Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Extends Facemask Order

Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health has extended the existing face covering order for the County. The previous order which had been set to expire Friday, September 11, will now remain in place for at least another 28 calendar days, expiring on October 8, 2020. The order requires all persons entering an indoor commercial establishment (e.g grocery store, gas station, bank, restaurant) to wear a covering over their noses and mouths. Neyaashiinigmiing has a parallel order in place covering businesses on the reserve.

Face masks have been conclusively shown to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, making them a daily wear item for people outside their homes. Help keep our community and people safe and healthy. Remember the face mask requirement when you are leaving your home and bring yours along.

Council Authorizes Monitoring Station to Refuse Access

An early and important step taken by the Council to protect the health and safety of Neyaashiinigmiing was to restrict access to the community to members, employees and essential services. Since March of this year, the Sydney Bay Road entrance has been closed and all traffic must enter by the remaining entrance on Port Elgin Road, which has been monitored around the clock by dedicated employees.

The initial restrictions were relaxed in phases to allow non-resident members to visit Neyaashiinigmiing, as well as seasonal campers in Cape Croker Park, and registered lease holders. In all cases, non-residents are required to register with the Health Centre prior to their visit, and leave their contact information for tracing in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Council is disappointed that some residents are risking the health of the community by not cooperating with these very simple protocols and registering their non-resident guests. The health and safety guidelines are designed to keep our entire, particularly vulnerable, community safe, but in order for them to work we all need to follow the health guidelines.

To help reduce the number of unregistered individuals in the community, the Council has passed Motion 404 giving the monitors at the Port Elgin Road station the temporary authority to refuse entry to Neyaashiinigmiing anyone who does not present an official letter of entry. Monitors will turn away any person who has not been registered. Please enjoy an uninterrupted visit from your guest – and help us keep our community safe – by registering your guests with the Health Centre.

Visitors must submit a request to the Health Centre, providing the following information, at least two days prior to their arrival. Note that currently non-resident, non-members are not permitted to visit the community without special permission from the Council.

  • the full name, permanent address and phone number of each person in your visiting group
  • the make, model and vehicle plate number of each vehicle a visitor or group who wishes to enter the reserve will be using
  • where the visitor will be staying while in Neyaashiinigmiing
  • the intended duration of the visitor’s stay

Contact Suzy Jones, Community Health Representative with your information.

Email: healthrep@gbtel.ca

Office Phone: 519-534-0373 ext 224

Cell phone (text or call): 519-375-6896

Board of Education Returns to Regular Office Hours Under New Safety Protocol

Boozhoo and greetings to all, hopefully everyone has had an enjoyable, safe and healthy summer. As we enter into a new/different working routine, there are some updates we would like to share with our community and clients.

Effective August 31, 2020, the Board of Education will return to regular office hours, Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM. We remind our clients that the State of Emergency is ongoing and COVID-19 Safety Measures are in effect. Help us keep you safe by observing the following protocol:

  • Staff are available to assist the public by telephone or email. In-person meetings are also available by appointment only. Before you visit, please call ahead to schedule your visit to the office.
  • Face masks must be worn when entering the building (if you do not have a face mask, please ask our staff and one will be provided). A hand sanitizing station is available at the front entrance and must be used when entering and departing from the building.
  • Please keep a safe physical distance of 2 meters (6 feet) from one another.

Board Meetings are held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Special Board Meetings are held as needed. Attendees are encouraged to attend Board meetings via teleconference or Zoom (online), in order to practice safe physical distancing. Please inform our office if you have a Band Member Request by submitting a letter one week prior to a scheduled Board Meeting.

The next Call for Applications for the Nawash Education Diversity Assistance Program (NEDAP) will open September 15th, 2020 at 12:00 AM.  The deadline for applications is October 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM.

Please visit our the Board of Education page for more information and resources.

Grocery Gift Card Benefit Program Extended to October 30

One of the many ways the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation is helping our members during the COVID-19 pandemic and its unprecedented impact on our lives, is with the Grocery Gift Card Distribution program. The program offers every member household in Canada, on and off reserve, a $150 grocery gift card. Members outside Canada can receive the equivalent value in their local currency.

The gift card program was scheduled to wrap up on August 31, 2020, but due to enthusiastic demand for the benefit, we are extending the program until Friday, October 30, 2020. Every member household is entitled to one $150 grocery gift card. This is a difficult time for all of us, and with the school year about to begin, families and students could use a little extra on the table. If you, or a member in your household, haven’t yet applied for this great benefit, we encourage you to send in your application!

