Minister of Education Tracy McPhee and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brendan Hanley at the Yukon government’s COVID-19 press conference in Whitehorse on June 9. Initial plans for the return to classrooms this fall were announced for the territory’s students. (Alistair Maitland Photography)

Yukon classrooms to be open again for the 2020-2021 school year

Students to go back to school in August

Classes are expected to physically be back in session sometime this August for the 2020-2021 school year.

Minister of Education Tracy McPhee and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley gave some of the framework for the upcoming school year during the June 9 COVID-19 update.

McPhee said the territory is gearing up to have Kindergarten to Grade 12 students get back into classrooms. The Yukon government will be working with principals and staff as well as looking at how other jurisdictions are handling a return to school.

“We are learning from their experiences and adapting,” McPhee said.

Each school in the territory will be required to have an operational plan in place for the next school year.

McPhee encouraged parents to register their kids for the school bus. Registration forms are available online at

Hanley said that education is more than just about learning, as there is a social connection to it. The closure of schools has left an impact that could last longer than the virus itself, he said. Kids have experienced boredom, isolation and may have been exposed to domestic violence while out of school.

He explained that there needed to be rapid action to prevent a “COVID onslaught” at the beginning of the pandemic but now the government must pull back.

The school planning will be important in calculating the risk of having the schools open again versus keeping kids out of school.

“Schools are a safe space for kids,” Hanley said.

He said he was confident that schools can adapt to the new reality. He said hand washing and sanitization should have an effect on mitigating COVID risk.

There will be more details released in the future regarding what the new school day could look like. Hanley said there could be shorter days and smaller classes but gave no further details.

He explained that COVID-19 could be passed on in a school environment but the chance is low. He pointed out that children are more likely to be exposed to the virus at home.

He added that children typically get milder cases of the virus and kids play a minor role in spreading it.

Hanley provided some statistics for COVID-19 and children. There have been no COVID-19 related deaths for people under age 19 in Canada, with the same age group representing seven per cent of all cases of the virus and one per cent of hospitalizations.

Any change in plans would depend on the importation risk from outside of the territory. He said more information would be released as talks continue over the summer.

Contact Gord Fortin at

CoronavirusYukon Department of Education

Just Posted

Whether the dust jacket of this historical novel is the Canadian version (left) or the American (right), the readable content within is the same. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: New novel a gripping account of the gold rush

Stampede: Gold Fever and Disaster in the Klondike is an ‘enjoyable and readable’ account of history


Wyatt’s World for May 14, 2021.… Continue reading

Copies of the revised 2021-22 budget documents tabled in the legislature on May 14. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Liberals introduce new budget with universal dental and safe supply funding

The new items were added to secure the support of the NDP.

Community Services Minister Richard Mostyn speaks to reporters on May 13. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Cap on rent increases will take effect May 15

The rollout of the policy is creating ‘chaos,’ says opposition

Yukon News file
A 21-year-old man is in custody after a stabbing in Porter Creek on May 14.
One man in hospital, another in custody, after alleged stabbing in Porter Creek

A police dog was used to track the suspect who was later arrested in a wooded area.

Safe at home office in Whitehorse on May 10, 2021. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Federal government provides $1.6 million for Yukon anti-homelessness work

Projects including five mobile homes for small communities received funding.

Drilling at Northern Tiger’s 3Ace gold project in 2011. Randi Newton argues that mining in the territory can be reshaped. (Yukon government/file)
Editorial: There’s momentum for mining reform

CPAWS’ Randi Newton argues that the territory’s mining legislations need a substantial overhaul

At its May 10 meeting, Whitehorse city council approved the subdivision for the Kwanlin Dün First Nation’s business park planned in Marwell. (Submitted)
KDFN business park subdivision approved

Will mean more commercial industrial land available in Whitehorse

Main Street in Whitehorse on May 4. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of a bylaw to allow pop-up patios in city parking spaces. Third reading will come forward later in May. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Whitehorse council pursuing restaurant patio possibilities

Council passes first two readings for new patio bylaw

Neil Hartling, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon president, left, said the new self-isolation guidelines for the Yukon are a ‘ray of hope’ for tourism operators. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Yukon tourism operators prepared for ‘very poor summer’ even with relaxed border rules

Toursim industry responds to new guidelines allowing fully vaccinated individuals to skip mandatory self-isolation.

A lawsuit has been filed detailing the resignation of a former Yukon government mine engineer. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A year after resigning, former chief mine engineer sues Yukon government

Paul Christman alleges a hostile work environment and circumvention of his authority led him to quit

Former Liberal MLA Pauline Frost speaks to reporters outside the courthouse on April 19. One of the voters accused of casting an invalid vote has been granted intervenor status in the lawsuit Frost filed last month. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Voters named in Pauline Frost election lawsuit ask to join court proceedings

The judge granted Christopher Schafer intervenor status

Most Read