September 22, 2020

Dear First Nation Schools and Communities,

We hope that the new school year is off to a safe and healthy start in your community, despite the challenging circumstances. Further to our earlier resources that provided considerations for school reopening plans, FNESC and FNSA have now developed a new resource entitled, COVID-19 Protocols for First Nation School Administrators: Management of Illness and Confirmed Cases (Updated January 14, 2022), to support First Nation school administrators with information regarding processes, roles, and responsibilities related to managing symptoms, exposure to, and confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 within the school community.  The resource is adapted from a document released by the BC Ministry of Education and was tailored to the context of BC First Nations and First Nation schools in consultation with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and BC Ministry of Health.

This document reflects the FNSA and FNESC’s current understanding of the appropriate processes for managing a case of COVID-19 within a school community. For additional guidance and detail, FNESC and FNSA recommend that First Nations and First Nation schools contact their respective Regional Health Authority (RHA). A list of key RHA contacts is provided on page 12 of the document. This resource may be updated as available guidance evolves.  First Nations are also advised to monitor the latest directives from the Office of the Provincial Health Officer, BC Centre for Disease Control, and the BC Ministry of Health.

FNESC and FNSA fully respect the authority of individual First Nations to make decisions about school operations in the best interests of their students, schools, and communities. We recognize that First Nations may have additional requirements and processes beyond what are described in this document and may adapt this resource consistent with local needs and priorities.

FNESC and FNSA also recognize the authority of First Nations to establish their own school- or community-based protocols related to suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19, partial or complete community lockdowns, or a local state of emergency. FNESC and FNSA understand that these First Nations-specific protocols may supersede the guidance included in this document. Please visit our information page for all of our COVID-19 updates and resources.