On March 25, 2020, Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) Minister R.J. Simpson and NWT education leaders issued a news release recommending that all territorial schools remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
"Due to the significant health concerns posed by COVID-19 and the importance of following direction from the chief public health officer on social distancing as a way to keep students, staff and communities safe, education leaders have agreed with the recommendation from Minister Simpson that schools be closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year," the news release stated.
"Minister Simpson, education leaders and the Northwest Territories Teachers' Association (NWTTA) recognize the serious impact school closures will have on students, parents, staff and communities, and have agreed that a plan is required to support continued learning for all students, especially those in Grade 12, to achieve their education and career goals.
"While the immediate priority is not to provide lessons or give instruction it is necessary to identify and secure essential services for supporting students and communities. All parties share the strong interest of parents and communities in ensuring opportunities for continued learning. The NWTTA has advised that teachers are prepared and willing to help students and communities however they can during this unprecedented time.
"The continuation of meal programs, along with counselling and other health and wellness programming, have been identified by ECE, the chief public health officer and education bodies as essential to NWT communities, and work is ongoing to identify which positions and individuals will be involved in providing these programs and services during school closures."
On March 24, 2020, the Board of Trustees of Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) approved a motion to extend class cancellations for its six schools until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. YK1, ECE, the NWTTA and other regional education bodies continue to hold daily conference calls to discuss shared priorities and objectives.
To ensure that students, parents and stakeholders remain informed, YK1 has launched a webpage where pertinent and timely information will be shared on a regular basis. Click here to learn more.