Communiqué: Minister R.J. Simpson meets with Education Leaders amid COVID-19 School Closures

Press Release

R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE), met virtually with education leaders on Oct. 19 to discuss the ongoing school closures amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the Northwest Territories (NWT). Minister Simpson also provided updates on major ECE initiatives to improve student outcomes in the NWT.

Minister Simpson thanked education leaders for their continued flexibility and cooperation during the latest school closures, and welcomed the news that schools in the Sahtu are back to in-person learning. He reiterated that the safety of students and educators remains the Department’s top priority.

The Minister provided an update on the delayed Fall Legislative sitting, as well as the District Education Authority elections. Minister Simpson thanked outgoing education leaders for their years of service and dedication to education in the North, and welcomed newcomers who put their names forward in the elections.

Leaders received an update on the upcoming release of the What We Heard Report on Education Act Modernization. Themes that emerged from the report include the need to develop Northern and Indigenous educators, prioritizing technology and high-speed internet, and ample time to discuss options for the future of NWT education.

The Department also updated education leaders on key themes around the Early Learning and Childcare Strategy, including a focus on culture, language and community values in programming, improved wages and benefits for staff, and affordable parent fees. The meeting also touched on the progress made in developing a new labour market forecast to the year 2040, and the development of a new Skills 4 Success four-year action plan for the 2021-2025 timeframe.


“The COVID-19 pandemic has put many additional demands on education leaders for almost two years, and I thank them again for their efforts and dedication to our students and schools. We continue to strengthen our school safety protocols, including the recently announced COVID-19 at-home student screening tool. ECE’s work to improve student outcomes, through initiatives like Education Act Modernization, the Early Learning and Childcare Strategy, and Skills 4 Success program, continues to be a top priority of this government. I look forward to speaking more about these important initiatives during the next sitting of the Legislative Assembly.”

-R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

“We thank the Minister for his continued support and acknowledgment of the challenges education leaders in the NWT are facing during the latest school closures. Educators, students and families have shown true resolve as the pandemic continues to impact our programing. We also appreciate the updates on multiple initiatives to improve student outcomes, and are pleased that this work continues to be prioritized even during these unprecedented times.”

-Darlene Gruben, Chair, Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council

For more information contact:

Christina Carrigan

Acting Manager, Communications and Public Affairs
Department of Education, Culture and Employment
[email protected]

Darlene Gruben
Chair, Beaufort Delta Divisional Education Council
[email protected]


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