Yellowknife’s two public schools will be providing remote learning for all students due to increasing Covid-19 cases, starting Jan. 10 .
Both the Yellowknife Catholic Schools and Yk 1 Education District sent almost identical letters to parents on Friday stating that planned in-person learning will be replaced with virtual classrooms as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.
Dr. Kami Kandola, chief public health officer, said on Jan. 6 that she recommends remote learning in schools in Aklavik, Behchoko, Fort Providence, Hay River, Kátł’odeeche First Nation,Whatì and Yellowknife, including Ndilo and Dettah.
“The recommendation was made for communities currently experiencing or showing evidence of imminent community spread,” said Yellowknife Catholic School board Superintendent Simon Gessler. “As of Jan. 6, the NWT had the highest number of infections recorded in a 24-hour period ever in the NWT, and there are infections in every region.
“Taking into onsideration the information that has been shared with us, Yellowknife Catholic Schools is supportive of this recommendation and beginning Jan. 10 YCS will shift to remote learning for all students.”
Dr. Cindi Vaselenak, superintendent and CEO of YK1 said in a similar letter to her district’s parents that the introduction of remote learning will also be provided for all YK1 schools as well as Kaw Tay Whee School in Dettah and K’alemi Dene School in Ndilo.
The board continues working closely with the GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment, she added, to ensure all proper steps are followed in providing online learning in a safe way.
“YK1 recognizes that families will be eager to learn the details around remote learning for students,” Vaselenak said. “Updates with specific information for your child and remote learning will come from their school.
“We recognize that this shift has an impact on everyone and thank you for your continued commitment as we navigate the safety and wellbeing of staff, students and families.”
Both schools acknowledged some of the challenges the short notice presents families and noted some of the mental health supports and social programs that are readily available – including NWT child and youth care counsellors, the NWT youth, e-mental health program BreathingRoom to help young people cope with anxiety, depression and stress, the NWT Helpline, Kids Help Phone, and the NWT Community Counselling Program.
No further information was provided as to when the boards may return to in-person learning again.