Whitehorse Daily Star

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EXPLAINING THE PLANS – Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee and Dr. Brendan Hanley, the chief medical health officer, are seen at Wednesday afternoon’s update on the reopening of the territory’s schools in the era of COVID-19. Photo courtesy YUKON GOVERNMENT/ALISTAIR MAITLAND PHOTOGRAPHY

Older students to be asked to wear masks

Students aged 10 and older will be asked to wear non-medical masks at school next week, according to new guidelines from the territory’s chief medical officer.

By Gabrielle Plonka on August 13, 2020

Students aged 10 and older will be asked to wear non-medical masks at school next week, according to new guidelines from the territory’s chief medical officer.

“I make this recommendation based on emerging evidence that older children may be just as likely to transmit COVID-19 as adults,” Dr. Brendan Hanley said Wednesday afternoon.

“I hope this additional step will provide further assurances to parents and to staff that we are doing our utmost to keep students and staff safe from COVID-19.”

Hanley provided some new guidelines for schools with Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee during the latest COVID-19 update. Whitehorse students will return to school next Thursday.

Schools will provide masks to students and staff, and each school’s operational plan will make individual recommendations on where to wear masks.

Students can expect to wear masks on school buses and in hallways, but not in classrooms where seats are safely spaced, Hanley said.

The recommendation matches the newly-published federal guidelines for mask-wearing in schools.

Hanley said masks in schools doesn’t mean a community-wide mask order is imminent.

“I am still not in favour of making masks mandatory for all citizens,” Hanley said.

“We should remind ourselves that mask usage is an additional tool and should never replace the need for safe spacing in either outdoor or indoor environments.”

Parents should also prepare to keep their children home from school if they become even mildly sick, Hanley said.

School operational plans were posted to school websites and sent out to families on Wednesday. They include the specific measures each school will have in place to keep students safe. 

Common practices across schools will be physical distancing, limiting mixing students and staff, frequent washing and sanitizing and staying home while sick, McPhee said.

Students also received their schedules on Wednesday. Grades 10 to 12 students will be attending half-day classes.

“I want to reassure parents this does not mean students will only be learning half of the time,” McPhee said.

Grades 10 to 12 students will be “carefully monitored” and supported through virtual and in-person teacher-supervised study halls.

“We will adapt as necessary to make sure all students are supported in their learning,” McPhee said.

Guidelines for school buses were also reviewed on Wednesday afternoon.

Students taking the school bus this year will be assigned to a specific bus seat and provided with a bus pass noting their bus number. There will be two students per seat, with fewer students on each bus than typical.

McPhee said families who can walk, cycle, drive or carpool to school are encouraged to do so. High school students are encouraged to take public transit rather than the school bus, if possible.

Students are eligible for school bus service if they live more than 3.2 kilometres from their school and are attending the school in their attendance area.

All eligible students will be provided with bus service, McPhee said.

Students outside the eligibility requirements will be prioritized based on their grade level, with kindergarten to Grade 3 students being of higher priority than older students.

Families will be directly notified if they can be accommodated on the school bus.

“Planning for this school year has been challenging and different than other years; it has taken a tremendous amount of effort from individuals across the territory,” McPhee said.

“It takes patience, kindness and mutual support to come together as a community and overcome the challenges that COVID-19 brings.”

A Community Wellbeing Survey is also underway and open to all Yukon residents. It has garnered 2,300 responses so far, and will remain open through Sept. 6. 

The purpose of the survey is to measure the impacts of COVID-19 on the well-being of Yukoners.

Comments (18)

Up 2 Down 2

Stephen on Aug 18, 2020 at 6:32 pm

Oh Josey, The word “socialist” doesn’t change what he and the party really were and what they believed, just as the word “Democratic” does not make the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea — Aka North Korea — a democracy.

Up 24 Down 4

joe on Aug 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

Why are teachers forced back to work while some govy workers still sit at home??

Up 20 Down 7

Anie on Aug 17, 2020 at 8:47 am

Mathew, surely you don't believe the nonsense you wrote. There is no conspiracy. The medical experts aren't out to rule the world by confusion. To accuse them of lying to you suggests nefarious motives that are beyond common sense. The reality is that this illness is new. We don't have decades of data on which to base recommendations. As the virus spread, and facts became available, medical advice also had to change, it's just that simple. Going forward, we may learn more about how to minimize spread and treat the illness and medical advice will continue to change.

