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COVID-19 Department of Education Services update

27 July 2020

Department of Education Services, July 27, 2020

On Friday, July 24, the Department of Education release the 2020-21 Opening Plan for Nunavut Schools: Health and Safety.

Because there are no confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, all schools will open, as scheduled, for the new school year, unless otherwise directed by Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO).

To see when your school opens and the Department of Education’s 2020-21 Opening Plan for Nunavut Schools, visit: https://gov.nu.ca/education/information/2020-21-opening-plan-nunavut-schools

Planning for 2020-21 School Year

  • All schools will open, as scheduled, for the new school year, unless otherwise directed by CPHO.
  • 4 stages have been developed to direct school operations depending on the impacts of COVID-19 in each community.
  • The CPHO will determine when a community moves from stage to stage.
  • For updates, check the Department of Education website and listen to GN press conferences.

Educators/School Staff

  • Educator recruitment is on track for the 2020-21 school year.
    • There are currently 30 open educator positions across the territory.
  • Teachers and school staff are not defined as critical workers and are required to follow the same isolation process as other Nunavummiut returning to the territory.
  • The department worked with the Department of Health to secure reservations in the hubs and return travel dates and ensure out of territory school staff could return for the start of the school year.

Health and Safety Restrictions

  • Health and safety restrictions are different in schools than everywhere else for several reasons:
    • It is critical to balance the risk of direct infection and transmission of COVID-19 in children with the harms of school closure on their physical and mental health. 
    • Current evidence suggests that children may be less susceptible to COVID-19 infection and may be less likely to transmit the virus to others.
    • Schools are controlled environments, and any potential spread of the virus can be managed and tracked more easily.
  • The Department of Education, the CPHO, and DEAs/CSFN were involved in the development of the health and safety plans.
  • Cleaning will be enhanced in all schools, and custodians will receive guidelines and training.

Learning and Instruction

  • The focus in the first several months of school will be on learning recovery, assessment, and instruction.
  • School staff will receive guidelines and a toolkit for learning, instruction, and assessment, including information on remote instruction, and expectations for communicating with students.

Physical distancing and masks

  • Physical distancing requirements depend on the stage a community is in.
  • Adjusting the percentage of students in school will help support limited contact between students, as needed.
  • The department will work with schools and DEAs in Stages 2 and 3 regarding physical distancing requirements, including organizing students by cohort.
  • In general, the use of masks is not recommended for children.
    • At the discretion of the CPHO, there may be some instances where students should wear masks.
    • Some school staff may wear masks, if they are unable to physically distance when required by the CPHO.
  • School assemblies will be avoided so as not to mix classroom cohorts.

 


Department of Education Services, July 20, 2020

The Department of Education will be releasing the 2020-21 Opening Plan for Nunavut Schools at the end of July.

Keeping our staff and students safe is the Department of Education’s highest priority. By working closely with the Chief Public Health Officer, and providing clear guidelines around health and safety, the Department of Education can ensure that our students are learning in a safe, supportive environment.

 


Department of Education Services, July 13, 2020

Since March 17, when schools were closed to students, the Department of Education has been working diligently in preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 school year, specifically addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information on plans and guidelines for opening schools will be made available to the public as they are finalized. These will include detailed guidelines on health and safety, as well as recovery learning and assessment, and student and staff wellbeing.

The Department of Education will be releasing the first document of its school opening plan later this month, after it has been reviewed by the Chief Public Health Officer and the department has heard from education stakeholders.

Keeping our staff and students safe is the Department of Education’s highest priority. By working closely with the Chief Public Health Officer, and providing clear guidelines around health and safety, the Department of Education can ensure that our students are learning in a safe, supportive environment.

On Wednesday, July 15, David Joanasie, Minister of Education, and Dr. Michael Patterson, Chief Public Health Officer, will be teleconferencing with District Education Authorities, the Commission scolaire francophone du Nunavut, and the Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities to discuss health and safety considerations related to the Department of Education’s school opening plan.

 


Department of Education Services, July 6, 2020

Since March 17, when schools were closed to students, the Department of Education has been working diligently in preparation for the upcoming 2020-21 school year, specifically addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information on plans and guidelines for opening schools will be made available to the public as they are finalized. These will include detailed guidelines on health and safety, as well as recovery learning and assessment, and student and staff wellbeing.

The Department of Education will be releasing the first document of its school opening plan later this month, after it has been reviewed by the Chief Public Health Officer and the department has heard from education stakeholders.

Keeping our staff and students safe is the Department of Education’s highest priority. By working closely with the Chief Public Health Officer, and providing clear guidelines around health and safety, the Department of Education can ensure that our students are learning in a safe, supportive environment.

