What’s New – Monday, September 11
Re-entry to Communities
- Fort Smith
- The Town of Fort Smith has released an initial re-entry plan that opens the community to approved essential workers and some family members as early as Tuesday, September 12.
- Residents who are not essential workers can return as soon as Monday, September 18.
- The above dates are for within the municipal boundary of the Town of Fort Smith only, and could change dependent on wildfire activity.
- The town has indicated that services and resources will be limited in the early stages of the re-entry: the Health Centre will not be fully staffed immediately, food and fuel supplies may be limited, and child care may not be available within the first few weeks of re-entry.
- A number of Aurora College staff have volunteered to return this week to clean and inspect campus facilities and student housing in preparation for the general re-entry. Thebacha Campus is still closed until further notice. All Fort Smith-based staff are reminded that no one is to enter college facilities until they have been cleared to do so by the Campus Director.
- Residents with health and other concerns are encouraged to delay their return until services are more fully available.
- Hay River/K’atl’odeeche First Nation
- Hay River and K’atl’odeeche have initial re-entry plans that open the communities to approved essential workers and some family members as early as Tuesday, September 12.
- Specific dates for when for residents who are not essential workers can return have not been released, but Hay River has indicated it may be as soon as September 15. There will be an official announcement from the Town of Hay River at 8:00 PM today (Sept. 11)
- The above dates are for within undamaged areas within the community boundaries only, and could change dependent on wildfire activity.
- Residents with health or other concerns, or who live in areas damaged by the fires, are encouraged to delay their return until more services are available.
- Leadership has indicated that services and resources will be limited in the early stages of the re-entry: the Health Centre may not be fully staffed immediately, food and fuel supplies may be limited, and child care may not be available within the first few weeks of re-entry.
- Yellowknife, Dettah, Ndilo
- Yellowknife-area facilities are now open for staff to return.
- IST Systems
- There was a complete power outage in Fort Smith on September that resulted in the main servers shutting down again. They were brought back online on Sunday evening, however, there may be issues being resolved early this week.
RETURN TO COMMUNITIES
Re-entry Plan for Yellowknife region:
- Services to students at Yellowknife North Slave Campus (such as bill payments, registration assistance, residence questions, etc.) will be available effective Wednesday, September 13, but services may be limited at first.
- Student Services is working with returning and new students to prioritize and coordinate housing needs. We are still asking the majority of new students to delay arriving on campus until closer to the start date of classes. Student Services is communicating regularly with students to keep them updated. If you know any students who may have missed these communications, please have them reach out to ApplyYellowknife@auroracollege.nt.ca ; ApplyInuvik@auroracollege.nt.ca ; 1-866-266-4966 or 1-867-920-3030.
- While the re-entry announcement is welcome news for many of us, we also recognize that this continues to be a stressful time. Mental health and wellness support is available for all employees and their families, including through the GNWT’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) program at 1-833-622-1307.
- The beginning of the fall term has been delayed to October 3, 2023 for programs, campuses and community learning centres. Students have been asked to delay relocating to student housing until shortly before the term starts. The Executive Leadership Team (ELT) is examining contingency plans in case evacuations extend beyond that date.
- A revised Academic Schedule has been finalized. We worked with Student Financial Assistance (SFA) to ensure the revised schedule meets students’ academic and financial needs.
- Program Heads and Chairs will be working with instructional staff to ensure programs and classes can adapt to the new schedule.
STUDENT COMMUNICATION AND SUPPORTS:
Rent Relief for Student Housing
- In order to support students impacted by the changes to our academic year and the evacuations, the decision has been made to waive rental fees for all students in Aurora College housing for the month of September. We hope this will help ease the financial and emotional burdens that many of our students are facing. In addition, for those students in residence in August, the rent has been prorated to exclude the evacuation periods in Fort Smith and Yellowknife. Refunds to student accounts have been made.
- Shortly after the decision was made to delay the start of the fall semester, the College reached out to all incoming and returning students through personal phone numbers, emails and social media. Student Services will continue to communicate with students on a regular basis through various platforms.
- We are working on other options to further support students returning after evacuation and to deal with the altered academic year.
AURORA RESEARCH INSTITUTE:
- With the Yellowknife re-entry plan underway, Aurora Research Institute will resume regular logistical support services at Western Arctic Research Centre as of Monday, September 11. ARI had suspended logistical support to researchers temporarily due to the territorial state of emergency and the limitations on travel within the NWT. Effective immediately, ARI /WARC is accepting logistical support requests such as accommodation and field research support.
- As the evacuations continue, we want to emphasize the importance of taking care of yourselves.
- Here are a few gentle reminders:
- Prioritize Self-Care: Your well-being is paramount. Take time for activities that bring you joy and help you relax. Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, enjoying a hobby, or simply unwinding with a good book or movie, make sure to do what makes you feel rejuvenated.
- Set Boundaries: If there are no urgent matters that require your attention, allow yourself the space to disengage from work over the weekend. Communicate your availability clearly to colleagues and supervisors, and trust that they understand the importance of balance.
- Reach Out for Support: There are supports available if you’re feeling overwhelmed or need assistance, including through the GNWT’s Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) program at 1-833-622-1307.
- Remember, your well-being fuels your ability to continue making a difference. Taking time for yourself is not only acceptable but encouraged. We’re confident that with your commitment and energy, we’ll continue to navigate these challenges successfully.
- Please look out for each other, and stay safe.
IMPORTANT LINKS AND RESOURCES:
GNWT RESOURCES FOR EVACUATED STAFF
GNWT AND GNWT PUBLIC SAFETY
ROAD CLOSURES MAP
CITY OF YELLOWKNIFE
TOWN OF HAY RIVER
TOWN OF FORT SMITH UPDATES
CABIN RADIO NEWS AND WILDFIRE UPDATES