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Minister, teachers' association not seeing eye to eye on staff going south for Christmas holidays

It would not be acceptable for the Department of Education to prevent all teachers from travelling south for the Christmas break, according to the head of the Nunavut Teachers' Association (NTA).

In the legislative assembly on Tuesday, Education Minister David Joanasie was questioned about teachers being given leeway to spend the holidays with their families in the south in light of Covid travel restrictions.

Education Minister David Joanasie says his department is not "entertaining any educators to work from isolation hubs currently in place" following the Christmas holidays. 
NNSL file photo

"At this time we are not entertaining any educators to work from isolation hubs that are currently in place," Joanasie said. "(Health) Minister (George) Hickes has been adamant that Nunavummiut avoid non-essential travel, especially outside of the territory, and we are of this position... my staff at the department indicate that the teachers association has supported the government’s position on avoiding non-essential travel outside of the territory."

However, NTA president John Fanjoy said while his association has consistently supported the GN's travel restrictions and recommendations, the teachers' union also believes that leave requests that accommodate the mandatory isolation period should be "carefully considered... in the context of supporting the mental health and well-being of their employees."

"A blanket 'No' response to leave requests from our members during the Christmas break is not an acceptable approach," Fanjoy stated. 

About the Author: Derek Neary

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