Yellowknife school delays reopening by 2 days

N.J. Macpherson School plans to reopen to in-person learning on Wednesday instead of Monday because of how long it's been taking to get COVID-19 test results back; all staff and students at the school have to receive a negative test before returning to class.

Staff, students at N.J. Macpherson School must present negative COVID-19 test results

N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife. Territorial health officials ordered all schools in Yellowknife, Ndilǫ and Dettah to close on May 2 following a COVID-19 outbreak at the school. Officials in Behchokǫ̀ also closed its schools. ( Liny Lamberink/CBC)

The school at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Yellowknife is delaying reopening to in-person learning.

On Wednesday, health officials in the Northwest Territories said schools in Yellowknife, Ndilǫ, Dettah and Behchokǫ̀ could open back up on Monday, May 17, after closing for two weeks because of the outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School. 

But in a letter to parents Friday evening, the Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (YK1) said N.J. Macpherson School would open on Wednesday, May 19, instead, because of the delay in getting back COVID-19 test results.

Hundreds of staff and students from N.J. Macpherson School have to get tested for the virus before returning to in-person learning. Prior to the outbreak, test results could come back within 24 hours. Now, health officials say it will likely take between three to five days.

"We recognize the delay in test results may have an impact on staff availability and their ability to be prepared for in-person learning," the letter from YK1 reads. 

As of Friday, there were 65 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Yellowknife related to the outbreak, 38 of which were active.

More than 2,500 tests have been performed since the beginning of the outbreak, which has forced more than 1,000 residents into isolation. The average age of positive cases is about eight years old, according to a news release Friday from the N.W.T.'s Office of the Chief Public Health Officer.

Some bus routes not operating Monday

YK1 officials also said Friday evening in a separate note to parents that some bus routes in Yellowknife will not be operating when schools reopen Monday "due to self-isolation requirements."

Those bus routes are:

  • Route 2.
  • Route 6.
  • Route 8.
  • Route 11.
  • Route 12.

Officials say they will reassess the situation on Monday and let families know if anything changes. 


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