Schools may have been closed over the last month as the Beaufort Delta locked down in the face of Covid-19, but staff were keeping busy the entire time helping out with relief efforts during the lockdown.
Among the efforts of the staff of Beaufort Delta District Education Council, East Three School and Mangilaluk School were delivering groceries to families in isolation, operating the isolation station at Mangilaluk School and volunteering over the mass screening of students that took place between Nov. 18 and Nov. 22.
BDDEC Supt. Devin Roberts expressed his thanks to staff for their work over the outbreak in a press release Nov. 23.
“We want to take a moment to express how proud we are to be part of such resilient and caring communities,” he said. “Our youth have been shown an amazing model of compassion and involvement. With the recent closures of schools in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk several community organizations worked together strongly and quickly, to ensure our communities were well looked after.
“A huge mahsi, quyanainni, quana to all BDDEC staff that supported the many initiatives this week in response to COVID-19 in the region.”
East Three School was ordered closed by the chief public health officer Nov. 7 after 11 people at the school tested positive for Covid-19 and BDDEC decided to close Mangilaluk the same day. BDDEC staff were compiling names and addresses of families forced into isolation by Nov. 8 to prepare care packages for them. When a hamlet-wide Public Health Order was put in place for Tuktoyaktuk Nov. 11, staff were already busy with gathering groceries, medications and other essential goods.
Groceries were purchased by BDDEC with funds donated by the Inuvik Food Bank. Additional support was provided by the Gwich’in Tribal Council and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation with deliveries and organizing.
On Nov. 13, BDDEC put out a call for volunteers to operate the Mangilaluk isolation centre in Tuktoyaktuk. By the afternoon, 12 volunteers had come forward. Staff worked to comfort people in Tuktoyaktuk recovering from a Covid-19 exposure.
“A big thank you to the Inuvik Food Bank for their generous contributions,” said Roberts. “A big mahsi cho to Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) who supported this initiative and for their continued support of our communities. A big quyanainni to the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) for their continued support of our communities.
“Whether it be working together for our youth and programs offered in our schools, or in their homes and communities, these organizations can always be counted on for support. We want to thank the administrative teams and support staff of our schools who have put in extra hours communicating with families and staff to ensure our students’ needs are addressed.
“Lastly, we want to thank all the families in our communities for their continued support and trust as we work together towards efforts that keep our children healthy, safe, and well cared for. “
Roberts added that in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, East Three Elementary School had implemented a voluntary at-home screening pilot project. Anyone interested in participating can contact the BDDEC office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to sign up.
“We encourage students and families to use the COVID 19 screening tool every day,” he said. “Signage promoting social distancing is up in all schools.
“We will continue to use enhanced cleaning lists for custodial services in schools. Students and staff will continue to wear masks and practice proper hygiene.”