Do you really believe that covid19 isn’t in Nunavut?! Out of the 3 territories Nunavut is the lowest of all 3 territories for testing! The GN declared a public health emergency and hasn’t done anything to follow through such as making sure that proper protocol regarding physical distancing and public gatherings is observed. The GN is not enforcing the physical distancing, is it mandatory or a suggestion? From my local observation, mandatory or voluntary isolation based on the honor system is not working and therefore it can turn out to be a petri dish of infection among a small community. It’s like being able to contain a house on fire versus a whole community burning. Do people need to start dying before action is taken. Can we not follow the examples being set all over the world? Nunavummiut are not immune to Covid-19! This virus will find its way here. We need to keep following strict protocols and demand that those in charge protect their citizens. Our health and safety must come before everything else!
One must ask the question, do the GN understand the role of the Federal Government? Do they really understand that they don’t have the authority to do something that contradicts the Federal laws put in place? Move from a controlling employer and think of it from a people perspective. Those 80+ teachers are residents we don’t have to worry about overburdening the health care system when the virus hits our community.
This is a real stupid decision made by a handful of people as usual. Period!!
You can argue all day about paying the teachers, the lack of teachers or the marvellous pool of subs in Nunavut , etc..,
it is still stupid when the entire country is in a virtual lock-down.
One good thing about this article is that it shows that a lot of people read Nunatsiaq News online and care enough about the well being of Nunavut and its people to write comments.
Many schools had March Break before the restriction on non-essential travel was put in place. A number of the teachers in the south are there because they left Nunavut for their March Break and, obeying all federal and provincial instructions, remained where they were and did not travel. They did not put themselves or others at risk by returning to Nunavut. They shouldn’t be shamed for “sheltering in place”.
For the teachers who did leave…people did what they thought was best for themselves and their families. Some people have compromised immune systems and left to be closer to better medical care, some people needed to be with their family or older parents. Nunavut students in the south were returned home to Nunavut to be with their families during this pandemic, so can’t people be a bit more charitable to those who wanted to be with their families? You’re right, maybe it wasn’t the safest decision these people made, but there is a lot of fear going around and so some teachers made the decision to go somewhere where they feel safe. Given the strain this pandemic is causing, people also need to be considering their mental health, and for some people being alone in an apartment doing social distancing and isolating is too much.
Maybe there are some teachers who left for unworthy reasons (what would that be though in this case…?), but this pandemic is real and it will eventually come to Nunavut and people are scared right now . It’s not like anyone in the south is on vacation! Everyone is self-isolating! And the work that teachers could do once direction is given (waiting….) can be done from home, as many other GN workers are doing. As long as the work is being completed does it matter during a pandemic that the teacher is physically out of territory? People have contract work with the GN who aren’t living in Nunavut.
All the accusations being thrown around at teachers are sad to hear. There are always some bad apples in every basket and there are some bad teachers, but most teachers work very very hard and are never recognized for what they do each day-work that the majority of people could not tolerate for very long. Behaviour in many classrooms is so bad that most schools have a difficult time finding subs to come in. Many Inuit teachers leave the profession after a few years because other GN jobs are less work, pay the same or more and allow better leave options. Our schools have lost many talented people because teaching is so much work and often challenging. Teachers do not have it easy.
Teachers are willing to work right now-but from home, wherever that currently is. Teachers are not avoiding work. There is a lot of frustration over the lack of a decision being made on the school year when that decision is being made across the country. The country is shut down and most provinces have cancelled the rest of the school year. Is it unreasonable to assume that the same will hold true for Nunavut given Nunavut’s Chief Medical Officer has said that social distancing will be in place for months? The writing is on the wall. The GN wants total control over its employees, especially its teachers and is willing to risk lives to enforce it-that is the optics of this situation.
Thank you for putting this into words. This is the situation through clear eyes.
This comment section is full of quotable quotes for an amazing follow-up piece, of varying viewpoints. Nunatsiaq, you’ve started the discussion: NOW help get the people’s voices heard! I think a second article should be written ASAP!
Teachers were sent a letter from the Nunavut Teachers Association this morning. Isn’t he letter it officially states that WE WILL NOT BE DISTRIBUTING PACKAGES TO STUDENTS AND THEN MARKING THEM. This is seems “too dangerous”.
So. Exactly why are we forcing teachers to return? What exactly is it that they cannot do remotely? A political power move and nothing more.
