Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox provided an update on COVID-19 health recommendations, education, youth and justice during his July 7 live broadcast on WRN.
“We all have a role to play in keeping everyone safe,” Fox says during the WRN broadcast. “We must continue to be vigilant in following all public health recommendations, especially for those patients returning home after medical travel. We must continue to encourage physical distancing, hand washing, covering your cough and staying home if you are sick. Our work to stay home and stay healthy over the last three months has worked and it must continue.”
Fox says the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult on everyone’s mental health.
“We encourage you to support one another and to reach out to any services that may be available within your communities and territory,” Fox says.
Fox adds that it is recommended for individuals who are returning from travel to urban centres or who were exposed to COVID-19 to self isolate for 14 days after returning to their community.
“If you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, fever or cough for example, do not go to the nursing station,” Fox says. “Self isolate and call Telehealth Ontario or call the nursing station for directions.”
Fox says he is optimistic about the future.
“To those listening out there, I just want you to find inspiration and hope in everything that you do,” Fox says.
Fox says Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is working on a plan to request more than $30 million from the federal government for educational resources.
“The Grand Chief and I are working very hard on this,” Fox says. “We have a great staff that have developed a plan to present to (Indigenous Services Canada) Minister Marc Miller. We have also presented this plan to the provincial (Education) Minister Stephen Lecce.”
Fox says his main focus right now is ensuring that NAN students, including those in adult learning, distance education, high school, elementary, kindergarten and post secondary institutions, are safe and that they have the best possible plan for their educational future.
“I am looking out for everyone and ensuring we are doing everything we can to help them and support them when they want to start school in the fall,” Fox says. “So we keep an eye on all the announcements that are coming — it varies from school to school, school board to school board, region to region, different levels of schools. The jurisdiction lies with your community — it’s up to the communities what they want to do with their schools, with their students and it’s NAN’s duty to support them.”
Fox says the NAN Youth Council are also working on a plan to support NAN youth, which was scheduled to be presented during the NAN leadership call on July 9.
“We want to do everything we can to ensure we are still there for our young people,” Fox says. “The plan will be delivered also to Minister Marc Miller. I just want to say I am extremely proud of (the NAN Youth Council) and the hard work they’ve put into that.”
Fox says NAN continues to monitor the correctional facilities and any citizens that are being released to make sure they are being taken care of and can go home safely.
“I hope everyone out there is doing their best to stay positive,” Fox says. “If you’re having a really good day take advantage of it, get outside and do it safely. But on your bad days, reach out to someone if you need to and continue to be optimistic about the future.”