Full-time school for some grades, larger social bubbles as Yukon to ease COVID rules

·2 min read

WHITEHORSE — Yukon Premier Sandy Silver says his territory "leads the country in immunizations" of the COVID-19 vaccine, clearing the way for changes to regulations that have slowed the spread of the virus over the last year.

Silver says full-time, in-class learning will resume next month for high school students in Grades 10 to 12.

An announcement is also due in the coming weeks to increase the size of social bubbles, allowing for larger gatherings, while Silver says some travel restrictions could be revised by late spring or early summer.

But he warned during a news conference on Wednesday that some hurdles remain before rules are eased, and he urged Yukon residents to follow safety measures and maintain their group of "safe six" contacts, at least until after spring break.

Silver says planned changes will also depend on COVID-19 case counts continuing to drop across the country while vaccination rates rise in Yukon and its neighbouring jurisdictions.

The territory currently has no active cases of COVID-19 and has administered 24,412 doses of Moderna vaccine, including 8,840 second doses.

Yukon chief medical officer of health Dr. Brendan Hanley describes the past year as an emotional tsunami, but says he remains "cautiously hopeful" about a move toward normality.

"We're not over this yet," he says.

"We do have a significant importation risk of cases, we still have high variant activity and increasing variant activity in the country."

But Hanley says there's an "era of rapidly increasing vaccination," and that provides a "comfort level to start making some predictions."

Conversations have been underway with federal officials and provincial premiers about reopening the border with Alaska as that state moves forward with an aggressive immunization plan, but Silver says no decision has been made.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press