School during COVID-19

  • COVID-19 survey of students, families and school staff
  • School operations in the 2020‒21 school year
  • Student learning in the 2020–21 school year
  • Health and safety in schools
  • Adapting school operations if necessary
  • Riding the school bus

Download answers to Frequently Asked Questions about school during COVID-19. 

  1. COVID-19 survey of students, families and school staff

    We conducted a survey to learn more about the impacts of the pandemic on student learning. This survey will help:

    • identify what's been most effective during the suspension of face-to-face classes; and
    • inform the delivery of instruction for the 2020‒21 school year.

    The survey period was from July 15 to July 22, 2020. 

    The results of the survey now available. Learn more and view the results. 

    We’ve provided the results of this survey to school principals and staff, school councils and the local First Nation. It will support preparing and planning for the 2020‒21 school year and ongoing adjustments to learning throughout the school year.

    We’ll conduct follow up surveys during the 2020‒21 school year to:

    • help plan ongoing instruction; and
    • ensure we remain responsive to student learning needs throughout the school year.
  2. School operations in the 2020‒21 school year

    School operational plans for the 2020‒21 school year are available from the school and are also shared on school websites.  

    Find your school’s operational plan by visiting your school’s website. Visit your school’s website by following the link for your school and clicking on the website link. 

    All school operational plans are approved by public health officials.   

    School operational plans were developed based on:

    Operations at rural and Whitehorse schools 

    Each school will follow their own school-specific operational plans. In general: 

    • In rural communities, Kindergarten to Grade 12 students are in school for full-day, in-class instruction five days per week. 
    • In Whitehorse, Kindergarten to Grade 9 students are in school for full-day, in-class instruction 5 days per week. 
      Grades 1012 students are in school for half-day in-class instruction and half-day learning away from school five-days per week. This arrangement for Grades 1012 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 every day.

    Temporary school programming relocation

    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’s programs will move into available space at Porter Creek Secondary for the school year. 

  3. Student learning in the 2020–21 school year

    Yukon Continuity of Learning Requirements

    The Yukon Learning Continuity Requirements set the priorities and expectations for delivering learning and the curriculum to students in the 202021 school year.

    This includes guiding the delivery of blended learning in Yukon schools, meeting all students where they are in their learning and adapting school programming and instruction.

    School principals and staff will continue to communicate and work with Yukon First Nations governments to deliver Yukon First Nations ways of knowing, doing and being learning as part of student instruction.

    Student learning at each grade level

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

    Students in Grades 4–9 will have both face-to-face activities with their teachers and classmates and digital activities with technology and online tools during the day in class.

    Students in Grades 10–12 will learn for 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.

    Blended learning

    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.

    What is blended learning?

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

    What does blended learning look like?

    Blended learning will look a little different based on:
    • grade level;
    • the online and digital tools being used; and
    • students’ learning needs.
    Grades K–3 students will:
    • Learn in class at school for full days. As per the curriculum, they will continue to learn at school in an experiential and inquiry rich learning environment with teachers incorporating technology when it is the most appropriate way to meet learning outcomes.
    Grades 4–9 students will:
    • learn in class at school for full days, with some in-person activities with their teachers and classmates and some digital activities with technology and online tools;
    • work with teachers and classmates both in-person and online;
    • participate in project-based learning;
    • learn and develop skills for self-directing some of their learning; and
    • learn how to progress and succeed, with some flexibility and choices to personalize their learning to their strengths and interests.
    Grades 10–12 students will:
    • at Whitehorse high schools, students learn each day through a half-day of in-class instruction and the other half of the day through at teacher-supported in-person or online study hall; 
    • at other high schools, learn in class for a full day;
    • participate in project-based learning;
    • learn and develop skills for self-directing some of their learning; and 
    • learn how to progress with some flexibility and choices to personalize their learning to their strengths and interests.
    Examples of digital learning in class and away from school:
    • watching instructional videos;
    • discussing a topic online with their class;
    • working on collaborative projects and activities online;
    • completing an assignment on paper or online;
    • engaging in research; and
    • communicating with their teacher to receive feedback or guidance;
    Examples of hands-on learning away from school:
    • on-the-land learning; and
    • activities such as:
      • building a garden bed;
      • planting vegetables and flowers; and 
      • measuring the area of their bedroom or house.

    Digital tools used for blended learning in Yukon

    Students will learn, communicate and collaborate with classmates and teachers through digital tools like: 
    • Moodle;
    • Microsoft 365 (Teams, OneNote);
    • Google Classroom; and
    • FreshGrade.

    To learn more about these tools read the Digital tools at a glance a guide for parents and guardians.

    Role of the teacher in a blended learning setting

    With blended learning, the teacher is a coach and facilitator of learning. They:
    • lead instruction of curriculum through a variety of methods to teach knowledge, skills and competencies;
    • facilitate deep learning, discussion and collaboration;
    • differentiate and personalize learning for students;
    • assess and provide constructive feedback;
    • look at student data to adjust instructional methods; and
    • coordinate collaborative learning and projects.

