Six Nations in the dark over what school year will look like

By Victoria Gray

Writer

As the beginning of a new school year looms, parents and caregivers are still in the dark about what school will look like in September and what they need to provide.

At the Six Nations Elected Council (SNEC) meeting on August 10, Elected Chief Mark Hill told councillors and community that the former director of federal school Kathleen Manderville has retired and the new director will introduce himself and make a presentation to council at it’s August 24 council meeting.

That leaves parents and guardians only two weeks to prepare.

Indigenous Services Canada spokesperson Danielle Geary said the back to school plan hasn’t really changed since February 2021.

“Indigenous Services Canada is working in partnership with Six Nations of the Grand River to ensure there are adequate resources and response plans in place to deliver education services in a safe and healthy environment,” she said. “There have been no substantive changes to Six Nation’s back-to-school plan since it was last presented to Chief and Council. The plan was developed in collaboration with, and is based on the current advice from, education and health partners, including Six Nations Public Health and parents in the community. It is reviewed regularly and not directly subject to provincial guidelines.”

In February SNEC decided not to reopen school until September, but this was the plan to open. School have have a three-month supply of personal protective equipment on hand for children and staff. The school’s must have additional janitors and nurses in the buildings.

The schools were in the process of hiring an additional 20 teachers to help alleviate staff absence, support smaller class sizes and adhere to COVID-19 guidelines and protocols.

When students return to school they will return in two cohorts, A and B. Cohort A will go to school Mondays, Tuesdays and alternating Wednesdays with remote work the rest of the week. Cohort B will go to school alternating Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with remote work in the beginning of the week. Cohort C will remain online only.

Manderville said that although alternating from in-person to fully remote is an option, the schools will set dates for transitions and changes can’t happen off the cuff due to teacher allocation.

Children, teachers and staff will be required to wear masks and busses will have a maximum of 22 students from a family group with staggered seating. Classrooms will have a maximum of 15 children as much as possible in family groups.

Classroom desks have plexiglass dividers. Children and staff will be screened before entering the school and caregivers will have to sign a wellness agreement to not send their children to school is the are exhibiting symptoms.

There is no word on when students will have to register for full-time online learning or when parents will receive notice of what cohort their children are in.

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