ÎYÂRHE NAKODA – A rise in absenteeism from sick students and staff has led Stoney Education Authority to close Mînî Thnî schools this week.
The decision was made to close Nakoda Elementary School and Mînî Thnî Community School from Wednesday (Nov. 22) to Friday (Nov. 24) “due to the large number of staff and students that have taken ill over the last week,” according to a notice from the school board.
Stoney Health Services CEO Aaron Khan said it is mainly the prevalence of cold and flu-like symptoms that prompted the measure.
“There were some kids that were still coming to school but after being seen by a nurse, had to be sent home,” he said. “The decision is really based on the interests of the community.”
Khan noted with housing being a challenge for the Nation, illness can spread rapidly due to the proximity of people.
“There aren’t many houses and overcrowding is a huge problem. Often, there are two or three generations living in the same household, with grandparents and children. So, this is just a precaution to keep it from spreading,” he said.
Stoney Education Authority stated the closure was advised by Nakoda Emergency Management and Stoney Health.
It further noted the school would be cleaned and thoroughly disinfected prior to reopening Monday (Nov. 27).
“Moving forward, we ask that staff or students who are experiencing cold and flu symptoms, please do your part to protect our school community, and stay home until your symptoms are better,” reads the notice.
The Outlook reached out to Stoney Education Authority for additional comment.
The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. The position covers Îyârhe (Stoney) Nakoda First Nation and Kananaskis Country.