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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates Week 1

Friday, March 20, 2020 4:35 p.m.

There has been some mention in the Quebec media today of the possibility of an extension of school closures. At this time, there is no official directive from the Government of Quebec, therefore is no extension to the school closures. They are to reopen on March 30th.

It important for you all to receive and share accurate information, so please rest assured that we will inform you as soon as possible if there are any changes. We are closely monitoring the situation and we are working hard in the meantime to develop a contingency plan.

Thank you for your support and patience.

Il a été mentionné dans les médias québécois aujourd'hui la possibilité d'une prolongation des fermetures d'écoles. À l'heure actuelle, il n'y a pas de directive officielle du gouvernement du Québec, donc pas d'extension concernant les fermetures d'écoles. Ils doivent rouvrir le 30 mars.

Il est important pour vous tous de recevoir et de partager des informations exactes, alors soyez assuré que nous vous informerons dès que possible en cas de changement. Nous suivons de près la situation et nous travaillons dur dans l'intervalle pour élaborer un plan d'urgence.

Merci pour votre soutien et votre patience.

March 19, 2020 2:45 p.m.

Today, Public Health issued the following travel advisories for each community. Chisasibi, Eastmain, Mistissini, Nemaska, Oujé-Bougoumou, Waskaganish, Waswanipi, Wemindji, Whapmagoostui.

They also asked us to continue with precautions of social distancing (2 metres between people) and hand-washing. People who have no symptoms are welcome to play or walk outside with others, as long as they maintain the recommended social distance.

March 18, 2020 5:00 p.m.

Today, we are asked to share the importance of handwashing with you. Here are links to posters that will help you encourage those around you to do the same.

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Also, we ask you to observe every precautionary measure requested of you at this time, especially the social distancing. Health officials tell us if we practice keeping two metres between us, and be diligent about handwashing NOW, we can make a difference in the outcome for our territory.

Lastly, please tune into the Cree Nation Government Live Question and Answer on COVID-19 on Thursday, March 19, 2020, from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.  You can view the broadcast here.

March 18, 2020 Cree Nation Government / Cree Health Board Update

March 17, 2020 5:35 p.m.

We are continuing to monitor the situation affecting our staff and students both in and outside Eeyou Istchee alongside our partners at the Cree Health Board and the Cree Nation Government. As of today, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our communities.

Here is our update as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 (5 p.m.):

  • Our Regional Offices will be operating at a limited capacity as we are encouraging our staff to work from home with instruction from their supervisors, however note that some staff will be coming into the office on a rotational basis to provide essential services.
  • The Head Office building in Mistissini is currently closed to public and will be closed to the public and staff on Friday, March 20thfor a cleaning.
  • Our Post-Secondary Student Services offices in Montreal and Gatineau as of today are closed until March 30th, 2020. Students with travel or other needs are requested to email or call. (With all voice messages forwarded to email.) You are also highly encouraged to contact your community to inform them of your arrival.
  • The best way to contact all other employees at the Board during this time is by their CSB email. Our general email contact is .

We will continue to provide updates specifically related to our schools, students, teachers, offices and other employees on an as-needed basis. We ask that you observe all precautions requested by the CHB,  such as rigorous handwashing, social distancing, and cough-and-cold hygiene, which are all vital in limiting the number of potential COVID-19 cases so our healthcare system can manage them.  

In a CNG Council meeting today, the CNG announced the following scheduled updates from Cree leadership, including from the CSB: Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 2 p.m. on JBCCS radio. Emergency communications will be made at alternate times as needed.

Thank you for your continuous understanding and collaboration.  

March 16, 2020 7:30 p.m.

The COVID-19 virus risk remains LOW in Eeyou Istchee. However we need to continue precautionary measures to limit any potential spread. All school and learning centres remain closed for the next two weeks. Here are our latest updates on Monday, March 16, 2020: 

Forgotten belongings at school: If the item is health-related (an asthma inhaler, EpiPen, or medication, etc.), please contact the school principal or the centre director as soon as possible.  These are the only items we will allow to be retrieved from the school during this closure.

Employee schedules: While the schools are closed, some employees may be asked to provide necessary services such as payroll. Supervisors will determine how this should look so we can still provide a level of service and will communicate this with required personnel.

Regional offices: Our regional offices will remain operational; your supervisor can confirm if you can work from home. 

Chronic conditions: Employees with chronic conditions, or any condition which puts them at greater risk to COVID-19, should work from home. In addition, employees over 70 years old should stay home and if possible work from home.

Return to work: All employees should be ready to return to work as of March 30th. That said, we will provide an update to all employees in the week prior to March 30th if any should change.

Travel: The Board continues to encourage everyone not to travel outside of the community, province or country during this time of pandemic. Note: until further notice, should an employee engage in any travel, he or she has the obligation before the departure to advise their immediate supervisor of the itinerary and location where they will be staying. All employees should inform their immediate supervisor, before returning, if they have been in contact with one or more persons with the virus or if the employee has virus-like symptoms.

Required isolation: The Board may require the isolation of employees who exhibit symptoms of the COVID-19 illness or pose a risk of contagion to their fellow employees. Preventive measures may be imposed, such as isolation or obtaining medical opinions, confirming that the employee is fit to work and poses no risk of contagion.

Check email: All employees are expected to check their CSB email account regularly during this period. We will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops.

Thank you for your understanding and collaboration. Together we can all get through this.

March 13, 2020 3:06 p.m.

Following the lead of the Quebec government, Cree School Board leadership today has directed that all schools be closed to students until Monday March 30, 2020. This is a precautionary measure to ensure that we do everything we can to avoid unnecessary risk during the height of the pandemic period.

Please note that the Cree Health Board continues to monitor the risk, which today remains LOW.

We are working on further communications for the public and our employees. Please monitor social media and your email.

March 12, 2020 1:44 p.m.

Director General Abraham Jolly updated school communities regarding the Board response to heightened awareness of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following is from the memo circulated to schools and the public on the evening of March 12, 2020.

During this time of heightened concern around the Coronavirus (COVID-19), I want to reassure you that we at the Cree School Board are taking the health and safety of our staff and students in our schools seriously. To avoid unnecessary health risks and to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, CSB leadership today cancelled all business travel for all CSB students, staff and management. In other words, all external trips are cancelled or postponed until further notice.

As of Thursday, March 12, 2020, there are NO confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Eeyou Istchee. However, we encourage you all to continue to take precausionary measures.


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What you can do!
  • Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette: Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs. If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
  • Avoid visiting people in the hospital or residential/long-term care centres within 14 days of returning from a high-risk area OR if you are sick.
  • Avoid direct contact for greetings, such as shaking hands, hugs, and kisses. 
  • Practice social distancing: keep two metres between you and others. 
  • Heed all travel advisories.
  • Follow all precautions advised by our public health department and/or your employer. 

We encourage all to visit the Cree Health Board website for further information.