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Community News

COVID-19 Safe Return to School Plan & Message from the Director

todaySeptember 6, 2021 348 1

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Director of Education’s Message

 My name is Wayne McLeod and I am very excited to be back in Fisher River Cree Nation.

Fisher River Education Authority gave me my first teaching job, and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity. It’s a unique privilege to return as Director of Education to where I started upon my journey.  I truly believe that I have come full circle.  Since then I have been a teacher, vice principal and principal.  I have also been involved in developing courses focusing on First Nations issues including land based and language learning.

I recall the commitment I made to myself after I graduated with my Education degree that I would not shortchange our people.  I would also give my best as an educator to deliver the best quality of education to our students and build the trust and relationship with the community.

After twenty, I still have the same fire and passion and this is one of the reasons, I look forward to collaborating with students, families, staff, and communities to establish the learning conditions where students can address local and global challenges and to personally thrive in an increasingly complex world. I am motivated by the brilliance and potential in every student along with their future career choices and believe that every student can make real change both in their personal lives as well in the larger community.

While the last couple of years have been challenging I believe that when we work together we can make real change in the lives of our most important resource – our youth.  When we work together in a supportive way we all grow. This growth will strengthen us in all aspects of our lives.

I am committed to doing my part to support every student within the Fisher River Cree Nation education system.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any concerns, areas for improvement or just want to say hello.


Wayne McLeod
Director of Education

COVID-19 Safe Return to School Plan


  • Fisher River Board of Education (FRBOE) and Chief and Council (C&C) want to ensure safety, health and well-being for all students, staff and families is the top priority
  • Charles Sinclair School (CSS) / Fisher River High School (FRHS) will be adhering to all provincial regulations outlined by Manitoba Public Health or modification if necessary to ensure safety to the staff and students
Instructional Program:

Kindergarten to Grade 12

  • All students are learning in class. Full curriculum courses will be taught. Modification to delivery may be required as a result of the current public health measures in the community and the province.
  • Schools will to continue to establish controlled routine for entrance, exit, office and hallways to maximize physical distancing.

Students with Special Learning Needs and Students at Risk

  • Students with special learning needs and students at risk may continue to require additional supports, as well frequent collaboration and planning, strong communication, flexibility and creativity within the student support team. Students will continue to receive appropriate supports, as per the student-specific planning process and where required by their individual health care plans.
  • School teams will continue to work in collaboration with families, related agencies and organizations that support children, youth and their families.

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Masks are recommended for all students, staff and visitors. Visitors without a mask will not be allowed on the school premises. The schools will ensure masks and personal protective equipment is available when needed.

Physical Distancing and Classroom Set-up

  • Charles Sinclair School will practice physical distancing till public health orders change. Teachers can set up their classroom in groups (two to four) depending the size of the table or individual seating to minimize exposure for students who are not yet eligible for vaccinations.

Table Centers

  • Tables centers/stations are permitted, provided good hygiene before and after use is practiced.

Sharing Toys and Manipulatives

  • Students can share toys and manipulatives. Ensure hand hygiene before and after.
  • Classroom and libraries are open for use. Ensure good hand hygiene before and after use.


  • Hand sanitizing will take place before and after recess
  • Staggered exit and entry for recess will take place
  • Physical distancing will be facilitated during recess
  • Separate containers of equipment for each class or cohort will be provided and cleaned daily
  • Recess cohorts will be divided into 2 per wing

Can students use playground equipment?

Yes, outdoor activities are encouraged, and outdoor spaces and playground structures can be used.

  • Public health advises that playgrounds and play structures are low risk for transmission
  • Separate containers of equipment will be maintained for each class or cohort and equipment will be cleaned between recess periods
  • Zones will be marked to manage group sizes and avoid contact among groups


  • Hand washing before lunch will be required
  • All students will eat at their desk
  • Students will be encouraged to bring their own water bottle as the water fountains will be available for drinking this year
  • Sharing of food and water bottles will not be allowed
  • Lunch will be delivered to each classroom


  • Washrooms will be used by a maximum of 2 people at a time
    • Signs will indicate when washrooms are in use
    • Increased frequency of cleaning will occur

Fisher River High School will continue to practice physical distancing for Grades 7-12 till public health orders change.

  • More cleaning throughout the day, especially for high-touch surfaces
  • Strict hand-washing routines
  • Designated entrances and exits
  • Different times for recess, breaks, drop-offs and pick-ups
  • Use masks by staff and students on the school bus and in school when needed
  • Spacing of desks and other furniture
  • Floor markings and barriers for safe movement
  • Washrooms will be used by a maximum of 3 people at a time
  • Extra activities outdoors, when possible
  • No assemblies and limits on other gatherings
  • Limited access to parents, guardians and visitors
  • New daily screening process for students and staff
  • No sharing of food or personal items
  • Changes to student transportation such as bussing

Technology Education

  • Technology education programming is permitted, provided public health measure are followed.