 


Department of Education Services, May 28, 2020

The Department of Education has developed guidelines for child-care facility reopening, including information on enhanced cleaning and hygiene, and physical distancing during drop-off and pick-up. For more information go to:

English - https://gov.nu.ca/education/information/child-care-facility-guidelines-re-opening-june-1-2020

Inuktitut - https://gov.nu.ca/iu/education/information/pairivvinnut-atuagait-matuikanniqpata-juuni-1-2020mit

Inuinnaqtun - https://gov.nu.ca/in/ilinniaqtuliqiyikkut/information/nutaqqiqiviit-igluqpaini-maligahat-angmaffaaqata-imaruqtirviani-1

French - https://gov.nu.ca/fr/education/information/directives-pour-la-reouverture-des-etablissements-de-garde-denfants-le-1er

 


Department of Education Services, May 25, 2020

The Department of Education has developed guidelines for child-care facility reopening, including information on enhanced cleaning and hygiene, and physical distancing during drop-off and pick-up.

The Department of Education will be connecting with all licensed child-care facilities in the coming days.

 

Department of Education Services, May 8, 2020

Child Care Facilities

  • From March 17 to April 21, 2020, the Government of Nunavut provided licenced child care facilities $885,000 to cover parental fees. This funding enabled facilities to continue paying staff while transitioning to financial assistance programs offered by the Government of Canada, such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canadian Wage Subsidy Program.
  • The Canadian Wage Subsidy Program covers 75% of staff’s wages and has now been extended beyond June.
  • The Department of Education provides licenced child care facilities with
    $4.2 million annually in operation and maintenance funding. This funding will continue while facilities are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Department of Education continues to provide licencing for child care facilities, training for staff, and create and distribute educational resources.
  • The Government of Nunavut continues to work with the Government of Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the regional Inuit organizations, and other stakeholders to support child care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Department of Education Services, April 30, 2020

Schools in Pond Inlet are closed to the community, including school staff, until further notice.

The physical distribution of student learning packages in Pond Inlet has been suspended until further notice.

All Department of Education staff, including school staff, are to work from home if possible.

These measures are to ensure the health and safety of Pond Inlet students, families, and staff.

The Department of Education will provide support to other Government of Nunavut departments as needed.


Department of Education Services, April 29, 2020

Student Learning Packages

  • Many students have already received an initial learning package from their teachers.
    • Most packages include learn-at-home work and activities for one or two weeks at a time.
    • Learning packages are focused on strengthening skills in literacy, numeracy, and health and wellbeing.
    • There is a mix of paper and electronic-based work, depending on the student and their circumstance.
  • Students and families should expect to receive learning packages for the rest of the school year.
  • Learning packages are designed to reinforce the skills students have already learned and will not be expected to be assessed by teachers toward final grades.
  • The department has provided continuity of learning guidelines for all school staff, which outline a number of ways that school staff can communicate with students and families.
  • The department would like to thank all school staff for supporting their students and their families during these unprecedented times.

Early Learning and Child Care Support

  • Following direction from the Chief Public Health Officer, all child care facilities must remain closed to children until further notice.
  • During this closure, the Department of Education has and will continue to pay all regular O&M funding to licensed child care facilities.
    • This should account for a significant portion of the monthly operating costs of a facility.
    • Because the day care closures were sudden and unexpected, the department paid parental fees temporarily to ensure facilities could continue to pay their staff, and to allow time for facilities to apply for federal subsidies, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The total cost of this funding provided was $885,000.
  • Department of Education staff are ready to support child-care facilities in their applications to these federal programs, and we have been communicating with all facilities around this.
  • The department continues to explore further options to support child care facilities, including possible use of federal funds.

 


Department of Education Services, April 17, 2020

Minister of Education update:

Ullukkut,

The well-being and success of Nunavut’s children and youth is the top priority of the Department of Education. In these uncertain times, we want to make sure students have the opportunity to thrive, and to pursue any future path they desire.

With students’ well-being in mind, I am announcing that as of today, all schools in Nunavut will be closed to students for the rest of the 2019-20 school year.

This closure is supported by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO).

Because students have already missed over a month of class time, it is even more important that all school staff report to work on April 21, 2020.

As in other provinces and territories, Nunavut’s school staff are vital to ensuring our students do not fall behind in their education.

The Department of Education has developed guidelines to help school staff prepare learning packages to meet the specific needs of their students. Staff will work with students and their families to determine how best to support learning.

This means that for our students in Kindergarten to Grade 9, teachers will prioritize literacy and numeracy, while strengthening the skills and knowledge that have been taught so far this school year.

For high school students, teachers and administrators will evaluate their individual situations. Some students may already have completed the credits they need to graduate. Others may need to complete specific courses to be eligible to graduate. Teachers may provide opportunities for students to upgrade their marks or earn the credits they need by completing suggested assignments and projects.

