Colville Lake School closed this week due to COVID outbreak | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

Northwest Territories’ Colville Lake School has been closed all week after the majority of staff tested positive for COVID-19, according to a teacher at the school.

On Monday, a couple of teachers called in sick while more ended up testing positive with the illness, resulting in the Sahtu District Education Authority (DEA) closing the school for the remainder of the week.

“I thought it was actually a good call by the DEA looking at our schedule and being a little proactive rather than reactive,” Sheldon Snow, Colville Lake teacher told CBC.

Sheldon Snow is a teacher from Colville Lake, N.W.T. (Submitted by Sheldon Snow)

In the last two years, the community has seen a number of pandemic-related measures to keep the population safe — including a community-wide lockdown in August 2021 when more than half the population tested positive with COVID. 

“Everyone here is pretty healthy as they live a traditional lifestyle of on-the-land, but we’re worried about our most vulnerable in the community,” Snow said.

“We don’t have the infrastructure and everything that most other communities have, so it’s not as simple as just going to see the nurse or going to see the doctor.”

Learning packages sent home 

In the community of about 160 people, the school has approximately 50 students with five full-time teachers and three support staff.

School staff have become used to pivoting to online learning after two and a half years of pandemic-related health guidelines.

Snow said the teachers who did not test positive for COVID-19 had learning packages handed out to students by the next day.

“Our community is so small, we need to make sure we’re taking care of each other because no one else is going to look out for our community except for our community itself,” Snow said. 

“We’ll just deal with it as it comes and do the best that we can to keep everyone safe.”

Classes are expected to resume next week.

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