First Manitoba school temporarily closes over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns

Isaac Beaulieu Memorial School in Sandy Bay First Nation, Man. Facebook/Isaac Beaulieu Memorial School

Sandy Bay First Nation will close their school for at least two weeks over COVID-19 coronavirus concerns, the first school in Manitoba to do so.

In a memo sent to parents Thursday the First Nation, which is 130 km northwest of Winnipeg on the shores of Lake Manitoba, cancelled classes starting Friday.

“This closure is at the direction of Sandy Bay First Nation Chief and Council. There will be no school tomorrow, and no school for the next two weeks,” reads the statement signed by principal Todd Butler.

Isaac Beaulieu Memorial School, which has more than 900 students in grades K-12 according to their website, will stay closed until at least March 27.

Story continues below advertisement
“Next week, school staff will be asked to begin preparing homework packages that will [be] sent home to students to allow the students to keep up with their school work as much as possible.”

This is the first school in Manitoba to cancel classes outright in the wake of the novel coronavirus. In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford shut down all schools Thursday until after spring break in April.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

The province of Manitoba recorded its first three cases of COVID-19 Thursday.

Kelvin Goertzen, Education Minister for the province, said other schools in Manitoba are not being closed at this time, but they will follow guidelines from the province’s chief medical officer.

This has to be a health-led decision based on evidence and what the medical professionals are saying. So, the medical chief medical officer hasn’t called at this point for the closure of schools. But we are having those discussions,” he told 680 CJOB.

Some schools in Winnipeg have sent out notices to parents in the past weeks about hand-washing and being diligent, but no schools have cancelled classes.

The University of Manitoba and Red River College both said Thursday they are looking at moving classes online, but campuses are still open and classes are still on.

Story continues below advertisement

There have been no cases of novel coronavirus reported in Sandy Bay First Nation.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman talks about the city’s first presumptive case of COVID-19'
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman talks about the city’s first presumptive case of COVID-19

Sponsored content