Aupaluk students set to return to classes March 31
“It’s been a huge setback, but everyone has really come together in response to this"
Kativik School Board officials say students in Aupaluk should be back in class by March 31 – just two weeks after the Nunavik community’s only school was ravaged by fire.
On March 15, an early-morning fire tore through Tarsakallak school.
With only a single water truck and most of the community’s volunteer firefighters out of town, the building was completely destroyed.
But school board officials, staff and community organizations have responded quickly to the loss, identifying two spaces in the community that will temporary house teachers and students until a new school can be rebuilt.
Extra rooms in Aupaluk’s daycare centre will host Tarsakallak’s kindergarten to Grade 3 classes, while the old municipal office — vacated just last year — is being renovated to house classes for students from Grade 4 through high school, as well as the principal and centre director’s office.
“Last week a construction crew arrived and they’re working quite fast to take down some walls (in the old municipal office) to configure the space into classrooms,” said KSB spokeswoman Jade Bernier. “We foresee that regular classes will start March 31.”
About 50 students attended Tarsakallak school.
Tarsakallak’s teachers — many of whom were out of town for spring break when the fire happened — arrived back in Aupaluk last weekend, Bernier said.
Since then, they’ve been working to reorganize school schedules and order new pedagogical materials for their classrooms, which are already being shipped to Aupaluk.
For the rest of the week, teachers are hosting events with students and their families in the community, including an afternoon of Arctic (outdoor) volleyball.
“It’s been a huge setback for everyone in the community, but the staff has really come together to respond to this,” Bernier said.
A crowd funding campaign set up on GoFundMe.com has also raised more than $1,500 to help replace students’ personal items that were lost in the fire.
Bernier said discussions are continuing with Quebec’s education department about how and when the school will be rebuilt.
It’s still unclear what started the fire, although investigators have ruled out any foul play.