The Ghùch Tiâ Community School in Carcross is one of three rural schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures. (Screenshot/Google)

The Ghùch Tiâ Community School in Carcross is one of three rural schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures. (Screenshot/Google)

COVID-19 affecting schools in Watson Lake and Carcross

Students, staff have been given specific directions from the acting CMOH Dr. Catherine Elliott

Three schools in rural Yukon are feeling the impacts of COVID-19. Two schools are in Watson Lake and one is in Carcross.

Letters advising self-monitoring or self-isolation have been issued to staff and students in Grades 1, 4 and 5 at Johnson Elementary School, Grade 10 students at Watson Lake Secondary and students in Kindergarten and the Grade 1, 2 and 3 split class at Ghùch Tiâ Community School in Carcross.

The letters were issued as a result of a positive COVID-19 case associated with each of those classes. All three schools remain open.

Dr. Catherine Elliott, the acting Chief Medical Officer of Health, provided specific directions to students and staff based on risk assessments completed by Yukon Communicable Disease Control.

Directions differ for older students based on vaccination status. All elementary students have been asked to self-isolate.

“Now we are seeing infections in school children and it reminds us all that when children develop symptoms of COVID-19 they too must isolate away from others and get tested,” said Elliott.

“It takes many days for a child, even with mild symptoms, to stop being able to infect others. That is why testing is important to know when it is safe for children to return to school.”

Testing and vaccines

A rapid response testing team is in Watson Lake holding clinics from Sept. 27 to Sept. 29. People who tested negative before Sept. 17 are being asked to be retested while the team is in the community.

All staff and students in the Grade 5 class in Watson Lake are being asked to get tested, regardless of symptoms or vaccination status.

Those who tested negative before Sept. 17 are being asked to get re-tested while the team is still in the community. People who are isolating should remain in isolation the entire time, even if they receive a negative test result.

Vaccine clinics will be held at the Watson Lake Health Centre on Oct. 1, 8 and 15 from noon to 3 p.m. Phone the health centre at 867-536-5255 for information or to book.

Other cases

There are currently 37 active cases of COVID-19 in the territory. There were six confirmed cases over the weekend. Cases are in Whitehorse, Dawson and Carcross.

The outbreak at Copper Ridge Place has been declared over. The outbreak was limited to the two initial cases, with no further transmission in Copper Ridge Place.

“We continue to respond to COVID-19 where and when it occurs in the Yukon,” said Elliott. “I am pleased that the long-term care home outbreak in the Yukon was limited and that the two people involved have recovered.”

Public exposure notice

Elliott has issued a public exposure notice for Air North Flight (4N554) on Sept. 20 Vancouver to Whitehorse, departure 1:35 p.m. arrival 3:59 p.m.

It’s considered a low-risk exposure and everyone on this flight is asked to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days until Oct. 4 and arrange testing if symptoms develop.

Anyone experiencing symptoms in Whitehorse should call the COVID-19 Testing and Assessment Centre at 867-393-3083 or book online.

People in communities should contact their rural health centre.

Contact John Tonin at