Nunavut students allowed to return home after isolation in Ottawa or Winnipeg for 14 days

“Students who wish to return home now will require immediate isolation in central points for a 14-day period”

Post-secondary students studying in the south can now return to Nunavut, but will be required to spend 14 days in isolation in either Ottawa or Winnipeg, the Government of Nunavut announced on Monday. Students studying inside the territory will also be contacted to arrange travel home if desired. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

New isolation rules for Nunavummiut returning to the territory apply to students wishing to return, the Government of Nunavut announced on Monday, March 23.

The travel restrictions were announced by the territory’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new rules mean only residents of Nunavut  and critical workers can enter the territory starting Wednesday, March 25, and residents have to self-isolate for 14 days before boarding a plane to Nunavut.

“Those students who wish to return home now will require immediate isolation in central points for a 14-day period prior to an arranged charter plane to return to Nunavut,” Yvonne Niego, deputy minister of family services, said at a press conference in Iqaluit on Monday.

Post-secondary students from Nunavut are spread across the country. The GN will fly students to Ottawa or Winnipeg to enter isolation for 14 days, before providing charter flights for them to return to the territory.

Students returning to Baffin Island will be in isolation in Ottawa before flying, while students returning to the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions will be in isolation in Winnipeg.

“If you wish to get home as soon as possible, please be packed and ready to get to one of the two mustering points,” Niego said, referring to Ottawa and Winnipeg.

“There will be maximum baggage amounts for both the commercial airlines and for the final chartered flight.”

A GN release sent out March 19 had originally told students not to book travel home “until further notice.”

“During the period of quarantine in Ottawa and Winnipeg, the students will have access to tools to complete their studies, will have access to health professionals who will check in to ensure their health needs are met,” Niego said.

For students who wish to stay south to complete their term, and return to Nunavut after, the Financial Assistance for Nunavut Students program will cover travel costs.

For post-secondary students studying in Nunavut at Nunavut Arctic College, arrangements for returning home will be sent out on Tuesday, March 24, Niego said.

“It is my understanding that Kivalliq and Kitikmeot students have already made arrangements and followed through with those. There are students in Baffin or Qikiqtani region that need to connect with the college first of all to check out of their current accommodations and then with the student financial assistance team, to arrange for their travel home,” Niego said.

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