M’CHIGEENG – Lakeview School in M’Chigeeng will hold its annual March Break holidays as usual this month, rather than delay the break until April. Meanwhile, the school moved to online learning earlier this week, due to a member of the school community having been contacted by Public Health Sudbury and Districts (PHSD) as a result of a potential high-risk public exposure to COVID-19 by attending the Urban Air Adventure Park in Sudbury.
A community notice was posted on March 5 from M’Chigeeng First Nation Ogimaa-kwe Linda Debassige, Valerie O’Leary, director of education, and Art Jacko. “On February 11, Ontario’s education minister announced that the province will be postponing March Break until the week of April 12. With this announcement, the Emergency Operations Group (EOG) has been meeting to assess the risk of either keeping March break where it is or postponing it as the province has done.”
“The education department has also released a survey to the community that asked for their feedback on this matter,” the community notice continued. This feedback was crucial to us making an informed decision. After tabulating the results and reviewing it with the EOG, the education department and the EOG have decided to make the recommendation to keep March Break where it is for Lakeview School. It has been deemed that, after assessing all risk factors, there is no more risk now than there would be in April.”
Ogimaa-kwe Linda Debassige told the Recorder on Tuesday, “our emergency operations group had met and looked at a risk management model, and we knew that public health would be designating this district area as a red zone this week. We had decided to get community input so we did a mini consultation of families and school staff and again looked at the risk assessment model, and decided that there would not be that much different between having the March Break now or in April. So, the EOG made a recommendation to council and council supported this.” March Break will take place March 15-19.
“We want to remind everyone that M’Chigeeng First Nation still has a travel advisory in effect since January 18. Under this travel advisory we strongly recommend that all community members, staff and parents to remain home during this time. This will help minimize the risk of bringing the virus back home to us. We do not want to set ourselves back when we are so close to getting our community vaccinated.” Residents are being advised to only travel for essential purposes, and to ensure that they practice all COVID-19 precautions.
Meanwhile, Lakeview School has moved to online learning. A memo from Ogimaa-kwe Debassige, Art Jacko, Roger Beaudin, health service manager, and Valerie O’Leary, director of education on March 8 states, “out of an abundance of caution, we are making the immediate decision to move Lakeview School to the online learning platform. We have received information from PHSD in relation to members of our school community who have been contacted as a result of a potential high-risk public exposure to COVID-19 by attending the Urban Air Adventure park in Sudbury. The online learning will continue to and including March 12. For those who have been contacted they are asked to self-isolate immediately up to and including March 12, get a COVID test and self-isolate.
Health services were to organize a mass testing clinic at Lakeview School this past Tuesday.