Up 6 Down 5

Josey Wales on Aug 17, 2020 at 7:12 am

Stephan...I am certain you are getting me mixed up with June.
if not, in threads of engagement, please cite what it is I do not pay attention to
and how I am ignorant in the science arena.
I encourage others to ask questions, research the researchers.
When done properly, questions usually follow.

I see no queries in your participation, only efforts to undermine another POV
Everyone has room for historical correction, one cannot even say NAZI, spell it out...without the socialist component.

lemme guess...that was not "real" socialism? The default reply, you absolutely need a revisit of history.
The 20th century has a giant pile of corpses, in the pursuit of "socialism"
...and another giant mass today of folks regurgitating "that was not real socialism"

The quotes are not yours, but the engineered reply of many holding that side of the argument.
Stephan, thanks for the snack and please carry on regardless of your new view of OJW

Up 14 Down 10

Max Mack on Aug 16, 2020 at 8:59 pm

My very short comment about Dr. Hanley's reference to "emerging evidence" and children spreading SARS-Cov-2 did not make the cut, apparently.

There is very limited evidence to support mask wearing in a non-healthcare setting. Repeated studies on the wearing of masks in a non-healthcare setting have concluded that they are ineffective at stopping the spread of influenza.

Also, Dr. Hanley knows full well that the vast majority of major effects and death from COVID are in the aged -- not the young. Yes, young people can get infected and they can also spread the disease. But, it is the elderly that need to be protected -- NOT the young.

Dr. Hanley and the rest of the Silver gang know full well that by throwing the decision to the individual schools that the schools themselves will mandate mask-wearing as the surprisingly uneducated teacher's unions and a some terrified parents will demand it.

Time to end this charade of an "emergency". Get back to normal.

Up 7 Down 10

Stephen on Aug 16, 2020 at 12:02 pm

Oh Josey I didn’t think you were thin skinned enough to take the bait. You disappoint me. In The past I have up voted your comments quite a few times, it seems when you're speaking from experience and trumpeting for more rights/benefits for seniors, you are quite thoughtful and compelling and I can’t help but agree with you. But when you are grandstanding about things you know less about, such as government and science that’s when we tend to disagree. If the facts you live in include considering the crazy Austrian to have been an actual socialist then you should really brush up on your history. As for my leanings I have voted for more than one party in my life and believe that at least locally for better or worse that we will see a blue wave next go around as long as Mr Dixon is able to turn the good old boys into a more inclusive and open minded party.
P.S I welcome a skin thickness measuring party anytime!

Up 16 Down 2

Jim on Aug 15, 2020 at 11:01 pm

@scotch, you are correct, the legislature never sits in the summer. Of course they always take around seven months off. But has there ever been a world wide pandemic? Have we been in a state of emergency for 7 months before? Maybe if we had a responsible government they would see the necessity to convene the ledg. There are major spending and protocols that need to be decided. It’s only the kool-aid drinking liberals are fine with just over half the elected representatives making all the decisions. And no, a meeting with the minister or deputy minister is in no way the same as democratic sitting of the house. How about they make up for lost time and start a little early and give the public a little bit of what they are paid for.

Up 5 Down 4

Josey Wales on Aug 15, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Thanks moderation for that brutal edit.
The words you cut...was a on film/audio statement made by the "transferred portfolio" Catherine Mckenna LPC team member. Cut the nickname yeah sure..or not use it Josey suppose.

Having a sitting minister use language outta the holocaust, and the crazy Austrians playbook...should alarm anyone "paying attention"
Bummer as it truly does remove the context of political manipulation among the subjects...which we clearly are.

Up 13 Down 13

Josey Wales on Aug 15, 2020 at 1:08 pm

hey Stephan...Josey here feeding on your chum you set out.

Read your participation twice, not any valid points but pure personal attacks?
I got like reeeeally thick skin, can take the very, very predicable attacks from zealots and brain dead shills. Do you?
i make no assumption those folks are you Stephan..clear..or still "garbled" in your cranium?

Gotta say you read more like the typical team Red supporter in 2020.
your participating added nothing in the post I am feeding off, zip..not one valid point.

*for political and historical context ONLY*** not a spore of endorsement...

"If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed"
Hmmm...THAT was thee historical SOCIALIST >>"Crazy Austrian" but is very very similar to CM words AND the ideology of the LPC..funny that eh?
Stephan I do pay attention, even to the idiots..no inference you are one
More than welcome to fact check this hillbilly that garbles things together.
You do know what a fact is I hope? As I deal in those, not emotional lambs needing herding...as so many here in Portland Yukon seem to be.

