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Mental health has suffered during pandemic but help is available

in Health/Opinion by

Every year approximately 4,000 Canadians die by suicide, averaging nearly 11 people every single day.

Suicide has been an issue that has impacted all genders, races and ethnicities around the world for centuries. However, with the onset of a global pandemic in early 2020, suicide measurements also saw a change.

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2020: The year of living dangerously for educational workers in Ontario

in Education/Opinion by
Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class
The Israeli system, which re-opened as parts of Ontario soon will be, was forced to quickly shut down.

I cannot imagine what my former colleagues are thinking about the 2020 calendar year.

This has probably been the toughest year ever for Ontario educational workers. The public seems to have forgotten that the year began with a series of job actions by unionized educational workers from across the province hoping to convince an intransigent government to negotiate in good faith.

Teachers were winning the battle for public opinion and the government was on the back heel until COVID arrived last March throwing the school system into chaos.

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Pandemic has proven we’re a caring society; government budgets should reflect this

in Opinion by

Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist and professor, says there are three main questions that unite all of humanity. “What am I doing here? What am I supposed to be doing? And am I doing it right?”

COVID-19 has all of us asking these questions again even if we thought we had them figured out.

Our governments, for example, are starting to conclude that the austerity measures they have imposed last 40-plus years (from Conservatives and Liberals at different levels) were based on self-interest and greed.

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TLDSB commits $4 million from reserve to cover COVID expenses

in Education by

Local trustees approved the spending of up to $4 million of their financial reserve to cover COVID related expenses for the 2020-2021 school year.

The board voted unanimously “to access surplus funds up to 2 per cent of the board operating budget to come from the surplus to be used at the discretion of senior management.”

At the same meeting the board announced a $220 million dollar budget with a $995,000 deficit for the 2020-2021 school year.

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85 per cent of local parents sending their kids back to school

in Education by
“There are limited buses available. There is also a driver shortage.”

At a Special Meeting of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board, director of education Wes Hahn said that the vast majority of parents have opted to return their children to regular full day learning beginning September 8.

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More than $4.8 million announced by Scott for Kawartha Lakes’ pandemic support

in Municipal/Provincial by

Today, MPP Laurie Scott announced more than $4.8 million dollars in provincial assistance for Kawartha Lakes in response to the COVID 19 pandemic.

“This is new money for our communities that will provide municipalities with the support they need to protect the health and well-being of Ontario residents,” said Scott in a media release.

“This assistance will continue to deliver needed public services as the province continues down the path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.”

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Supply teachers will not be confined to just one school when students return in fall

in Education by
Octoblocks: Trustees hear pros and cons of 22 days of only one class
“Staff and student safety are paramount, but folks have to make an income," says Hahn.

Moving from school to school is something supply teachers (or occasional teachers) have always done, as they work to fill in the gaps in the system. It will continue to be an expectation of supply teachers, even during the pandemic – a reality that so far, the province seems willing to ignore.

The initial investigations of deaths at long-term care homes in Ontario pointed strongly to part time staff working at multiple facilities as a key part of the problem with virus spread.

Staff members acted as vectors for the novel coronavirus, carrying it from one facility to the next.

In an interview with Trillium Lakelands District School Board director of education, Wes Hahn, he said the board was “just starting to look at this issue.”

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Board re-opening plan faces trustee scrutiny

in Education by

Wes Hahn, the newly minted director of education for Trillium Lakelands School Board, presented to trustees an update on the board’s re-opening plan for Sept. 8 but faced a multitude of questions from the trustees who were present.

This included questions about bus safety, cafeteria protocols, upgrading HVAC systems, social distancing plans, and much more.

“We are living in unprecedented times,” Hahn began, “and we will try to present to you the most current information that we have.”

Hahn said they met for two hours with the deputy minister of education last week and believe a good foundation is in place. Keep Reading

Could Grand Experience become a franchise restaurant? ‘It’s a historical landmark’

in Business/Municipal by
The Grand Hotel will be closing by the end of the month. Photo: Roderick Benns.

Mayor Andy Letham says the Grand Hotel buildings were sold sometime in the past week or so – again – and the new owners must have quickly decided to evict the restaurant owner from the building.

APG Kent Street Properties Corp had plans for the properties at 171-185 Kent Street that would have included retail stores, a restaurant, and offices on the upper floors. Mid-pandemic, the buildings have now been sold again.

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Grand Experience to close at end of August

in Business by

Charlie McDonald, owner of The Grand Experience in Lindsay, says on a social media post that the well-known restaurant and bar will close by the end of August.

“After 160 years of serving the downtown Lindsay community, the buildings of 171-185 Kent Street have been sold, and because I have not had a lease since this past March, we have been evicted with 30 days notice,” McDonald writes.

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