Nova Scotia’s Eskasoni First Nation closes schools as COVID-19 cases spike

The Eskasoni School Board has cancelled classes for all students and staff until April 19 as the First Nation grapples with rapidly rising COVID-19 numbers.

The school board posted statements on its social media accounts on Wednesday evening, saying the closures were effective immediately and are “in light of the recent rise in the number of cases of COVID-19.”

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The school board runs the Eskasoni Elementary and Middle School, the Allison Bernard Memorial High School, the Eskasoni Immersion School and the Unama’ki Training & Education Centre.

The province no longer releases daily COVID-19 data, but Eskasoni has begun sharing daily updates.

According to a post from Chief Leroy Denny shared to the Eskasoni First Nation Facebook page, 85 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the First Nation on Wednesday and there are 263 active cases.

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It said since December 2021 — when the Omicron wave began — the band has reported a total of 944 cases, 681 of which have recovered.

“Once again we strongly encourage and highly recommend to wear your mask, social distance and always clean hands,” said Denny in the post. “Main thing is to stay put to help lower the cases.”

Global News has reached out to the school board, as well as to the chief of the Eskasoni First Nation, for further comment.

The Eskasoni First Nation is the largest Mi’kmaq community in the world and one of five First Nations located in Unama’ki (Cape Breton.) According to its website, the community has a population of more than 4,000.

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