Teachers will review their students’ outcomes to date, align them with skills that need to be strengthened, and take into consideration what is possible for them to accomplish at home. There will be a strong focus on supporting health and wellness, literacy, and numeracy for all students. This includes household projects and activities that allow families to learn together, such as reading together, journal writing, and projects that draw on the creativity of students.

The Department is also aware that many families are currently on the land and may not be able to receive student learning packages. On-the-land activities like hunting and fishing complement student learning, and the department encourages these activities.

Realizing Nunavut’s technology limitations, especially in some of our smaller communities, students’ continued learning will not be entirely online. This means that students’ learning packages will take many forms -- some will be paper-based, some will be activity-based, and some will be electronic. However, all of them will give students an opportunity to further their learning.

Wherever possible, teachers will be asked to check in with families weekly, to see how they are progressing and if they need any extra support or resources. The best way to communicate -- either by phone, text, GN email, or through other online portals -- will be determined with students and families.

Beyond creating student learning packages, staff also will be supporting students by assessing their work prior to the school closure to determine final grades, and preparing year-end report cards.

To Nunavut’s high school students and their families, a reminder that all departmental exams are cancelled for the school year. For those Grade 12 students on track to graduate, I want to assure you that principals and teachers will work with you to ensure you complete any necessary requirements. We are here to help you succeed and realize your goals.

Finally, school staff will also plan and prepare for the 2020-21 school year, particularly with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic in mind.

For school staff who have voluntarily returned to work and have already been preparing learning packages, many students and families recognize your hard work and expressed their appreciation. As a parent, and as Minister of Education, I want to express my sincere gratitude to you for your dedication and enthusiasm. Thank you for your efforts and commitment to Nunavut’s students.

We all want the best for our children and youth. The Department of Education appreciates the support and patience Nunavummiut and our education partners have shown during these unprecedented times. The uncertainty has not been easy, but we will make it through, together. Stay safe everyone.

Qujannamiik, quana, thank you, merci.

Department of Education Services

  • Students in Nunavut will not have class for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year.
  • School staff will continue to work to support learning at home until the end of the school year.
  • Students will be receiving learning packages from their schools to support learning at home.
  • School staff will connect with families over the coming weeks.
  • All high school diploma exams for this year are cancelled, and high school marks will be based on course work only.
  • All students will receive a year-end report card.

Department of Education Services, April 15, 2020

To ensure staff at licenced child care facilities continue to be paid, the Department of Education will fund parental fees for all licensed child care facilities up to April 21, 2020.

The Government of Nunavut has taken strict measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19, this is why child care facilities must remain closed until further notice.


Department of Education Services, April 8, 2020

Minister of Education update

Yesterday, the Department of Education sent a letter to all school staff about returning to work in their home communities on April 21, 2020. This is specific to STAFF ONLY, so that they can prepare and develop continuity of learning plans in the case the school closure is extended.

I want to clarify the numbers I provided yesterday – there are 1,185 staff who work in schools across the territory. Ninety-three (93) of these staff are currently out of the territory, making their way back to their home communities. This represents eight per cent (8%) of all school staff.

Teachers across the country are working hard to support learning at home for students so that they are not disadvantaged by the school closure. Our students deserve the same supports, and this is why we are asking teachers to work during this time.

Teachers returning to work will focus on supporting students in their education and their wellbeing by developing learning packages. This is particularly important for those students that do not have access to online resources and those who are on specialized learning plans.

School staff who may have travelled out of territory must undergo a mandatory 14-day isolation period in a GN-designated isolation hub in the south before returning to Nunavut. This is the same process that all Nunavut residents, FANS students, and medical travel patients returning to Nunavut have been following. This process was established under the orders of the Chief Public Health Officer.

Nunavut residents, including school staff, are responsible for their travel costs to return home to Nunavut. The GN is covering the cost of the isolation hubs for all Nunavut residents, including school staff.

All GN staff, including teachers, are expected to work from within the territory. We will address any requests from staff who currently are out-of-territory to work remotely on a case-by-case basis.

The Department of Education has been in continuous contact with the Nunavut Teachers’ Association (NTA) and the Coalition of Nunavut DEAs.

They both support the decision to bring teachers back to work to ensure that students can continue to learn and are supported during school closures.

Schools will only be reopened to students once the Chief Public Health Officer determines it is safe to do so. However, we need our staff back at work by April 21 to prepare for our students’ success and progress, whatever the next step may be.


Department of Education Services, April 7, 2020

As of April 7, teachers currently in-territory can go back to school on a voluntary basis, in order to start developing learning packages for students. Guidelines on the delivery of those packages to students are being finalised by the Department of Education.

