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When the heart says NO: Yayyyy, kids are back in school!

 Woohoo, our kids are going back to school. This is exciting news because it means the NWT is safe: right now we still have no Covid-19 cases! Woohoo!

Kids in school means that parents don't need childcare while they're working. That's awesome news for a lot of people who can't work from home. Having kids in school can save parents a lot of money that they would have to pay for childcare.

But it's about a lot more than money!

Roy Erasmus Sr., certified life coach and Dene columnist for New/North and NNSL Media

Regularly going to school helps children feel comfortable in their surroundings and to develop friendships and relationships with other children and school staff. It also sets the foundation for future learning.

Schools provide the major part of the formal education that kids need to live in society, including for finding and holding jobs. Now you're talking!

Interacting with others helps our kids learn about different people. Teachers help them to process the differences and similarities with other people and to respect the different values, cultures, beliefs and thoughts.

This all helps them to live in peace and harmony with others. Right on!

Education helps them become more confident and to speak out more. School is also one of the places where kids make friends for life.

Some kids may have an unstable life at home, where there is a lot of alcohol and/or drug use and all of the social problems that comes with it, including physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and/or sexual abuse. Not cool.

Coming to school provides a safe place for the child to be for seven hours, with food, friends and good role models.


What to expect at school

The GNWT has laid out some basic guidelines and allows schools to set their own rules as long as they comply with the guidelines.

While classrooms will be different depending on what grade you're in and where you're going to school, some things are similar. For instance, teachers must always be wearing face shields.

All schools are supposed to have good sanitation and hand washing, with designated entrances and exits. Student assemblies will not be allowed and no sharing materials or snacks.

Children in younger grades are at lower risk of being sick, so they won't have to physically distance in the classroom.

But they need to keep six feet away from others when they're in the halls and outside for recess. Eschia! Good luck with that.

Grade 7 to 9 students have to stay three feet away from each other, including the space between desks. Grade 10 to 12 students need to comply with adult physical distancing of six feet and in Yellowknife there will only be 10 to 15 students in classes.

Students should always have a mask with them because they will need to wear it when they can't physically distance or are not in a classroom group, for instance on the bus or in busy hallways. Some schools will provide masks. Three cheers for those schools.

Parents, this part is very important.

Check your kids every morning because they will be sent home if they have one of the following: fever, shortness of breath, or a new or worsening cough.

Also keep Little Johnny home if he has two of the following: muscle aches, sore throat, headache, runny nose, diarrhea, vomiting, loss of appetite, general unwellness, or if he's lost his sense of smell or taste.

And of course, they must stay home if they've been in close contact with someone who is suspected of having Covid-19 or if they recently travelled out of the NWT. Be cool, stay home!

Check with your school to see how extra-curricular activities are affected.

We do know most schools don't offer things that involve singing or music as they are considered high-risk.

And, different schools will have different rules about dropping off and picking up your kid.

So, talk to your children about the importance of sticking to these rules. Don't scare them; just tell them the truth. Everybody needs to follow the rules ... just in case.