More than 100 Grade 12 students in the Kivalliq and Baffin regions of Nunavut will have to wait months to write their English Language Arts final exam after blizzards shut down the schools in several communities Wednesday.
The final exam makes up 30 per cent of a student's total mark. Nunavut's education department uses Alberta's standardized departmental exam, and the test has to be administered on specific dates at specific times as a precaution against students cheating.
Those rules don't take Arctic weather into account, like the blizzard conditions that shut schools in Arviat, Rankin Inlet, Baker Lake, Whale Cove, Cape Dorset and Kimmirut on Wednesday, preventing 101 students from taking the exam as scheduled.
John MacDonald, Nunavut's assistant deputy minister of Education, says the next English Language Arts exam date will be in June.
He said he sympathizes with the students, but that there is nothing to be done and they should look at the entire situation as a learning experience.
"I think it's indicative of real life," he said.
"By Grade 12 and when you're preparing for post-secondary and the labour market, life is often not fair. It's very unfortunate to say. Nobody can control the weather and in this instance we live in a place where blizzards happen on a regular basis."
Teachers acknowledge the next exam date being more than six months after course work was completed will be a challenge for students.
"We are discussing this and trying to figure out the best way to support them in this situation," said Gary Kennedy, principal of Jonah Amitnaaq school in Baker Lake.
"Whether the opportunity comes for them to write it for April or June, it will be a challenge but we are going to support them the best we can."
Education officials say a special committee will help resolve any outstanding issues the students might face when applying for admission to post-secondary institutions.