Sanikiluaq schools cut to half capacity due to COVID-19 spread

195 confirmed cases reported in 15 Nunavut communities on Friday

Sanikiluaq is the latest Nunavut community that will see schools reopen at half capacity on Monday, due to a rising number of COVID-19 infections. (File photo)

By Mélanie Ritchot

On the Friday afternoon before Nunavut students are slated to re-enter classrooms, schools in Sanikiluaq have been reduced to 50-per-cent capacity due to the number of COVID-19 cases in the community.

Dr. Michael Patterson, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, made the announcement in a news release after confirmed cases in the community rose to 14.

“The restriction will reduce the risk of transmission to students and staff, while keeping schools open safely,” he said.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Sanikiluaq, which has a population of about 1,000, have climbed from a single case on Sunday to 14 on Friday.

Students across Nunavut will return to classes in some capacity on Monday, with schools in most communities gearing up for 100-per-cent capacity for in-class learning.

Schools in Baker Lake, Cambridge Bay, Iqaluit, Kinngait, Arviat, Rankin Inlet and now Sanikiluaq will re-open at half capacity.

Patterson will re-evaluate the situation in each community weekly to determine at what capacity schools should be operating in person.

Education Minister Pamela Gross said in the release that all schools in the territory have prepared cohort plans based on specific safety guidelines in case they need to move to 50 per cent capacity.

In Sanikiluaq, school staff will contact students and their families to give more information about the cohorts and schedules, Gross said.

Daycares are all still allowed to operate at full capacity in Nunavut.

In Iqaluit, a daycare remains closed due to a COVID-19 exposure as testing and contact tracing continue.

Nunavut’s COVID-19 case count rested just under 200 as Nunavummiut entered the weekend.

A total of 195 confirmed active cases were reported on Friday among 15 communities, up from 175 cases on Thursday.

The total recoveries reported were 428 on Friday, the same count as Thursday since recoveries are now only updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There were a total of 195 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut on Friday. (Graphic by Mélanie Ritchot)

Confirmed case breakdown:

  • Arviat — 38
  • Baker Lake — 36
  • Cambridge Bay — 17
  • Chesterfield Inlet — 1
  • Coral Harbour — 4
  • Iqaluit — 24
  • Gjoa Haven — 1
  • Kinngait — 17
  • Naujaat — 12
  • Qikiqtarjuaq — 1
  • Rankin Inlet — 17
  • Sanikiluaq — 14
  • Sanirajak — 5
  • Taloyoak — 5
  • Whale Cove — 3

Patterson and Premier P.J. Akeeagok will hold updates on the COVID-19 situation in Nunavut Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m. next week, which can be streamed on the legislative assembly’s website.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sanikiluaqmiu on

    Government of NUNAVUT is using Sanikiluaq kids as Guinea pigs!

  2. Posted by And so it begins… on

    This school situation is going to be ridiculous. The promise of rapid tests, I hope it will be executed better than the laptops that schools have been promised for 2 years. Communities are still waiting on those huh. Let’s see where schools are in 2 weeks. Govt offices closed to the public… the rationale for that, would it conflict with the opening of schools? Or I think adults who have the opportunity to be vaccinated and then hide away in a cubicle should be more protected than some children who are unvaccinated because their communities do not have supply or resources to administer shots. Go NU. Qauna for the question

  3. Posted by Nighmare on

    This entire outbreak has been a nightmare. Oh by the way, we are reducing testing now as we have no staff and the staff we have is burned out. Which is it? COVID is becoming an endemic or still staying a pandemic, tired of the back and forth of decision makers.

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