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