Health and safety guidelines for schools and school buses released

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Government of Yukon have finalized more detailed health and safety guidelines for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings and school bus operations. The guidelines will help schools plan for the return of students to classes for the 2020–21 school year.

Department of Education central administration staff are working with school principals and school staff to finalize school operational plans and adapt their school routines based on these health and safety guidelines. School principals will share finalized school operational plans with school communities by August 12 before the start of the 2020–21 school year.

Health and safety guidelines for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings

School operations are being adapted based on the health and safety guidelines for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings, including ensuring: 

  • safe spacing in classrooms and common areas;
  • proper cleaning and disinfecting of the school and high-touch areas and equipment;
  • students and staff know when and how they should clean or sanitize their hands;
  • safe handling of food and use of water fountains;
  • processes are in place if a students or staff gets sick or show symptoms; and
  • students and staff know to stay home if they are sick or show symptoms.

Health and safety guidelines for school bus operations

School bus services are being adapted based on the health and safety guidelines for school bus operations, including:

  • maintaining physical distance of two metres when waiting for the bus;
  • loading students on the bus from back to front, and offloading students from front to back to support physical distancing;
  • seating students at a two-metre distance from school bus drivers;
  • limiting students to two per seat, unless they are from the same household and using assigned seats;
  • ensuring students and bus drivers are washing or sanitizing their hands before and after boarding the school bus; and
  • cleaning and disinfecting buses, including high-touch areas after each trip.

The Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Department of Education encourage families to arrange for students to walk, cycle, drive or carpool to transport students to and from school this year, if possible to allow for more room on buses for students without other means of transport.

Our schools and department are working tirelessly to have students return to school. These guidelines will inform ongoing planning to ensure face-to-face learning opportunities to protect the health and safety of students and staff. I want to thank all our education partners who have worked hard to adapt plans to make sure our students are safe and supported.

Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee 

Careful thought and planning have gone into these health and safety guidelines to enable students to return to in-classroom learning. It is critical that we support our kids’ ability to learn and thrive in a face to face educational environment. The work we have undertaken with Education allows this to happen in the safest manner possible for students and their teachers.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley

Quick facts 
  • On July 9, 2020, the Government of Yukon announced preliminary operational and learning planning for Yukon schools for the 2020–21 school year based on the initial health and safety guidance for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings and efforts to support safe spacing in schools: 

    • Rural schools have the flexibility to safely return all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students for full-day, in-class instruction five days per week.
    • Whitehorse schools can safely return all Kindergarten to Grade 9 students for full-day, in-class instruction five days per week.
    • Whitehorse Grade 10 to 12 students will return to half-day in-class instruction and half-day learning away from school five days per week using blended learning with additional support through virtual or in-person study halls with teachers.
    • The Grade 8 students from F.H. Collins Secondary School will move to the Wood Street Centre for the 2020–21 school year and experiential programs will be moved to F.H. Collins and Porter Creek Secondary School.
  • School preliminary plans have been shared with Yukon First Nations governments and school councils. Yukon First Nations, school councils and education partners will continue to be engaged and their feedback incorporated as planning continues for the 2020–21 school year.

  • Students will be prioritized for busing in the 2020–21 school year if they are eligible for school busing as described in the Education Act and Student Transportation Regulations and are residing outside of a 3.2 kilometer radius of their school and are enrolled in their attendance area school.

Contact 

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
867-393-7136
matthew.cameron@gov.yk.ca

Kyle Nightingale
Communications, Education
867-336-0653
kyle.nightingale@gov.yk.ca  

News release #: 
20-204