All school staff are expected to return to work in their home communities on April 21, 2020. Teachers that are currently out of territory must undergo a 14-day isolation period in a designated isolation hub before returning to Nunavut. If teachers cannot begin their 14-day isolation period in time for their return on April 21, they must contact their principal and provide information on travel plans and correspondence with the isolation hubs to support any expected delays.

On April 21, a decision will be made according to the recommendation of the Chief Public Health Officer.

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.

In both cases, departmental exams for high school students have been cancelled until the end of June.


Department of Education Services, April 3, 2020

On Tuesday, April 7, school staff will be able to access schools on a voluntary basis should they wish to prepare learning packages for students.

The department has a working group developing guidelines for teachers identifying grade-specific areas of focus for learning packages. Packages may look different for each student.

School access is for operational purposes only and not for recreation or other non-education-related activities.

The department has also provided all schools with health and safety protocols related to COVID-19, including respiratory etiquette, hand washing, and physical distancing.


Department of Education Services, March 31, 2020

Minister of Education update:

Since March 17, Nunavut schools have been closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, parents and caregivers have been asking for educational resources to help their children continue to learn.

Today I am announcing that the Department of Education has developed a learn-at-home website, Angirrami Ilinniarniq (angirrami.com). This website offers free access to some of the same educational resources used in our schools.

These include downloadable books and e-books for pre-school ages and up; educational audiobooks and animated videos; tips and activities for learning; and resources for managing stress and mental health.

There will also be links to download the department’s Inuktut language learning apps:

  • Uqausiit Pinnguarutiit has fun activities that support Inuit language shape and sound recognition, and vocabulary development.
  • Titirariuqsauti introduces Inuit language symbol sounds and printing paths. 
  • Qimirrunaut is the department’s new Inuktut e-book library app.

These apps are available for Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple App stores.

Angirrami Ilinniarniq provides links to other online educational resources on subjects such as science, math, history, and social studies. 

I want to also note that although the website launches today, new resources will be regularly added. The priority is to get our Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun resources online as quickly as possible. English and French resources will follow soon after.

All the resources found on this site were created by the Department of Education and its partners, including the Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Representative for Children and Youth’s Office, as well as the Departments of Family Services, Health, Environment, and Economic Development and Transportation.

I want to thank all the students, parents, and caregivers for their patience. I know for many of you it has not been easy with schools and child care facilities closed. However, we must all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

I assure you that my department has been working hard to get this website ready as quickly as possible.

I encourage Nunavummiut to explore all the resources this website has to offer. Make learning a part of your daily routine!

Qujannamiik, quana, thank you, merci.

Department of Education Services, March 31, 2020

Today, the Department of Education Is launching a learn-at-home website, Angirrami Ilinniarniq (angirrami.com). This learn-at-home website developed by the Department of Education provides free access to help children and youth continue learning in their language during the school closure.

Upon recommendation from the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO), schools and daycare facility closures for students and children will be extended until end of day April 20. At that point and time, the CPHO will reassess and provide direction.


Department of Education Services, March 25, 2020

Ongoing services:

  • Bus service contracts will continue to be paid during the three-week school closure.

Department of Education Services, March 24, 2020

  • The Department of Education is supporting the Department of Family Services in coordinating the return of out of territory FANS students and their families to Nunavut.
  • The Department of Education is providing funds to licensed child care facilities to cover parental fees from March 17-April 7, 2020.
  • All licensed child care facilities in Nunavut that charge parental fees will qualify for the grant.
  • Funding will be processed and sent to licensed child care facilities by Friday, March 27, 2020.
  • During this time, parents will not be required to pay parental fees.

Department of Education Services, March 23, 2020

  • The Department of Education is providing funds to licensed child care facilities to cover parental fees from March 17-April 7, 2020.
  • All licensed child care facilities in Nunavut that charge parental fees will qualify for the grant.
  • Funding will be processed and sent to licensed child care facilities by Friday, March 27, 2020.
  • During this time, parents will not be required to pay parental fees.
  • If closures continue after April 7, the department will re-evaluate and assist licensed child care facilities with making decisions on how to move forward.

Department of Education Services update, March 20, 2020

Adjusted services:

  • To reinforce social distancing and reduce the potential transmission of COVID-19, the Department of Education is limiting in-office work to essential employees only.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • All schools and child care facilities in Nunavut are closed for a three-week period, starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
     

Department of Education Services update - March 19, 2020

Education and several GN departments are working closely together to reduce the impact school closures have on food programs.

The Department of Education will be providing funds to all licensed child care facilities. This funding will be equal to the parental fees licenced child care facilities would be normally receiving during this three-week closure.

This will allow licenced child care facilities to not charge parental fees for this period but still pay their staff as normal.

Closed /Cancelled/Suspended services:

  • All schools and child care facilities in Nunavut are closed for a three-week period, starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020.