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YT Government: Update on school operational plans and school busing for 2020–21

Press Release

Published 12/08/2020

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.

School busing

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 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:

  • Kindergarten to Grade 3 students;
  • Grade 4 to 7 students who live within 3.2 kilometres of their attendance area school;
  • students who attend school outside of their attendance area; and
  • special requests, including busing to stops other than from home to school and back.

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

Quick facts

  • August 20 is the first day of school for Whitehorse students. Rural schools start on different dates between August 19 and September 1.
  • Rural school students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 and Whitehorse students in Kindergarten to Grade 9 will return to full time face-to-face classes five days a week. Whitehorse students in Grades 10 to 12 will attend face-to-face classes for half the school day five days a week and learn away from school for the other half of the school day.
  • School operations over the course of the pandemic are guided by the health and safety guidelines for Kindergarten to Grade 12 school settings. Student learning over the course of the pandemic is being guided by the Yukon Learning Continuity Requirements, including building skills through blended learning.
  • The COVID-19 student learning survey results were published on August 7 and are guiding staff as they continue to plan and adapt learning and ongoing instruction for students into the 2020–21 school year.
  • To support assigned seating, students will be provided a school bus pass on the first day of school that will include their school bus number. Students will be required to show their school bus pass when they get on the school bus.
  • Requests to ride the school bus to a location other than home or school are considered based on the Student Transportation Ridership Guidelines, including if there is enough space on the school bus and if there are available bus routes. These requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The priority for busing is students travelling between home and school.

Matthew Cameron
Cabinet Communications
[email protected]

Kyle Nightingale
Communications, Education
[email protected]

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