Nunavut already has a HUGE issue finding and retaining teachers. When the government shows their cards we see why: no support, bad press, and they simply do not care about them.
This will be the first thing in the media that a prospective new teacher sees when they google “teaching in Nunavut” for the next 2 years. Let that sink in. Good luck attracting new teachers now…..
At least the union has responded— why are teachers and school staff being forced to return to the school: to produce hundred’s of pages of photocopies of stuff that the union says will not be returned to schools or teachers for for assessment. This is happening because the GN lacks the capacity for shifting to online learning & Nunavut has internet that is far too expensive. There wouldn’t be all these issues if Nunavut teachers could teach remotely. The only assessment will be the final report card. Most of my high school students were failing badly before the school’s shut. They refused to do homework of any sort. Now suddenly they will start working? Lack of intrinsic motivation and poor choices for the 18 hours a day that they aren’t in school. Then there are the many kids who live in horrible situation– it’s not their fault. These students are only capable of doing work many grade levels below the courses they are registered in –this is why it is often necessary for them to repeat academic courses because it takes that to bring them closer to the actual grade level where they might possibly manage to do enough work to eventually pass. This is all connected to social promotion that happens from K-9 (in high school too).
Can I start my report cards now? I can do those from home.
According to NTA email this morning “Department to agree that no work packages will be collected or returned to teachers, for safety reasons.” Then why GN is insisting teachers to go to the school.
One thing to keep in mind, with the Spanish flu pandemic the second wave was more deadly than the first wave.
At this time there is no vaccine and no approved therapeutic drugs to treat people infected with the virus. Since a vaccine usually takes 12 – 18 months to be developed, tested, and distributed it’s likely that we will not have a vaccine when the second wave hits.
The only things that we can do are;
– social distancing to disrupt the transmission.
– greatly increased testing to detect asymptomatic carriers.
– tracking and isolation of carriers.
This virus, and the new social behaviours required will be with us going forward, and at least until there is a vaccine. Get used to staying 2 meters apart and wearing face masks people.
And hope that the virus does not mutate into an even deadlier form.
Will someone please stand up and accept responsability for this idiotic proposal. I would like to know. Their petty jealousy has the possibility to harm many people in our Territory. If you want to save money that bad start by getting rid of the genius that dreamt this proposal up. As for the Teachers coming back to Nunavut to work from home I think they would be wiser to stay south as our internet here is impossible to get any work done.
I cannot wait for the premier’s live update this afternoon –Ministers of Education & Health better be there. Chief medical officer too. I’d like to see the DM & ADM of education there too.
I hope all of your phones have been ringing off the hook & inboxes have melted from your stupid decisions. I hope all of this has hit national media: you all deserve to be raked over the coals.
Good luck with teacher retention this yer: even better luck with hiring new teachers too.
Let’s go NTA: draw an even bigger line in the sand. Do we not have the right to refuse unsafe working conditions? We can work from home
*Reporters for various news agencies please have your questions ready. Can you also please do interviews with the NTA?
Those who bring up southern teachers here for the pay: there are a large number of Inuit teachers who, with their yrs of eduction & years teaching are in the highest category of pay. They also receive $2400-$5000/yr in language allowance pay: hum, Inuit teachers making more than southern teachers. that there are issues with finances comes down to things like smokes, pop addictions & BINGO.
They need to put all political reasons aside and start thinking logically.
Bottom Line – Why are they forcing the population to get bigger when the healthcare system is so limited they’re already saying they’ll have to fly people back down south if they are sick enough (and to add.. only 7 ventilators in the territory).
This administration was doing quite well to this point in managing the covid-19 issue. This request doesn’t really make sense to me. 1st. Nunavut has the highest non-attendance numbers in the country. It’s not like 70-80 percent easing to complete the school year. 2nd. Spring weather, on top of the high numbers of non attendees-a fare amount of kids that do go to school will now be hunting, fishing, geese hunting/camping. Attendance will be even lower. 3, other jurisdiction are now closing their schools for the yr., clearly a pro-active move to minimize infection. 4. We have the highest number of homes that are over crowding, and most of the kids will go to their grandparents for lunch-or after school. Direct to the most vulnerable. 5. That many teachers flying in from the south- 2 weeks isolation in the south alone is not practical. 6. To play it safe- to add one or two more weekS to quarantine brings the schools at ready by mid to end of May. Right in the high season for hunting/camping. A totally stupid move on our government.
