Neyaashiinigmiing Emergency Closure Extended to June 12

The Council has extended the closure of non-essential band programs until June 12th, 2020. All current staff and salary arrangements will remain in place until further notice. If you have questions about a particular program, please direct your questions to that program’s supervisor. All program supervisors are available by email during the closure.

The emergency closure of programs was implemented on March 16th, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, and was previously extended to May 29th. A reassessment was planned for the week of May 19, to determine if band services could be restarted safely. This week, the Council and professional staff of the Nawash Health Centre looked at our state of preparations to re-open and decided that it is still too early for Nawash to call non-essential staff back to work.

It is critical to remember that reopening does not mean that everything will go back to how it was before COVID-19 struck the world. There is still no vaccine or recommended treatment for the virus. It can still be fatal, often unpredictably. While it was initially reported that children were barely affected by COVID-19, we are learning that the virus, in thankfully uncommon cases, can cause significant and life-threatening symptoms in children as well. As far as we know, most people have not contracted COVID-19, so there is still a significant risk of a serious outbreak in the province, or even in our own community. All of this means that we are not out of the woods yet, despite the urgent need to restart the economy safely. As we look for a way to live with the virus, we must maintain the protocols that have kept us safe thus far: physical distancing, frequent hand washing, and limited contact with people from outside our own households.

The Council is working diligently towards re-opening the community, in a manner that is responsible, respectful, and most importantly safe. The new normal for services everywhere will be significantly different from the pre-pandemic world. All workplaces and publicly maintained spaces will have more stringent cleaning and sterilization requirements. Employees and clients will be required to wear masks and other personal protective equipment, as appropriate, and workplaces will be renovated and retrofitted to reduce the risk of disease transmission. Right now, however, employers across the country have the same goal of getting back to work and the resources we need are more difficult to find than normal. We ask for the community’s patience and support while we take the necessary steps to ensure that we can deliver services in a safe and reliable manner to the public, and keep all of our employees safe at the same time.


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