Premier says all schools in NWT to remain closed until after Easter

NWT Premier Caroline Cochrane, photo courtesy Council of the Federation.

All elementary and high schools in the Northwest Territories will now remain closed at least until April 14.

That’s the Tuesday following Easter Monday.

That announcement was made by Premier Caroline Cochrane in the Legislative Assembly on Monday morning.

It’s obviously being done due to the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

Education Minister R.J. Simpson is to hold a conference call with school superintendents from across the NWT today to let them know exactly what the plan is.

Students are currently off for their two-week March break which got underway officially today

How students will make up for the lost time has yet to be announced.

Daycares and day homes

Inuvik-Twin Lakes MLA Lesa Semmler asked if daycares would also be closed.

According to Health and Social Services Minister Diane Thom, the office of the chief public health officer has not yet recommended closing daycares and day homes.

Kam Lake MLA Caitlin Cleveland followed up with Minister Simpson asking how his department is monitoring if daycare and day home operators are respecting self-isolation guidelines.

“The communication about self-isolating and about the precautions that need to be taken have been happening, I believe since January,” he said. “I’ll ensure that those continue to happen.”

Simpson added that like schools, he doesn’t have the authority to close down daycares and day homes.

However, “if there is serious health concerns, the chief public health officer likely has the ability to close that. So if people have concerns about what’s going on, they should bring those forward.”

Updated: Monday, March 16 at 4 p.m. with files from Francis Tessier-Burns on daycares and day homes.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.