The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week following confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26.
Although an exposure notice does not necessarily mean someone at the school will become sick with COVID-19, because the school is on federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Gitanmaax Band Council, it denied access to the school as of March 1, indicates a release from School District 82 school superintendent Janet Meyer.
Closing the school as of March 1 is being done so that the Northern Health Authority can conduct contact tracing, the release stated.
“The Gitanmaax Band Council will also close its daycare, nursery and language nest facilities for this duration to accommodate a full sanitation process for the return of regular services on March 8, 2021. It is anticipated that Majagaleehl Gali Aks will re-open on Monday, March 8 for regular operation,” the release continued.
Meyer said the temporary closure is not regarded as a COVID-19 closure as that can only be authorized by the Northern Health Authority and the education ministry.
“That directive can only be authorized by the Northern Health Authority and the Ministry of Education. This closure is based on the precautionary safety measures undertaken by the Gitanmaax Band Council for their community. Our appreciation is extended to the Gitanmaax Band Council for their collaborative approach working with the school district on this matter,” said Meyer.
She said a full sanitation of the school will take place this week and that staff, where able, will work from home or in a building adjacent to Hazelton Secondary School.
Parents and/or guardians of students will be receiving calls by March 2 providing details of online learning methods.
“We recognize this is an incredibly stressful time for the school staff, students and families. Let us all remember to focus on our personal well-being at this time while taking care and supporting one another, our students, staff and families,” said Meyer.
The Majagaleehl Gali Aks exposure notice provided by Northern Health and released by the school district Feb. 26 was one of 29 notifications that day. The earliest dated back to Dec. 4, 2020.