Update on planning for the 2020–21 school year

The Government of Yukon announced preliminary operational and learning planning for Yukon schools for the 2020–21 school year today. These preliminary plans ensure schools follow the health and safety guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Planning for the 2020–21 school year is an ongoing process. 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. School principals will share finalized school operational plans with school communities in August before the start of the 2020–21 school year.

Rural school operations in the 2020–21 school year

Rural schools have the flexibility in their learning spaces to safely bring back all students to the school while following health and safety guidelines. This is why all Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in rural schools return to full-day in-class instruction five days per week.

Whitehorse school operations in the 2020–21 school year

In Whitehorse, Kindergarten to Grade 9 students in Whitehorse will also return to full-day, in-class instruction five days per week. Grades 10 to 12 students will return to half-day in-class instruction and half-day learning away from school five days per week. This arrangement for Grades 10 to 12 students will be monitored and assessed as part of planning for the second semester of the school year. Resource programs for students with disabilities, transitions programs and other programs for students needing additional support will continue at school all day, five days per week.

This approach ensures schools are following the health and safety guidelines from the Chief Medical Officer of Health and ensures all students have time and support from their teachers every day and regular routines for learning. The Department of Education will monitor the situation and advice on the pandemic over the first semester to assess the possibility of safely returning Grades 10 to 12 students to more usual class sizes and schedules in the second semester.

Grades 10 to 12 students will continue to take four courses per semester and school staff will work with students and families to assign morning or afternoon classes in their school at the start of the school year. These students will also be able to access supports for learning away from schools through virtual or in-person study halls with teachers.

Temporary school programming relocation

To meet the health and safety guidelines for schools, support safe spacing, and manage traffic flows in schools, some school programming needs to be temporarily relocated for the 2020–21 school year.

To support safe spacing at F.H. Collins Secondary, the Grade 8 classes from F.H. Collins Secondary will be moved to the Wood Street Centre for the 2020–21 school year. The Wood Street Centre programs will move into available space at Porter Creek Secondary for the school year.  No other groups of students or programs are expected to need relocation.

Student learning in the 2020–21 school year

As part of Yukon’s modernized curriculum, teachers and students will continue to use technology as part of learning to develop digital literacy and skills they will need for their lives and careers.

For the 2020–21 school year, educators will continue to build these skills with students through blended learning, which combines:

  • face-to-face teaching and learning, where students apply their knowledge, deepen their understanding and demonstrate their learning with their teachers, including teacher-led activities, on the land learning opportunities, workstations and labs;
  • student-led learning where students use digital tools to gather information through inquiry, reading, research and work on assignments, including online tools, resources, and collaboration;
  • teachers support, instruction and feedback both in person and online; and
  • students learning skills for success to manage some of their own learning, including goal setting, organization, prioritizing and time management, with some flexibility for the time, place and pace of their learning.

Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will have traditional direct instruction and support from teachers for their learning.

Students in Grades 4 to 9 students will have both face-to-face activities with their teachers and classmates and digital activities with technology and online tools.

Students in Grades 10 to 12 will learn for the half the day with face-to-face activities with their teachers and classmates in school and learn for the other half of the day away from school with digital activities with technology and online tools.

More information about student learning in the coming school year is available in the Yukon Learning Continuity Requirements 2020–21.

Student transportation

School bus services for the 2020–21 school year are being adapted based on recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including fewer students riding the bus to support safe spacing.

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 between home and school this year if possible.

Detailed school bus operational guidelines, including number of students per seat, loading and unloading procedures, and cleaning protocols will be released later in July. Further health and safety guidelines and planning details for the coming school year will be shared as they become available over the summer.

The wellbeing of students and staff is our priority. We are working to ensure Yukon schools are safe and healthy environments for returning to class and that all students have face-to-face opportunities to learn with their teachers and classmates while following the health and safety guidance from the Chief Medical Officer of Health. Plans for the 2020–21 school year include flexibility to adjust operations or reduce the number of students in schools if necessary. We continue to work with school communities, School Councils, Yukon First Nations and the Yukon Teachers’ Association on operational planning to meet the unique needs and context of each school community.

Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee

Getting children back into schools is critical for their health and learning success. Keeping children out of school for too long can result in long lasting emotional, and mental health effects. Students rely on teachers, counsellors, support staff and fellow students for formal and informal mental wellbeing and support, while continued closures can expose children to social isolation and boredom. Much work has gone into our efforts between the Department of Education and my team to ensure we have the proper protective measures in place to get children and youth back into a familiar environment and to thrive in a renewed educational environment that also supports and protects teachers and staff.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley

Quick facts 
  • Planning for the 2020–21 school year is ongoing. 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.

  • The Commission scolaire francophone du Yukon is working with its school community to determine plans for operational plans at École Émilie-Tremblay and Académie Parhélie for the 2020–21 school year.

  • Finalized school operational plans will be shared with school communities in August before the start of the 2020–21 school year.

  • Learning time with teachers will focus on applying skills and developing understanding and learning time away from school will focus on independent reading, research and assignments.

  • Grades 10 to 12 students will be able to access additional support for learning away from school through virtual or in-person study halls with teachers.

  • 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 for students residing outside of a 3.2 kilometres radius of their school and are enrolled in their attendance area school.

  • Any families who require and are eligible for school bussing and have not yet registered are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible. Whitehorse parents and guardians find out about bus registration. Rural parents and guardians should contact the school directly.

Contact 

Stewart Burnett
Cabinet Communications
867-393-7449
stewart.burnett@gov.yk.ca  

Jason Mackey
Communications, Education
867-667-5701
jason.mackey@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
20-191