Media needs to read these very valid comments and make the rest of the country aware of this unethical decision made by the government.
And this needs to be done immediately.
This decision will deter many new teachers thinking of applying for jobs in Nunavut. It is a shame that our government has made happen.
Contacting the PM to be made aware of this decision is not an overreaction, it is actually quite necessary.
Hey, the main problem is that the gov’t/dept of ed/the powers that be – do not have the know-how, work ethic, or desire to create online learning alternatives for our students. Can’t they ask the HelpDesk or Educator Development to assist instead of endangering the lives on our vulnerable and cherished Elders by forcefully and illogically mandating that teachers return? There are blaring holes in the return efforts as many before me have highlighted. This is will be something that will be apologized for in the future… have we learnt nothing from past abuses of power and uninformed decisions? Some of our Elders were extracted and taken to Sanatoriums in the South to combat TB. We will no longer do that; we’ll just have our teachers bring it to them. I think this outlandish, grand-standing decision will undo any “reconciliation” efforts that have been put forth. TRC… are you listening?
HelpDesk (currently) is not busy sending out emails about how and why they will refuse to be helpful to GN employees… perhaps they could be of some assistance in this matter? Or any matter?
If the relocation officer of the Qikiqtani School Operations has anything to do with getting the southern teachers re-entry into the territory… there’s no need for concern. This pandemic will be a distant memory!
It appears that all Naujaat staff left. There’s only a chance of getting Covid-19 in southern Canada. When you compare that to the guarantee of getting physically assaulted at the school… it doesn’t seem that bad.
And Whale Cove is going to have an emergency meeting: the entire town do NOT want southern teachers to return due to health concerns. They want to keep them out!! If they make these wishes clear who gets to decide what happens: the government or the local government? I’m glad some communities are doing the right thing and fighting back against this order!
The Department of Health needs to hear these concerns, this is one way they the decision could get retracted.
My advice: Contact them with your concerns, the more they get, the more they will understand the weight of this poor decision.
Something to add, they just sent up 6,000 masks to Nunavut and they are still in a “State of Emergency” – these are actions taken knowing that this battle is far from over.
Why take these sensible actions, then send 80+ people back into all different communities (who could very well contract COVID-19 during the isolation down south and in airports) to – in all honesty – print a few booklets.
Make the Department of Health aware of your concerns.
Teachers have a signed contract and are required to work. There is nothing unfair about this and nothing dangerous. FANS students, medical travel patients and GN employees are brought back into Nunavut as well and after they have completed their controlled self isolation period in a hotel. There are many essential workers in the GN and they are going to work as well and some do this from home. Stop crying about the dangerous outcome this could cause, Nunavut has been pretty well protected and is continuing to do this. If you want to protect your community from death, stop smoking, drinking and don’t do drugs. As identified in the article, it is not known at this time if the students are being called back into the schools, if home instructions are being delivered, or if the school year will be cancelled all together. Never the less, teachers have to fulfill their contract and stay until this becomes true. So please, all of the commenters, stop bitching around
It appears the teachers’ comments are just digging a bigger hole for themselves to try and get out of.
I’m not sure what ‘hole’ are you talking about? I find the teachers comments to be interesting, informative and worth reading. Especially when compared to the deluge of comments clearly motivated by jealousy, ignorance and petty little gripes, that offer no useful or even interesting information whatsoever.
Anything you say or do can be used against you.
With all this getting overblown, it’s wise to not let your emotions control your actions or what you write.
It appears your comment of jealousy, ignorance and gripes are your true colours about your views of everyone else. In that case, those who “fled” are the selfish ones.
Well, since the comments in question are anonymous I really don’t see how your concern applies. Who will be “hanged” exactly?
As for suggesting they fled, maybe you don’t understand the situation very well. Many of the teachers who left did so for spring break. They are entitled to do that, there were no travel restrictions in place at the time. They were unable to return as the travel ban went in place after.
There are now though, in fact the Chief Medical Officer has stated that there should be no non-essential travel into Nunavut. Do you not find this situation problematic for that reason? Doesn’t that bother you? Or… are you just hoping to see someone stick it to the teachers?
A bit ironic that you talk about the need to regulate our emotions in our comments. Nice…
Just a question on timing.
This letter went out on April 7th. They have to be back in two weeks (April 21). They are also to follow the protocol of strict two week isolation before the trip.
