Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media about the Path Forward plan for the territory after the legislative question period on March 8. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

Premier Sandy Silver speaks to media about the Path Forward plan for the territory after the legislative question period on March 8. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)

Students in full-time classes next month, travel bubbles planned for spring

The Yukon government announced plans to relax pandemic measures during March 10’s COVID-19 update

Yukon high school students will return to full-time classes next month, and officials are optimistic that travel restrictions could be lifted this spring.

These announcements were made during this morning’s COVID-19 briefing.

“As Dr. Hanley has said, the vaccine is our pathway out of this pandemic. The rate of uptake is very promising, and we feel very comfortable announcing some changes that we can look forward to as spring approaches,” Premier Sandy Silver said.

Silver said planning and organization is underway to bring Whitehorse students in Grades 10 to 12 back to classes full-time next month.

The increase of social bubbles is also planned to coincide with the increasing vaccination rate. There are also plans to open the border to travel bubbles with other jurisdictions.

“If the current trends continue, I’m hopeful we’ll be able to look at travel bubbles in May and June,” Silver said.

“What we are able to adjust in the coming weeks and months will be depending upon things continuing on the same trajectory we have been seeing recently, with case counts going down across the country, and vaccination rates increasing, both here in the territory and in neighbouring jurisdictions.”

As of Monday, 15,572 Yukoners had received their first dose of the vaccine.

Once enough Yukoners are vaccinated, a more relaxed version of the current restrictions will be introduced.

The Yukon government announced new benchmarks for reopening in A Path Forward: Next Steps, published on March 5.

A Path Forward splits the immediate future into two steps.

The document outlines several “indicator thresholds” that will allow measures to lift, assuming local case counts are low.

Before the Yukon can reopen the border to another jurisdiction, the interested jurisdiction should ideally have a low active case rate of less than 10 per 100,000 people.

Physical distancing, masks and social bubbles will be required until vaccines are found to be effective against transmission of COVID-19 and its many variants.

All of the above relaxations require a “high overall vaccination rate for the entire Yukon population.”

It’s undecided how many Yukoners equate a “high overall rate,” Premier Sandy Silver said on March 8. Earlier in the pandemic, the commonly cited metric for herd immunity was 75 per cent.

“We really need Yukoners to get vaccinated, so the best thing that we can do right now is to make sure that we get that number up as high as possible,” Silver said.

The premier added that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the territory’s ability to reopen, and said more information should be available within a couple of weeks.

A Path Forward explains that the government’s initial multi-step document, published last May, envisioned a “simple transition” out of restrictions once a vaccine arrived.

“However, we find ourselves in very different circumstances than imagined just 10 months ago,” it says.

“The second wave that was anticipated by public health officials has occurred, and many provinces imposed extreme public health measures in response…. Despite the fact that case counts are now stabilizing, our risk level today continues to remain higher than during the first wave.”

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A competitor takes a jump in front of a crowd at the Mount Sima Up Hill Challenge in Whitehorse on April 17. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Spring shred: Snowmobiles gather on Mount Sima for 2021 Uphill Challenge

Riders had a sunny and warm day on the hill, but still plenty of snowpack on the uphill course.

Sheila MacLean tosses her winter blues in the fire to be burned away in Whitehorse on March 24, 2018. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Burning permits will be revoked April 25

The Whitehorse Fire Department extended the open burning season

Maura Forrest/Yukon News File photos from Beaver Creek White River First Nation
Bessie Chassé elected as new chief of White River First Nation

“I was happy that the membership saw that I was ready for this position.”

X
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for April 21, 2021.… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Yukon MP Larry Bagnell speaks at an announcement in Whitehorse on July 8, 2019.
Federal budget includes changes to Northern Residents Deduction, minimum wage, green energy funds

The massive budget included some rare references to the territory.

Doug Bell photographed in Whitehorse in 2008, for an article about his role as Yukon Commissioner in the early 1980’s. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon remembers former commissioner Doug Bell

Bell passed away in Whitehorse on Sunday, at the age of 94.

Crystal Schick/Yukon News Whitehorse International Airport in Whitehorse on May 6, 2020.
NAV CANADA suspends review for Whitehorse airport traffic control

NAV CANADA announced on April 15 that it is no longer considering… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Most Read