Coronavirus Canada updates: Nunavut schools to open in September with no physical distancing if COVID-19 free

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Coronavirus Canada updates: Nunavut schools to open in September with no physical distancing if COVID-19 free
Coronavirus Canada updates: Nunavut schools to open in September with no physical distancing if COVID-19 free

The Nunavut government is planning on opening schools with no physical distancing measures this fall, as long as the territory continues to be COVID-19 free.

the Nunavut government outlines a four-stage plan for how schools will operate depending on the risk of COVID-19.

In the documents dated July 3, the government says it plans to open schools in September if there are no positive cases, as part of stage one.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the territory. On Wednesday, however, the chief public health officer announced two presumptive cases at Mary River Mine.

Stage one will let students and staff operate as normal but with more cleaning requirements, limited physical contact, and limited group activities like assemblies and gym class. Physical distancing is not required though.

If the risk of COVID-19 increases so do the precautions in the schools.

A community enters stage two if it is at “escalated risk” of COVID-19 but does not have a current case. In this circumstance, one or more people would have to have potential exposure to the disease.

We are not prepared for the return of students to classes in September 2020. – Iqaluit District Education Authority letter

If there is COVID-19 in the region, but not in the community, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Micheal Patterson will determine if a community will enter stage two. This will be decided based on geography and travel factors.

At stage two, class sizes drop for middle and high school students to about 40 and 60 per cent capacity and their schedules will be staggered to reduce interaction. Physical distancing of one metre will be enforced and no physical contact will be allowed. Students will only attend school between two to three days a week and will be given learning packages.

In stage two, all elementary school students will still go to school. Bus schedules will be staggered for all students.

Stage 3 and 4 with COVID-19 cases

A community will jump from stage two to four if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Stage four has the strictest measures and no one will go to school. All learning will be from a distance for at least 14 days.

At this point it will be up to the chief public health officer to decide when a community is ready to enter the recovery stage — stage three.

This will happen 10 to 28 days after the last case of COVID-19 in a community moves into recovery.

In stage three, students will start going back to school at a limited capacity. Elementary school students will go three days a week at 60 per cent capacity. Middle and high school students will return for two days a week at 40 per cent capacity. Bus schedules will be staggered.

Physical distancing of two metres will be enforced and there will be no eating in communal areas or sharing food. Food programs will be stopped, adapted or reduced.

The document says all communities will eventually be able to return to stage one, even if they have had a case of COVID-19. The chief public health officer will make the transitions of stages once COVID-19 has been contained and all positive cases recovered.

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