The issue: school closures
We say: contingency needed

Our world has been turned upside down by the coronavirus COVID-19 over the past few weeks.

So much of our lives has been disrupted, including our children’s education. Official word came on March 16 that NWT schools would be closed until after Easter. It didn’t take long for that to become a long-term shutdown. The Yk 1 school board and Yellowknife Catholic Schools announced Tuesday that Yellowknife’s halls of learning won’t reopen until fall.

That message was met with a sense of urgency and concern from many parents. Will their children be able to advance to the next grade? Will Grade 12 students graduate? Will their learning be impeded? Can online lessons be offered for the duration of the school year?

On Wednesday, Education Minister RJ Simpson issued a letter communicating plenty of reassurance that NWT students will be supported. Graduation requirements will be a priority, as will meal programs, mental health resources, home-based learning and child-care services. 

Related coverage:

COVID-19: Sir John Franklin School reaches out to students with emotional video

NWT education leaders in agreement on 2019-2020 school closures

YK schools to close down

It’s a tall order, but the letter is short on detail explaining how this will be rolled out. Simpson asks for patience and states that a March 30 bulletin will provide clarity on the next steps.  

We can all agree that the safety of students and educators is indeed paramount. The way around this dilemma is therefore found in their laptops, tablets and smartphones at home.  

Teachers have a duty to teach, and surely the dedicated educators in our city are still prepared to do just that.

Many parents remain at home with their children, awaiting some inspiration from the leaders of institutions that are designed to inspire. Although the familiar bricks and mortar have been rendered off-limits by this pandemic, we live in an age when learning is within reach through fibre-optic cable. To fail to take advantage of that technology would be the greatest failure of all. 


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