OHSWEKEN — Six Nations schools will not be heading back to the classroom for the rest of this school year.
“In order to protect the safety and wellbeing of the children and families of Six Nations of the Grand River and Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory from COVID-19, the following elementary schools will remain closed: J.C Hill, Jamieson, Oliver M. Smith Kawenni:io, Emily C General, I.L Thomas, and Quinte Mohawk School.”
The schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. Following this, the length of time of closure will be based on the advice of the Medical Officer of Health and in consultation with community leadership, according to a statement emailed to Two Row Times from the Federal Schools department at Indigenous Services Canada.
This after provincial officials announced they will also stay closed for the rest of this school year.
Premier Doug Ford announced Tuesday, saying that returning children to the classroom isn’t worth the risk while the province continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Six Nations Federal Schools are committed to ensuring students are provided with ongoing assessments during the current situation with Covid-19,” said the statement.
In a letter to families, Director of Education Brenda Blanchard said, “While the remainder of this school year will not take place in a classroom, learning at home continues for Grand Erie students, with minimum requirements outlined by grade by the Ministry of Education last month. Through June 26, teachers will continue to provide learning at home through a variety of means, including video conferencing, posted videos, regular phone calls or emails to support student learning activities.”
This is the first update to school closures on Six Nations since their initial closure on March 13. That first stretch of closures was supposed to last until April 6 – however Six Nations schools have remained closed with no updates to parents or the community since the initial closure notice.
Schools in Ontario have been closed since March 13 when the government moved to shut down much of the province to address the spread of COVID-19.
Since then, the government has launched an online learning portal to help students keep up with their studies at home, and promised that high school students who had been scheduled to graduate this spring will still do so.