I’m curious how that works. If it’s the same setup the GN used to brings students home, to be back on the 21st means they would have had to be in those hotels yesterday, the same day the notice went out, even if they weren’t already in Edmonton, Winnipeg, or Ottawa. If they’re not in those cities right now, they can’t be back on the 21st unless they cut short the mandatory two weeks. If they’re supposed to isolate themselves starting yesterday, and they aren’t in those cities, that means they’ll have to break that 14 day quarantine to travel to those cities via commercial or private transport.
In other words, there is no way any of the teachers who weren’t already in Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Ottawa and instantly moved into those hotels (and did the hotels know they’re coming by the way?) to both make it back on the 21st and abide by the two week quarantine before entering Nunavut. It is literally impossible to make it back on the 21st and follow the quarantine rules at the same time.
And if they aren’t staying in those hotels, with the measures in place to ensure quarantine, how does the GN know they’ve maintained the proper isolation?
In the Kitikmeot we have students who are not taught but a few show up to school at last part of the school year. Empty classrooms. Who is responsible should the pandemic hit our communities? How are you going to decide who gets treated due to lack of treatment?Why not shut the school year down and start in the fall?
Think many will want to apply to be teachers in Nunavut after this?
There have been many comments made about the GN’S descion to bring back the teachers from the south.
The people who decided this should look up the meaning of the word Pandemic. This Virus is killing thousands in countries that have modern health care systems. What is going to happen if just one of these teachers is a carrier of Covid-19. And brings it back into Nunavut that has, third world health care. People will become very sick some will die. Who will have the blood on their hands for making this reckless descion. Every MLA that agrees to move forward with reopening schools. For once all of you speak up for the people of Nunavut. Just say NO.
Oh no! who in their right mind would make this decision in the midst of a pandemic that is killing at random? Risking your children’s, parent’s, and teachers health could have a high price. Nunavik closed the school year and Nunavut should do the same. There is a time to wait for better times. Our families are …
Government has told everyone to stay home and now they are covering hotel and meal costs for southerners to leave their homes to come to Nunavut. The government can’t even say if they will be teaching a class when they come here. This is so Idiotic and dumb!
I find this so upsetting on so many levels. Look after your employees and they will look after you or in this case our children.
I can image the stress this has caused so many families. Here we have a government once again whose actions do not meet the words coming out of their mouth.
They are causing so much stress and for what? This is devastating to watch when so many people both Inuit and non-Inuit deal with mental health issues. May god forgive them. Because I will never look at these decisions makers the same.
Do the right thing and dont drag this out any longer.
“If schools are reopened to students on this date, classes will resume, and school staff and administrators will be supported in bringing back school operations and student learning back on track as efficiently as possible,” Abbott said.
Hi Melanie, is this the way you assess this situation. .. re if schools reopens by 21st. Are you in your right mind? And may I ask, what knowledge or background do you have in educational pedagogy to take such lead in education? The GN should seek to find out the originator of this,
And where is the Union that get the teachers money every month. Shouldn’t they be standing behind their teachers.
They too are part of the problem. All these union reps, all they do is play games with their teachers mind (sic).
And where is the DEAs voice now.
Now Paul Quassa should raise his head and voice.
I won’t be surprised there will be a cabinet reshuffling soon and the deputy minister bounce back to the department of Interrogations & Affairs.
In Quebec over 90% of covid19 deaths are people over age 60. Do we really want to lose 90% of Nunavut’s elders unnecessarily??? That is what the GN is risking by insisting on bringing in over 90 Nunavut teachers currently in southern Canada. The risk is too high even if they are put in quarantine down south but not tested. Please Nunavummiut tell the MLAs, KIA and NTI, DEA, and the Premier not to risk the lives of your elders (and potentially your own lives and the lives of your children) by bringing teachers back into Nunavut when the number of covid19 cases and deaths is still increasing every day in southern Canada!!
This article should have been better worded, right???
Teacher that flew south during this time are due back into their teaching communities and was given news that there will be an update on the 20th! When teachers return to the North, they are to follow protocol; isolating for 14 days or longer ? There are quite a few teacher that left to be with their families with their own choice and they knew the risks they were taking. In my opinion, they should consider shutting the schools down for the rest of the year, as they would be back just for a little over a month?
Should’ve known they put theirselves at risk and coming back to the North, just putting us Nunavummiut in danger with this virus, here NO KNOWN CASES IN NUNAVUT.
Just had to say what I said.