What classes will look like in each school across the NWT

With the first day of school only 10 days, here is what the education leaders have planned.

K'alemi Dene School in Ndilǫ. (CKLB file photo)

Re-opening plans for all 49 schools in the territory have been formally approved by Government of the Northwest Territories.

The department of Education, Culture and Employment, and the chief public health officer has released plans for the school year which features masks, physical distancing and scheduling changes.

The majority of teaching will be done in-person, but some grades will take part in a blended learning approach involving work from home.

“The reality is that some schools simply do not have enough space within their existing facilities or in their communities to accommodate all students full-time while complying with physical distancing requirements,” says R.J. Simpson, minister of ECE, in a press release.



This includes increased spacing between desks for older grades, as well as physical distancing measures and require masks when this isn’t possible, including on buses.

There will be no assemblies as well as limitations on gatherings.

Changes may occur with scheduling, including staggered drop-off and pick-up times and modified lunch, recess and break times.

Designated entrances and exits, to restrict and manage flow in hallways and common areas, will be another change.

Parents will have additional responsibilities including monitoring their children for symptoms.

Students will be required to wash their hands before coming to school and frequently throughout the day.

Disinfection procedures will be enhanced including in classrooms and in high traffic areas.

Students will be asked to label personal items and to not share.

There are also plans to ensure any students who can’t attend school will be able to receive instruction remotely.

Each school board, education council and authority in the territory has committed to implementing these restrictions, with small changes between schools when classes start on Aug. 31.

In addition to the restrictions listed above, here is what individuals schools have planned.

Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency

The Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency released details for the upcoming school year.

The plans say full-time, in-person instruction will take place as much as possible along with on-the-land programming early in the year.

Students in need of access to computers may be able to sign out school equipment to work from home.

Elizabeth MacKenzie Elementary School

Bus service to Elizabeth MacKenzie Elementary School is cancelled until further notice.

Linsey Hope, director of education for the Tłı̨chǫ Community Services Agency, says parents are being asked to drive their children to school, or encouraging students to walk from their homes.

This is being done to redirect services.


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Posted by Elizabeth Mackenzie Elementary School on Monday, August 17, 2020


Chief Jimmy Bruneau School

Students in Grades 10 through 12 can expect blended learning.

There will be an increase in custodial services for the school buildings and older students will be asked to help with disinfection.

Changes to bus services are also planned, as buses will be designated for age groups to keep students from mixing.

Students will be screened to ensure they are symptom-free before being allowed on the bus and masks will be required.

Mezi Community School

Students in Grades 10 through 12 can expect blended learning.


The South Slave Divisional Education Council

The South Slave Divisional Education Council has shared plans with parents on social media.

Students in Grades 7 to 10 attending Paul William Kaeser High School (PWK) will only be attending school every second day.

Upon registering, students will be informed which day they will attend — this information will be posted to the PWK website.

Students in Grades 11 and 12 will be given priority to attend school every day.

Deninu School, Chief Sunrise Education Centre, Joseph Burr Tyrrell Elementary School, Lutsel K’e Dene School, Harry Camsell School and Princess Alexandra School will continue with in-person learning for all students.

The Sahtu Divisional Education Council

The Sahtu Divisional Education Council is prepared for students to return to school full-time.

Students in kindergarten to Grade 6 will be required to wear non-medical masks if they are outside their classroom bubble for more than fifteen minutes, in a large group.  

The exception to this will be for when students are outdoors. 

Although the current plan includes students attending school on a full-time basis, plans for blended learning opportunities are currently in the works. 

Dehcho Divisional Education Council

All schools run under the Dehcho Divisional Education Council will be offering full-time, in-person learning.

Online learning options are available to those who do not attend physically.

Students will also be screened whenever they enter the school buildings.

Masks, face shields and hand sanitizer will be provided for students and staff.

Dehcho school update

Beaufort Delta Education Council

All schools in the Beaufort Delta will enforce the GNWT restrictions.

In-person learning is scheduled for all schools, but more time may be spent outside.

There will be scheduling changes, including staggered transitions and staff will be wearing face shields.

Ndilǫ District Education Authority and Dettah District Education Authority

K‘àlemì Dene and Kaw Tay Whee will offer in-person learning for all grades.

Meagan Wowk, principal of K’àlemì Dene says the basic plans have been shared with parents, but anyone looking for additional information is welcome to call her.

Hi KDS Families!

I’m sure you have started to hear lots of things about schools re-opening in the fall. KDS will…

Posted by K’alemi Dene School on Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Yellowknife Education District 1

In an effort to enforce safety when schools open on Aug. 31, many teachers with Yellowknife Education District 1 (YK1) will be wearing face shields during lessons.

YK1 plans for all grades to receive in-person learning, and physical distancing won’t be enforced in the classroom bubble for students from kindergarten to Grade 6.

“Younger children are seen to be at a lower risk for contracting and spreading COVID-19, which is why there are fewer physical distancing requirements for elementary students,” the YK1 release says.

École Sir John Franklin High School

École Sir John Franklin High School (SJF) will have a compressed schedule, meaning students will attend in-person for half the day. The other half, students will complete school work away from the campus.

Classes will be in the morning for some students from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and afternoon for others from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Students in Grades 8 and 9 will use the front main entrance, whereas Grades 10 through 12 students will enter and exit through the NACC doors.

Locker use has been suspended and students are encouraged to use backpacks.

École J.H. Sissons Elementary, École William McDonald,  Mildred Hall School, N.J. Macpherson School and Range Lake North School will offer full-time, in-person classes.

Yellowknife Catholic Schools

The Yellowknife Catholic Schools press release says students from kindergarten to Grade 9 along with Grade 12 students will receive in-person learning.

While students in Grade 10 and 11 will receive blended learning — a half-day in school while spending the rest of the day learning from home.

The Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 6 will attend class full-time.

Students in Grades 7 through 12 will attend class in-person as much as possible.



About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. Luke is a graduate of Carleton University's bachelor of journalism program. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com