UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect the growing number of signatures on the petition.
An online petition calling upon the GN to reverse its decision to have teachers travel back to Nunavut has collected more than 2,000 signatures.
The reason for the opposition is because some Nunavummiut believe there’s a risk of returning teachers transmitting Covid-19, even though the teachers would have to self-isolate in the south before boarding planes.
“We the undersign request and demand that the decision to return the 85 teachers be rescinded and cancel their return until the Covid-19 pandemic has completed. We urge you to keep your leadership that you have been given by the resident of Nunavut and continue to keep the Covid-19 outside of Nunavut,” reads a portion of the petition, which was started by Allen Jones on change.org on Saturday.
Some of the comments posted on the petition express impassioned feelings.
“With only less then two months of school it is not worth the chances we’re talking. You cannot teach a dead child,” one person wrote.
Another contributed this: “Teachers are NOT critical workers, though education is important, it does NOT rate in life and death situations!”
At a press conference last week, Education Minister David Joanasie announced that school staff are expected to return to work on April 21 to develop lesson plans for students, who have been off from school since March 17. There’s been no indication yet that classrooms will reopen to students, just that teachers will develop work for them to do.
“The primary objective is to put in place some continuity of learning plans and packages for students,” Joanaise said.
One person who signed the petition stated: “They can teach from afar, with technology. They should have stayed in Nunavut. This is again, at risk for Inuit.”
The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/mayors-and-counsellors-of-nunavut-communities-keeping-nunavut-safe-from-covid19