North

N.W.T. government provides more details on how schools will respond to COVID-19 cases

Students and staff will have to monitor for symptoms daily, and rooms will be set aside for kids who develop symptoms in class, according to a new bulletin from the territory's Education department.

Students and staff must monitor for COVID-19 daily

In a release Monday, the N.W.T. government released new details about how the territory's schools would handle a pandemic. (CBC)

The N.W.T. government is providing more details about what schools will look like in September in a bulletin released Monday afternoon.

The bulletin provides more detailed information about what safety measures will be implemented at each school, and how students' needs will be accommodated.

The release builds on information made public in July regarding what that reopening will look like, including daily COVID-19 screening for students and staff, masks when bussing, no assemblies, staggered recess periods and spacing of desks and other furniture.

The document says all 49 schools in the territory have put in place additional plans and processes to meet the requirements set out by the chief public health officer.

Parents and staff will be asked to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

All guardians and parents are being asked to help out in supporting school plans by using the student screening tool for COVID-19 symptoms every morning for each child in their care.

If children are showing one major or two minor symptoms, if they have been in contact with someone who is ill or has either a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, or if they have been outside the territory, they must stay home. 

Parents and guardians are also asked to set a "good example" in their hand-washing and physical-distancing practices, and to pick their children up from school as soon as they have been notified.

Staff required to check for symptoms daily

Staff are also asked to screen themselves each day before entering the school, and stay home under the same circumstances as students — if they show symptoms, are in contact with someone who is ill, or have been outside the territory.

Staff will have to use regular processes for letting administration know about their absence, and contact health-care professionals for advice. 

Students who are unable to safely attend school for health reasons will be supported to work from home through remote learning. Their circumstances will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by a health-care practitioner.

A file photo of a masked student in class. The territorial government's bulletin said not all schools will be forced to close in the event of an outbreak. (Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images)

Parents and guardians concerned about whether it is safe for their child to attend school are encouraged to consult with a health-care professional. They can also contact the school directly to discuss options if it is not safe for them to return.

Each school's reopening plan also includes a room dedicated to isolation for students demonstrating symptoms. Should a student fall sick at school, their parents or guardians will be notified immediately and will be asked to pick them up from school right away to get them assessed.

Other schools will stay open if outbreak occurs

The government says if an outbreak happens in a school or community, only those schools impacted will receive a response and all schools in the region or territory won't necessarily have to close.

Minister of Education, Culture and Employment R.J. Simpson is quoted in the release saying the reopening plans "support an effective learning environment as well as the safety of our students, staff, and communities."

All students and education staff will be eligible to access counselling services as well to support their mental health in the upcoming school year.

Parents, guardians and staff can call 811 or their local health centre with any questions about COVID-19, and staff can refer to this sheet for more information on self-monitoring. The government's website says screening documents are in progress and will be posted once complete.

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