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School operational plans and school busing information, including bus routes and schedules, for 2020–21 are being shared this week.
School operational plans
Each school in Yukon is required to have an operational plan that outlines how the school will meet the health and safety guidelines for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings set by Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Central administration staff and school principals have been working with public health officials, school councils and Yukon First Nations in each school community to finalize operational plans and adapt school routines for the 2020–21 school year so that students and staff can safely return to classes.
School operational plans are being reviewed, finalized and distributed through each school as they come in to keep students, parents and school staff updated on specific measures in place at their school. School operational plans are being shared on school websites.
To meet the health and safety guidelines for school bus operations set by Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, school bus services are being adapted for 2020–21, including fewer students on each school bus.
Students are being prioritized for the school bus this year based on their eligibility as outlined in the Education Act and Student Transportation Regulations. Students are eligible for the school bus if they live more than 3.2 kilometres from their school and are attending the school in their attendance area.
School bus routes for elementary students in Whitehorse are now available on Yukon.ca. The bus routes for high school students are still being finalized, including for students in Grades 10 to 12 rotating between classes in school and learning away from school. Routes will be posted and updated by the end of the week and as they become available.
All students who are eligible to ride the school bus will be able to do so. The Government of Yukon is working with its bus service provider to add additional school buses for the 2020–21 school year to accommodate as many students as safely possible.
The Government of Yukon will also consider requests from students beyond the usual eligibility requirements for bus travel, based on available space on buses in the following order of priority:
Families are being directly notified if they can be accommodated on the school bus at the start of the school year. As the school year starts, we will be monitoring our bus services and identifying where we can make adjustments to ensure we continue to accommodate as many students as possible and families will be updated as spacing becomes available.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health and the Department of Education continue to encourage families to transport students between home and school this year if possible by arranging for students to walk, cycle, drive or carpool. This will allow more space on the bus for students who do not have another way of getting to school.
High school students are encouraged to register for a City of Whitehorse transit pass and ride City transit instead of the school bus if possible, to help accommodate students who cannot take city transit on the school bus. City transit passes also provide flexibility for students who will have different schedules than normal this school year. The Department of Education will continue to provide city bus passes to students who request them.
Families that have alternative transportation to school are asked to de-register for the school bus by contacting the Student Transportation Officer at [email protected]
We are excited to welcome students and staff safely back into the classroom, where students are face-to-face with their teachers and learning alongside their friends. Everyone will have new health and safety routines to learn in the first few weeks and we will continue to adapt to meet the needs of students over the course of the school year. Thank you to principals, educators, staff, public health officers, school councils, Yukon First Nations and our education partners for all their efforts and work over the summer to bring students safely back to school.
Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee
In COVID times more than ever, it takes a community to raise and to educate a child. My thanks go to all who have devoted hundreds of hours into the researching and writing of health and safety guidelines, the busing plans and the operational plans to enable kids to be back into schools. We all know how important for our children return to school, and for teachers and staff to feel informed, safe and supported. That would not be possible without the people behind the scenes.
Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley