At the August 21, 2020 Council meeting, the Chippewas of Nawash Council voted to accept the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group and extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing until September 30, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, making the possibility of a viral outbreak a real and significant threat to the community. While the constant adherence to the well-known safety protocols of wearing face masks, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from other people and avoiding gatherings is challenging, Neyaashiinigmiing cannot afford to become less vigilant.
Under the current State of Emergency, the Council temporarily shuttered non-essential band programs while maintaining employee pay, offered wage support to small businesses and employees, significantly expanded the operations of the Community Food Bank, distributed food boxes to non-resident member households and grocery cards to all member households, cancelled risky public gatherings and events, restricted outside access to Neyaashiinigmiing, installed a monitoring station to help ensure compliance with restrictions, and created a community-wide face covering policy. These actions, and others have kept us all safe and dramatically reduced the economic harm of the pandemic to all our members.
The Council recently moved to relax some restrictions, allowing non-resident members, seasonal campers, and registered leaseholders into the community. We are now entering another delicate phase with the start of the school year. Classes will be held at Kikendaasogamig Elementary, albeit in a safer, heavily modified fashion, beginning with online classes on September 8, moving to in-person classes on September 21. During this period, the Council will carefully assess the initiatives put in place to determine our next steps forward.
We are grateful for the patience and strength the entire membership has shown over the past 6 months. Together we will persevere, stay focused and stay healthy.