COVID-19 Daily News Digest – August 28, 2020
Schools resort to phone and fax machine to restart classes in northern Ontario First Nations
High school students in some remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario will talk to their teacher on a landline and get their lessons through a fax machine next month in an effort to keep their learning on track and keep them safe during the pandemic.
It’s one of the ways Matawa Education and Care Centre in Thunder Bay, Ont., has had to adapt to serve its students in fly-in communities that lack reliable Internet access.
Ten in remote Indian tribe of 59 test positive for Covid-19
“Over the last few months, every person who has been travelling to these islands, particularly the restricted travel areas, has been tested, but it seems that someone carrying the virus must have gone undetected,” he said.
What are the kids saying about reconciliation? This Winnipeg play spent two years finding out
“This play I think gives non-Indigenous people an insight into what it’s really like to be an Indigenous youth today, especially in Winnipeg,” said director Tracey Nepinak.
Nepinak’s play was supposed to hit the stage in May but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local theatre company Sarasvàti produced the piece, partnering with seven organizations and guest artists to host workshops for Indigenous youth.
Indigenous entrepreneurs start PPE business
Kanatan Health Solutions is an Indigenous family-owned and operated business in Saddle Lake focused on making personal protective equipment (PPE) products like hand sanitizer and face masks. The family uses extracts from traditional medicinal plants like cedar, sweetgrass, sage and sweet tobacco to infuse into their hand sanitizer sprays, which use medical-grade isopropyl alcohol as the base. Their hand sanitizers were approved by Health Canada in late June.
Friendship centre in Vernon, B.C. utilizes COVID-19 closure to upgrade facilities
“We look forward to the day when we can re-open our doors,” she says. “We are just a phone call away.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the closure of many programs and services all over the world. NOFCS staff have gotten creative with program delivery, offering some online and others in outdoor settings.
Mural series showcases positive stories of Indigenous people
Kalina says the first idea was to have a mural festival this summer but, because of Covid-19, they adapted the project into a six-mural series. At the end, artists and youth will come together next summer for five days to paint them.
“Mahalia and the team really thought creatively about how to implement this in a way that extends the opportunity and time to allow for engagement and collaboration among the artists,” Kalina said.
Province, feds playing ‘ping-pong’ on pandemic funding for First Nations schools, NDP says
But Indigenous Services Canada said it will only consider funding requests from, or on behalf of, individual First Nations. It’s a scenario that Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief Derek Fox was hoping to avoid with the collective request submitted two months ago.
“There will be more delays [to the school year] if each individual community has to submit proposals,” Fox told CBC News in an interview, adding that additional paperwork is an unnecessary burden on First Nations already stretched in coping with the pandemic.
Children and young people articulate their greatest challenges arising from COVID-19
The Child and Youth Statement, facilitated by World Vision Australia, listed COVID-19, climate change, Indigenous children’s rights, citizenship and mental health as the most urgent challenges facing our next generation, calling for “smart partnership” with adults and policy makers to help resolve the challenges.
As well as identifying the issues, the statement presents the perspectives of children and young people on the challenges they face, and what they would like to see change.
Anxious wait for school to start on Manitoba First Nations
Cochrane said some schools may be closed until at least mid-September. While others have no plans to reopen and will stick to remote learning instead.
“We do have the capability for providing high school programming for those students in Grade 9 to 12,” said Cochrane. “Internet access and technology access. They’re a challenge. But it’s about trying to meet the needs of children.
B.C. First Nations schools take a gradual approach to in-class learning
He said the school did a community survey in March to see what electronic devices students would need to learn from home. Many students were then provided with Chromebook laptop computers in order to connect with their teachers via videoconferencing.
Olsen said this fall will look very much the same, with students of all grades connecting to their online classrooms three times per week. High school students will be required to attend a outdoor sessions one to two days per week, where they’ll visit various sites and learn how to gather food and medicines from the land.
Ford failing to fund First Nations back-to-school plans
For several months, First Nations have been calling on Doug Ford for the funding and resources required to keep children safe at schools. He knows that First Nations communities need extra funding and support for their back-to-school plans and yet he has taken no action. The funding available today for First Nations schools is completely inadequate and is compromising the start of the school year and the safety of students and staff.
The North Bay Indigenous Hub sees continued success throughout the pandemic
“We’ve reached out to them to see what their needs are. We offered them virtual visits and any supplies that were needed to keep them safe as well as pandemic planning. We sent wipes, hand-sanitizer, masks, shields and gowns to each First Nation.”
“We want to limit the amount of people through the doors with tours. We are going through our waitlist. It’s exciting!” says Linklater-Pizzale. “Looking outside and seeing the kids play— it’s just amazing. They are doing wonderful things to deliver services in the way that we need them— grounded in our culture. It’s foundational and meaningful. We are doing language downstairs. We are doing drumming downstairs. It’s unique in an urban setting and I’m happy to be supporting that.”