MARCH 20th COVID19 Community Notice from Kitsumkalum Band Council

March 20, 2020

Your band leadership, emergency programs and health centre staff have been working hard to keep up with the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic to provide well-informed advice, and give clear direction, which is intended to keep the entire Kitsumkalum community safe. We have determined that the best way forward, due to the challenges which containing or preventing the spread of this illness within the community presents, is to lead with significant measures, rather than rely solely on Provincial direction which may not take each community’s unique situation into close enough consideration. I can assure you all that no decision is made lightly, but we are in extraordinary times. To not see this pandemic for the very real risk it is would be to live with the immense regret of not taking it seriously enough later. And so, it has been decided to cease business operations in departments where controlling the flow of people or transmission of disease isn’t possible, and reduce staff to the absolute minimum in offices which have already restricted public access to allow continuation of essential operations only. These measures will be in place for two weeks, commencing Monday, March 23rd and will be reassessed on Friday April 3 to determine the following week’s activity.

The operations which will be closed for two weeks, pending reassessment in the week of March 30- April 3rd, are:

  • ‘Na Aksa Gyilak’yoo School
  • House Of Sim-Oi-Ghets
  • Gila Kyew ‘Nluulk Head Start and Daycare

The departments which will have reduced staff or modified operations, including no public access are:
• Administration Office
• Treaty Office
• Economic Development Office
• Health Centre
• Kitsumkalum Tempo
• Kalum Rock Quarry
• Kalum Ventures
• Kalum Management Services
• Employment & Training Centre

Today I will be working with the managers of each department to find options which will keep as many people working as possible, please wait for them to provide direction once we have determined the most appropriate measures and staffing levels. It is unanimously understood by your leadership team that in times of already great uncertainty, these measures will undoubtedly cause more stress. You can rest assured, however, that any employees who are impacted will continue to receive pay. It is important to recognize that this is NOT paid time off but instead paid modified duties; your job for the next two weeks is to stay home and protect your families and community. Any employees who are off will be expected to be available during your normal shift hours in case the situation changes. You are also directed to not put yourself at risk unnecessarily. In order to minimize the strain on health care resources which are already stretched thin, it is incumbent upon us all to refrain from “high risk” activities which could cause injury or expose you to infection. Examples of such activities are unessential travel, dangerous sports and attending gatherings. This list is not exhaustive and any employees falling ill or getting injured MAY have pay suspended if found to have been negligent with their health.
We also ask that anyone impacted by workplace closures look into applying for Employment Insurance Benefits to minimize the impact on the Kitsumkalum Band, guidance will be provided with applications.

Currently, tests for COVID-19 cannot be processed as quickly as they are sent in, this leaves us with an incomplete picture of the current scale of the pandemic’s spread within BC, therefore placing the impetus on each of us to assume it’s already here. To protect ourselves and each other, and of extremely high importance, the elders, we must act quickly to limit our ability to contract and spread this illness.

Sincerely,

Fletcher Havelaar
Emergency Programs Coordinator
Kitsumkalum Band
3523 West Kalum Rd
Terrace, BC, V8G0C8
Office: 250-635-6172 ext. 103
Cell: 778-316-4499

DOWNLOAD THE OFFICIAL NOTICE FROM KITSUMKALUM BAND COUNCIL