More information and instructions for the easy application process are available on the Grocery Gift Card Distribution page.

Council Extends State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing

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.

Grey Bruce Medical Officer Extends Face Covering Order

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, despite a downward trend in cases in the province. With a vaccine still on the horizon and few effective treatments for those suffering the worst effects, the threat of a COVID-19 outbreak remains a real threat. Dr. Ian Arra, the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, has consequently extended the class order requiring the use of face coverings in all commercial establishments, until September 11. Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation Council has a parallel order in place, covering Neyaashiinigmiing businesses and Administration workplaces.

The best advice of medical professionals is that, without a cure or reliable treatment, we should do everything we can to avoid spreading the disease in the first place. Widespread mask use, in combination with physical distancing and frequent hand washing, has been definitively shown to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. When leaving your home, remember to take and wear your mask when you are near people not from your household, or whenever you enter a building that is not your home.

Kikendaasogamig Unveils Plan for New School Year

Kikendaasogamig Elementary is of vital importance to the community, both to students for the excellent start our school gives them, and to parents and caregivers who work while their children are in classes during the day. There are only a little more than three weeks left until the start of the new school year and while COVID-19 appears to have been managed well in the province, the pandemic is still raging elsewhere. The Board of Education and Kikendaasogamig Elementary School staff have been preparing for the start of a new semester unlike any other, requiring changes to the school environment and teaching methodology to keep kids and community safe.
The modified teaching plan has these important points:
  • The school year will start on September 8th. For the first two weeks, however, from September 8 to 18, students will engage in online learning.
  • Beginning on September 21st, students will be divided into two cohorts. The first cohort will attend classes in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while the second cohort will attend classes in person on Wednesdays and Fridays.  Mondays will be for cleaning, class planning, online learning, and possibly outdoor land-based learning.
  • The first semester is planned to finish on December 18th. While students will start on September 21st with 2 days of in-person classes per week, our hope is that at some point during the school year we will be able to transition to a full 5 days of in-person classes.  We will have to decide that at a later date.
  • Cohort # 1 will be Senior Kindergarten, and grades 2, 4, 6 & 8, with some changes to accommodate family groupings and learning levels.
  • Cohort # 2  will be grades 1, 3, 5, & 7, again with some changes to accommodate family groupings and learning levels.
  • We are not ready to accommodate junior kindergarten students at Kikendaasogamig, but they can attend the NShiime Day Care until such time as we are ready to transition them to the school.  Day care registration will be ready soon, and we will send out a community notice when it becomes available.
  • There will be enhanced health and safety measures put in place.
  • School days may be shortened  so that teachers can prepare and support students that are learning from home.
  • The At Home Learning/Remote Delivery option will be available on days that the students are not in class.  Parents who feel they need to keep their children home and opt for full remote learning can do so.

Kikendaasogamig Elementary and the Board of Education are seeking input from parents/guardians to further guide their plans for the school year.  Parents and caregivers are asked to complete a short online survey. All information gathered is strictly confidential. Submissions are only accessible to the School Principal. Note that you will be asked to provide your child’s name to assist in planning the cohorts and organizing school transportation needs.

Video Statement from Chief Nadjiwon

Chief Greg Nadjiwon has prepared a video statement for the membership, to discuss the ongoing State of Emergency, the careful steps we’re taking to partly re-open Neyaashiinigmiing, and the challenge we face as a community in dealing with drug and other substance abuse.

State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing Extended

After reviewing available data and discussing present circumstances with Dr. Arra, the Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health, the Council has accepted the recommendation of the Community Emergency Response Group to extend the State of Emergency for Neyaashiinigmiing until September 1, 2020.  We are gradually moving toward a full re-opening of the community, but we will only do so in alignment with the Council’s strategy of phased re-opening with significant monitoring of the effect of each phase on the health of the community.

Recent steps to begin the re-opening started with seasonal campers and registered leaseholders because these smaller, well-defined groups can be easily monitored for compliance with safety protocols. It would be irresponsible at this point in the pandemic to open up the community widely, with no practical way to assess if the large number of visitors we might expect are behaving in a safe manner. The Council will not risk the health of Neyaashiinigmiing residents by removing the monitors or access restrictions in haste, or without clear medical and operational guidance that it can be done safely.

The State of Emergency allows the Council to take the extraordinary actions required to manage our interests in the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council will reassess the need for the State of Emergency again in the week before the current expiry date of September 1, 2020. We are grateful for your continued patience and support and look forward to returning the community to some normalcy in the days to come.