Extra-curricular, Sports and Field Trips

  • Extra-curricular activities, including team sports, clubs and field trips are allowed, as long as the activities follow the current public heath recommendations and orders at the time.
  • Students must have both vaccinations in order to participant in any of the extra-curricular activities, sport team, clubs or field trips as recommendations by FRBOE, C&C and Manitoba High School Athletics Association (MHSAA).


  • School transportation will return to pre-COVID policies and practices with additional cleaning requirements.
  • Masks requirements will be mandated by FRBOE and C&C.
    • Buses will be at full capacity and assigned seating will be retained. Students will hand sanitize before boarding the bus as required.
    • Parents will be required to conduct self-screening with their child before they board the bus each day

Parental pick up/ drop off:

  • When dropping children off at school please have them proceed to their designated classroom entryway
  • When picking your child up from school, please wait outside or in your vehicle, children will wait for pick up outside at the front door
  • Students awaiting parental pick up will exit from their designated classroom exit door and wait outside at the front of school for pick up

Visitors, Community Use of School

  • All essential visitors or volunteers are asked to first self-screen and adhere to physical distancing and hygiene practices in place for staff and students.
  • All visitors (including area and divisional staff) are asked to enter through the main entrance, sanitize hands and sign in at the office.
  • Community use of schools will not be permitted. There is potential to open to community use as the year progresses if the numbers of COVID-19 cases remains low or at zero in the community.

Food Handling

  • Only school staff will handle, prepare and serve food, following all safe food handling protocols.
  • Microwaves will be permitted, provided good hygiene before and after use is practiced. Students will be encouraged to bring pre-cook lunches in order to minimize contact.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Increased frequency of cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing—particularly on high-touch surfaces and in common/shared areas—will be required.
    • Schools must:
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, light switches, electronic devices including photocopiers, printers, laptops, keyboards, mice, monitors and touchscreens, chairs, desks, art supplies, toys, games, gym equipment, tools, and equipment) frequently—at least twice daily, or more often as needed.
  • Increase monitoring of hand-cleaning supplies to ensure an ample supply at all sinks in washroom and kitchen area.
  • Ensure washrooms and classrooms are cleaned/disinfected frequently as needed and stagger use.
  • Turn off water fountains that are not touchless or cannot be cleaned between users.
  • Ensure there is enhanced cleaning of bus seats and other high-touch surfaces (e.g., windows, railings) before each new group of students attends the bus.

Student Attendance

  • It is our hope that with the above safety measures in place and the diligence of staff, parents and guardians, parents will feel comfortable sending their children to school.
  • The safety, health and well-being for all students, staff and families has been a guiding principle in our planning.
  • Optional virtual learning is not an option. Public health has determined that it is safe to resume in-class learning while following public health guidance for screening, enhanced hand hygiene, physical distancing, the use of cohorts and outbreak management, which is paramount in keeping as many students as possible in schools this fall and throughout the pandemic.
  • School staff and administrators will continue to support students in their return to in-class learning. Mental health and well-being are critical to returning to in-class learning plans. Regular check ins and informal assessments will play an important role in supporting transitions.

Home Schooling

  • If parents/guardians make the decision to keep their child home for this upcoming school year, they will be required to register with the province for homeschooling and provide their own programming for their child (if child is 7 years of age or older).
  • Province of Manitoba Home Schooling Contact Information:
  • Parents/guardians can also register their children with Waspaska Virtual Collegiate (Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre) for high school courses from grade 9 to 12
    • For more information contact:
      Allison McDonald, Principal, WVC

204-594-1290 ext. 2013
[email protected]

Contact Tracing

  • In the event of confirmation of a case of COVD-19 connected with our schools, Fisher River Health Services will be contacted immediately and lead the response and provide guidance; including ensuring appropriate supports are in place to coordinate the response. Contact tracing involves identifying the contacts of a positive case and contacting those individuals who may have been exposed. Public health may:
    • Request records that identify cohorts/groups of staff, students, volunteers and visitors in the school for a specified timeframe
    • Offer testing following established guidelines to staff, students, volunteers and visitors that may have been exposed to a positive case
    • Assess the need for the school to be closed for a period of time for deep cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing
    • School will be shut down for the day for deep cleaning if there is known case.
  • Fisher River Health Services will advise staff and students if they have been in close contact, if they need to self-isolate or self-monitor and when they can return to school

 Parents will be updated if there is any change on schedules, bus routes, and timetable the week before school.

Thank you for carefully reviewing this document. As the public health situation evolves, changes and additions to this document may take place, in which case a new copy will be provided to you.

With the continued support, cooperation and diligence of our entire school community, we will continue to maintain a safe learning space for all.  Thank you for the role you play in keeping our school community safe.

**Subject to change if the current community situation changes, e.g. rise in cases**

  • Fisher River General & Travel Hotline: (431) 256-0041
  • Fisher River Health Services COVID-19 Hotline (431) 256-0395


Written by: fisherriver

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Fisher River Cree Nation is a community in which our history, language, traditions, and culture are paramount to who we are as a people. We will protect and maintain the spirit and intent of the treaties and our inherent rights. Fisher River will be a self-sustaining progressive community with a strong and accountable government. We will provide an environment where all people are healthy, safe, and respected.