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    Sandy Silver interview April 8, 2022 CHONfm

Dr. Elliott says it is safe for kids to be at school as the territory sees an unprecedented number of COVID-19 cases

There are currently 329 active infections in the Yukon.

In a media briefing this morning, the Yukon’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott said that even with cases of COVID-19 surging in the territory, it is safe for kids to be in the classroom.

“The level of risk in schools is acceptable and I’m confident in the decision to have students return to the classroom this year,” said Dr. Elliott.

Children returned to full time in person learning on January 4 after their holiday break.

The decision to be in the classroom was unwelcomed news by some, like Yukon NDP leader Kate White. She said in a statement “sending kids to schools is not always an option for parents – we have folks who are immunocompromised, or have underlying medical conditions that puts them or their children at risk. Parents whose kids are not able to go to school have little to no support right now from the Department of Education.”

That statement went on to say that this week, two thirds of kids in the territory didn’t go to school and didn’t have the option of virtual learning.

At Wednesday’s COVID-19 update, Premier Sandy Silver said “schools should be the last thing to close down in a pandemic.”

At this morning’s briefing, Deputy Minister of Education Nicole Morgan said that taking kids out of the classroom to learn online is not optimal.

“We survey families, students, and staff three times last year – capturing their experiences from the spring of 2020 and from their experiences throughout the school year last year and we have heard loud and clear from them that remote learning is not an ideal environment,” said Morgan.

“We will strive to have in person learning” she added.

Morgan also said that if teachers call in sick, on call teachers will be used to fill the space. Virtual learning is the last resort option.

Morgan went on to say that if most teachers and substitutes are sick and online learning can’t be provided, schools will have to be a shut down – an event she called “likely.”

Three schools have already made the move to teaching online – Porter Creek Secondary School, Nelnah Bessie John School, and Holy Family Elementary School.

The Yukon and Saskatchewan are the only places in Canada where kids returned to the classroom after winter vacation. Morgan said that is because the Yukon updated their health and safety guidelines back in November, while other jurisdictions are working on theirs now.

According to the Canadian Press, the lowest rates of vaccination for young kids are in Alberta and here in the Yukon, while the highest is in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Written by: CHON

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“The pandemic is not finished with us yet,” says Premier Silver

"The pandemic is not finished with us yet," says Premier Silver Premier Sandy Silver and Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott spoke about the latest COVID-19 situation this morning. Almost one year to the day since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in the Yukon, this morning Premier Sandy Silver and Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Catherine Elliott held the their first COVID update of […]

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