IQALUIT, Nunavut — Nunavut's education minister says students are to return to school remotely next week and start going back to classes on Jan. 24.
Pamela Gross said Tuesday that chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, will make a final call later this week based on COVID-19 case numbers.
Schools are to open on a "case by case" basis, depending on the number of active cases in a community, Gross says.
The territory of 40,000 people has been under lockdown since late December when COVID-19 infections spread rapidly across multiple communities as the Omicron variant took hold.
There were 192 cases of COVID-19 in more than 13 communities on Tuesday, a drop from 222 cases a day earlier.
Patterson said more people in Nunavut are now recovering from COVID-19 than testing positive.
He said the decrease in cases is probably because the territory is no longer testing in communities where COVID-19 has already been detected. There was also a backlog in counting the number of recovered cases, which has now been cleared, he said.
Premier P.J. Akeeagok said the territory has started distributing rapid-test kits to returning air travellers in the Nunavut communities of Sanikiluaq, Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet. Anyone flying in from Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa and Yellowknife will receive kits at those airports as well.
Akeeagok reiterated that Nunavut needs more housing units to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 and said his cabinet held an emergency meeting to find ways to address the problem.
"Nunavut needs immediate action on housing to provide our residents homes to safely isolate in," he said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2022.
The Canadian Press