The re-opening of some schools in the NWT might be delayed amid the current outbreak of COVID-19 infections, said a GNWT cabinet spokesperson on Aug. 19.
“With the evolving nature of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Sahtu and the containment orders issued for the communities of Fort Good Hope and Colville Lake, it is reasonable to expect that the opening of some schools in the region may be delayed,” the spokesperson said.
Some schools in the territory are scheduled to open in August, such as Chief Albert Wright School in Tulita, which will welcome students back on Aug. 23.
Students go back to class in Fort Good Hope and Norman Wells on Sept. 1; and in Délıne and Colville Lake on Sept. 7.
Schools in the rest of the territory are set to start classes on Aug. 30, and on Sept. 3 and Sept. 7.
Of the 128 active cases of COVID-19 among NWT residents, 109 are in Sahtu communities.
Chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Kami Kandola told reporters on Aug. 16 that schools will remain open but the COVID-19 outbreaks would be monitored to see how they evolve over the following 10 days.
The spokesperson added that as the territory returns to full-time, in-person learning, schools must follow the recommendations of the CPHO.
“The Department of Education, Culture and Employment is continuing to work closely with the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer to ensure that the latest public health advice is available for education bodies and for schools. The Department is also working with education body superintendents and the NWT Teachers Association in order to ensure that this advice is included in school opening plans for the 2021-22 school year.”
The current outbreak in the NWT started with two cases in Fort Good Hope and Norman Wells on Aug. 15 and spread to to 128 active cases by Aug. 19, more than half of the total number of 250 cases the territory has experienced since the pandemic began in 2020.