Up 16 Down 12

Stephen on Aug 14, 2020 at 5:17 pm

You must be new around here, Matthew and Josey and most others don’t pay attention, they just learn a few new words and spew them out hoping that they make sense in the garbled sentences they produce. Hard to grasp the concept of trying to combat something that is constantly evolving and changing and then being angry that the plan changes to try and keep up to it.
Matthew needs to get into politics as he seems to know everything, maybe him and Wilf can run for mayor together next time, maybe break that 200 vote ceiling he seems to run into each time.

Up 17 Down 11

Scotch on Aug 14, 2020 at 4:12 pm


Virtue Signaling
Dude, the Leg NEVER sits in the summer. NEVER!
Opposition refused to meet with special meetings in the Leg.
They will be back, just like always in the first week of October. Try to pay attention.

Up 12 Down 13

Wilf Carter on Aug 14, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Did you also know that kids are only going half days? One Group in the morning and another in the afternoon. Kids are way behind because of last year. We have kids only getting a part time classes.

Up 23 Down 18

Josey Wales on Aug 13, 2020 at 11:11 pm

Thumbs up if you too..."feel" or even think the authoritarians are making sh*t up as they go? Down thumb of course, if ya wanna poke out my eyes and cut my fingers off.
Not the actual Kung Flu/COVID19, but all the other moves in their playbook.

Near 6 months in...and I read the RCMP finally have permission to do their jobs as it relates to travelers through the Territory during this planneddemic?
It took that long to get permission from the political masters...gee wadda ya know?

Which political master Josey? The very one in the photo attached to this article, in the background behind that blurry shot of the acting Premier...is who.
An article about crack government commandos that take public safety like...totally, totally serious nnnKay. They know best your health, safety and well being...

So much so, their team turned a convicted murderer/terrorist into a multi millionaire. I digress, back to YOUR kids...
apparently education too, if one chooses that nomenclature....(dead horse poke)
...more accurately indoctrination.

Blind faith in team Red...will greatly increase your chances of being dead.
maybe not from germs, but a reoffending POS, a NCR, a YO maybe a jihad Joe?

Save a child's mind (from Liberal ideologies via indoctrination)...home school.

Up 21 Down 12

How come he only came up with this now? on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Why now? You've had all summer and you just come out with recommendation for masks now? If you were really being diligent as a government, you'd make it mandatory for all students/staff returning to school after travelling to quarantine for 14 days before attending school or work. Doesn't matter if they were only in BC--BC is having a spike in cases, and if you visit BC and then are returning to a Yukon school, quarantine! . Only going to take one kid at a school with COVID and we're pulling our children out.

Up 18 Down 30

Matthew on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:16 pm

Remember a few months ago they said covid doesn't affect children..
Remember a few months ago they said wearing masks doesn't stop the spread..
Now look where we are.. absolutely pathetic, I suppose we should be used to all the flip flopping. My question is why do we continue to believe these proven liars!? Acting as if viruses are new and this one is different than all others..

I want a real study done on masks. I want to know the amount of oxygen that is denied into your system and how it effects you. Especially denying oxygen to developing bodies aka kids! Research Hypoxia.

Up 20 Down 13

JohnW on Aug 13, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Yet another virtue-signaling placebo from our chronically inept govt.
Re-convene the legislature, and make our democracy work again.
These issues need to be discussed and debated not autocratically imposed by people operating way above their level of incompetence.

Holland's scientists say there's no solid evidence face coverings work

Up 26 Down 9

Yukoner on Aug 13, 2020 at 4:53 pm

“I am still not in favour of making masks mandatory for all citizens,” just those who aren't able to object conscientiously. This is crazy, maybe Dr Hanley, Premier Silver and Minister McPhee should take a trip to Canadian Tire or Walmart or the grocery store and see how everybody else is "distancing". These crazy plans for schools and recreation are getting out of hand.

If the government wants to do something readopt a two week quarantine for non essential workers and let everybody get back to a normal life. The income from tourism is not worth the strain it puts on our community as a whole.

Up 29 Down 2

martin on Aug 13, 2020 at 4:52 pm

We were waiting for the minister's plan and it basically says "each one on its own"; meanwhile the press release stresses the need of "working together". No leadership, no guidelines, no official plan. My kid's school has not additional budget allocated for the current situation. Where did the money from the Feds go?

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