    Supporting your child’s learning 

    Parents and guardians may be concerned about their child returning to classes in school. More detailed health and safety guidance for school settings will be provided as it becomes available.

    Ensure your child has access to devices, technology and the internet away from school. If you do not have devices for your student to access, please discuss it with your school when school resumes.

    Keep in contact with teachers about your child’s learning progress during the year.

    Talk to your child about using digital tools and ask them to show you what they are learning on their devices.

    Stay up to date on school newsletters and information from teachers about learning and health and safety at your child’s school.

    Download the What is blended learning handout.


    To learn more about blended learning, visit:

  4. Health and safety in schools

    Throughout the pandemic, we’ll keep as many students in classes in schools as is safely possible. Measures in school will follow the health and safety guidelines for K-12 school settings set by Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

    Staying home when sick 

    Students and staff must stay home when they are sick or showing symptoms. Learn about symptoms and the traffic light system for when to keep your child home from school. You can also download the traffic light poster for your home.

    For 6 months to 5 years old:

    For 6 years and older:

    Physical distancing 

    Students and staff will need to practice physical distancing in schools. This may include smaller classrooms and group sizes and managing traffic areas in common areas like hallways and cafeterias and staggering pick-up and drop-off times and recess and lunch. 

    The health and safety guidelines indicate physical distancing is not always possible with children. Where not possible, risks are being reduced by increasing other measures like handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting, and making sure students and staff stay home when sick or showing symptoms. 

    Handwashing and personal hygiene

    Students and school staff will need to wash or sanitize their hands before they come to school and frequently during the day. 

    Cleaning and disinfecting 

    All schools will be cleaned and disinfected with disinfectants approved by Health Canada. There will be more frequent cleaning of high-touch areas and equipment like washrooms, light switches, doorknobs, desks and computers. 

    Wearing masks

    The best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is through preventative measures, such as physical distancing, frequent hand washing and staying home when sick. 

    Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends masks for students age 10 and older when physical distancing is not possible, such as in hallways and common areas, or on the school bus. 

    While they are recommended, masks are not mandatory at school or on the school bus. 

    Masks will be available through each school for students and staff when needed. Children age 10 and older may also bring their own mask to use at school or on the school bus.

    To support your child in wearing a mask properly, review:

    If a student or staff gets sick at school 

    • The student or staff will be immediately separated into a designated area.
    • The student or staff will be provided with a mask.
    • The student’s parent/guardian will be contacted to pick them up as soon as possible.
    • The school staff member who is sick will go home as soon as possible.
    • The designated area will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

    Physical education and school sports 

    Physical activity is important for a healthy life and child development. To support a safe return to physical education and school sports, health and safety guidelines have been established by Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. 

    The physical education and school sports guidelines acknowledge that many physical education activities and sports involve close contact and shared equipment among students, staff, coaches and volunteers.

    Physical distancing, hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning and disinfection and keeping students and staff home when they are sick or showing symptoms will continue to be important measures that can help reduce risk. 

    When planning for activities that involve contact, whether in gym class or as part of after-school sports, schools will follow the Sport and recreation and Contact sports guidelines for how to keep interactions safe. 

    Singing and music: COVID-19 guidelines updated

    Music is important for:

    • brain development; 
    • social-emotional learning; and 
    • cultural connectedness. 

    There’s some risk associated with singing and playing music and COVID-19. 

    The Chief Medical Officer of Health released health and safety guidelines for singing and playing music. They outline how these activities can go forward for all Yukoners while ensuring health and safety. 

    Singing and playing music has always been a valuable part of the school experience for students. With these new guidelines in place, school administrators and educators will determine:

    • how music programming at their school may be adjusted; and 
    • if extra musical opportunities can be offered.
  5. Adapting school operations if necessary

    Our planning for the 202021 school year sets the following priorities during the pandemic:

    • health and safety of students, staff and school communities;
    • learning continuity for all students, with as many students in class as safely possible;
    • supports for students who need additional or special assistance;
    • supports for children of critical and essential service workers; and
    • supports for teachers and support staff to deliver flexible learning to students.

    If necessary, the plan for 202021 school year includes flexibility to:

    • reduce the number of students in schools if there is an increased risk of transmission or a second wave or community outbreak of COVID-19; and
    • supplement in-person classes with other learning opportunities if students cannot be in school full-time.
  6. Riding the school bus

    School bus services for the 2020–21 school year have been adapted based on the health and safety guidelines for school bus operations set by Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. This includes: 

    • loading students on the bus from back to front, and offloading students from front to back to support physical distancing;
    • seating students at a 2 metres’ distance from school bus drivers;
    • limiting students to 2 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. 

    For more information on school bus routes, how students are being assigned seats on the school bus, City of Whitehorse transit and travelling to an alternative stop, visit: