As Nunavut enters full-blown lock-down mode, many are probably looking around to see what they’ll be doing for the next three weeks, at least, and that’s being very optimistic.
With government offices shut down, school cancelled for at least the next three weeks, no visitors coming in or out and mines sending home workers, it will take some creative thinking to avoid going stir crazy.

But this is not a vacation.

In the event that the school year will be cancelled, which seems more and more likely by the day, educators will need to find a way to ensure that teaching youth continues.

Nunavut will need its teachers now more than ever. Youth will start to get cabin fever as their list of spring/summer activities dwindles to nearly none and unoccupied teens and preteens might become more likely to break rules about social distancing and isolation.

When homes in Nunavut have shown consistently to have overcrowding issues, it would be understandable that students would want to blow off some steam and get out of the house.
This is where involved teachers, or at the very least some form of government directed program, are needed to engage them.

It will take nothing short of creative juggling to make this happen, with recent revelations from SSi Micro and Northwestel showing that it would be physically impossible to increase the capacity of satellite bandwidth coming into the territory – at least they were able to double the internet caps in some communities.

There are options for distance study. Whether this means online night classes when internet use is not at its peak, using a phone-in method for classes, or even some form of archaic mail system, something must be tried.

With overburdened parents working from home with kids or trying to figure out how to make ends meet due to recent layoffs, the Government of Nunavut must signal strength to Nunavummiut and show more than monetary support and that yes, they are still working.
Now there are a lot of working folk in Nunavut that are out on the front lines and working overtime to deliver essential services like health-care workers, police, grocery store staff, municipal services workers and even journalists, and they deserve a good round of applause for their efforts.

But it will take the MLAs of Nunavut to hold the feet of government to the flame to ensure even non-essential workers are contributing to the betterment of the North and helping the passing of the crisis.

The government and economy may be locked down, but the people are not in hibernation and the youth need our support now more than ever to weather the storm.

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4 replies on “Editorial: Now is not the time for hibernation”

  1. “…educators will need to find a way to ensure that teaching youth continues.”

    Northern teachers already have to be incredibly resourceful and flexible considering the lack of resources and materials available to them. At this time, teachers are not allowed in their schools by order of the government. We don’t yet know when we’re allowed back in. What would you have us do?

    Our school does not have enough technology to support online lessons for learning. Many students don’t have access to internet or technology at home. Don’t get me wrong, I agree it would be ideal for teachers to be able to support their students’ learning at this time. I want to be there for my students more than anything. But we don’t control the flow of resources. We don’t control government directives. At this time, we’re following orders to stay home and social distance.

    Us teachers are not in control of this situation, so please don’t insinuate that we are “hibernating” and not doing our part. Our hands are tied.

  2. The title of this editorial is irresponsible as staying at home is a government directive; this article makes it sound like we should’ve getting out and about. We should not staying at home is what we have been directed to do. Also, teachers care very much all year and put in immense overtime all year. Right now we do not have access to school facilities nor direction as to what the future of education will look like in the coming weeks. Please don’t imply that teachers are vacationing at home, doing nothing. Everyone who isn’t essential should be at home. If we don’t listen to government directive, covid will be in the territory and will spread. Very disappointed in this finger-pointing.

  3. Agree with both comments above – this article seems to come from a place of complete ignorance and lack of education about the situation at hand. This schooling situation is happening all over the country – and world. Directions from the Government. Not a time to be pointing fingers. We are all in this together. Time to support each other and not place blame on anyone. Cannot believe this article was even published. Ridiculous.

  4. Get your head out of the sand and watch the news. Also, if you have not noticed the amount of compassion and love we have for our students – this is our profession and we are clearly more worried for our students than the author of this article.

    I am curious – how do you suggest we can successfully reach each child given the extreme lack of resources and following the government’s very valid restrictions (not allowed to leave the house and not allowed to enter the school for any reason)?
    Very curious to hear how you suggest this is done.

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