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Five things to watch in Ottawa this week – CTV Edmonton

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OTTAWA —
CTV News Ottawa looks at five things to watch in Ottawa the week of August 10 to 16.

Back to School plan

Students in Ottawa and eastern Ontario return to class in less than four weeks, now parents will find out what the new school year will look like.

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board, the Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Conseil des ecoles catholiques du Centre-Est will release information Monday on what the return to school will look like in September.

The OCDSB released some details for the upcoming school year last Friday. Elementary students who return to the classroom in person will be in class five days per week, and remain in one class with the same group of students all day. For secondary school students, the board will divide the year into four quadmesters, with students taking two classes at a time.

Parents with students in the OCDSB and Ottawa Catholic School Board have until Friday to inform the board whether their children will enrol for in-class or online learning this September. The CECCE says parents have until Thursday to decide.

COVID-19 in Ottawa

All eyes will continue to be on the daily COVID-19 data for Ottawa and Ontario.

Ottawa wrapped up the week with six new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday.  Ottawa Public Health reported 74 new cases of COVID-19 during the week of Aug. 2 to 9, down from 140 cases the week before.

Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brent Moloughney said on Friday that Ottawa Public Health was still seeing employees going to work while symptomatic. Dr. Moloughney added OPH encourages all businesses to do active screening of employees to make sure no one is going to work when they are sick or feeling unwell.

For the first time in several months, Ontario health officials reported fewer than 100 new cases of COVID-19 daily for one week. Seventy-nine new cases were announced on Sunday, after 70 cases were reported on Saturday.

All aboard 15 trains

All eyes will be on Ottawa’s 11-month-old Confederation Line this week after a historic day on Friday.  For the first time ever, 15 trains were running during the morning peak period.

OC Transpo confirmed 15 trains were running on Friday morning, with trains arriving at stops every 3 minutes and 20 seconds.

The $2.1 billion LRT was supposed to run with 15 trains during peak periods when it launched in Sept. 2019, but only 13 trains were running at the launch.

OC Transpo wanted 15 trains running on August 4 as the system prepared for the return to school and work in September.

Perseid meteor shower

It is considered one of the most stunning celestial events of the year.

The Perseid meteor shower will sparkle the night of Aug. 11-12.

According to the Canadian Space Agency, the Perseids can be seen from the northern hemisphere each year, from late July to mid-August. This year, an increasing number of shooting stars should be visible every night, until the light show peaks on the night of Aug. 11 and 12.

During the peak, typically in the darkest hours after midnight, up to 50 to 90 meteors per hour can streak across the sky.

Ottawa’s newest soccer team kicks off

The COVID-19 pandemic delayed Atletico Ottawa’s debut in the Canadian Premier League.

Now, the league is hosting “The Island Games” at UPEI Alumni Field in Charlottetown. The season will kick off on August 13, with all eight teams playing each other once. The top four teams advance to a second round-robin group.

Events and meetings in Ottawa this week

The Ottawa Carleton District School Board will meet Tuesday evening to discuss the 2020-21 school year budget.  The board is facing a projected $17.2 million deficit next school year.

The Reklaws perform at the Drive-In Experience at Wesley Clover Parks on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

The Canada Science and Technology Museum opens on Aug 14 to the public. The museum will be open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ottawa GreekFest at Home kicks off on Friday, Aug. 14. Due to COVID-19, the popular Ottawa GreekFest will be offer pick-up food and online events.

Baby Shark with Max and Ruby take the stage Saturday at the Drive-In Experience at Wesley Clover Parks.

See Splash N’ Boots at the Drive-In Experience at Wesley Clover Parks on Sunday.

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Parents, epidemiologists unsurprised by COVID cases in Sask. schools – CBC.ca

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Eight cases of COVID-19 have now been identified in Saskatchewan schools — the latest was found earlier this week at Valley Manor Elementary School in Martensville, Sask. 

However, a professor in the department of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, says this was to be expected as children returned to their classrooms this fall.

“I’m certainly not surprised,” said Dr. Cory Neudorf. “We’ve known right from the start that this pandemic tends to affect adults and older people more in terms of symptoms. And since a lot of the testing has been focused on people with symptoms and those wanting to go back to work, we haven’t had as much uptake in testing from children. 

“Now that we’re doing a little more testing in that age group, we expect to be finding a certain number of positives, both in terms of those who may have had mild symptoms and those with no symptoms at all.”

Professor Cory Neudorf, an epidemiologist from the University of Saskatchewan, says parents should take their children for a flu shot as soon as possible. (Saskatoonhealthregion.ca)

Janine Muyres’ three children attend City Park School in Saskatoon. For her, the transition to distance learning last winter was “kind of like having labour — when you’re in it, it’s hell, and when you’re out, you think ,’Well, that wasn’t so bad.'”

When Muyres found out her children could go back to their classrooms this fall, she was relieved to know that distance learning was off the table, at least for now. 

Janine Muyres (second from right) with her children Niko, Stella and Macy. (Submitted by Janine Muyres)

“I remember telling my coworkers, ‘I don’t care if the kids have to wear a HAZMAT suit, they’re going back to school,’ she said.

“I’d been hanging on all summer with my fingers crossed, thinking ‘It’s got to go back, because I can’t do that to my kids again. I can’t put them through that.’ 

“I was just so busy with work. I couldn’t watch over them and make sure their assignments were getting done.”

Flu season

With cold and flu season on the horizon, as well as fall allergies to contend with, Neudorf urged parents to take their children for flu shots as soon as possible and exercise caution when sending them to school with any health symptoms in the months ahead. 

“I can imagine it’s going to get very frustrating to have mild symptoms leading to multiple tests being done and disruptions to work and family life,” he said. “This is the short-term reality we’re in this year. 

“In the meantime, we do what we can with physical distancing, mask wearing, washing hands, using sanitizer and limiting your close circle of who you’re interacting with.”

For Neudorf, a case of COVID-19 in a school community can be a sign for administrators and public health officials to review their existing policies and question what could be done differently going forward. 

“Whenever we see cases in a school, that’s a chance to re-look and ask if there is anything we could have done differently in terms of screening, keeping kids home when they’re sick … and contact tracing,” he said.

“Every time there’s a case or a cluster, it’s time to look at that in the context of that school and say, is there anything we could be doing differently here? We’re essentially learning as we go.” 

Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, is concerned about how quickly teachers are being asked to change on a dime as the school year progresses. 

Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation president Patrick Maze says teachers are still being reassigned to other positions. (Bryan Eneas/CBC)

“From what I’m hearing, lots of teachers are kind of hanging by a thread and hoping that they can get through day to day at this point,” he said. “It is an unprecedentedly stressful time. 

“I have lots of members who have been told — this late into the month already — that they’re changing their positions, switching subjects or going to online learning. And we’re asking that teachers be patient and roll with the punches, but at some point, we get to the fact that it’s very difficult to change what you teach this late into September.”

Maze has commended school faculty and staff for their thorough implementation of COVID safety protocols, but believes large class sizes and after-school activities may still fuel in-school transmission. 

“Whether it’s practices or different events in the community, it’s a bit frustrating, because I know that schools have put in a tremendous amount of work to cohort students … and do block scheduling,” he said. “And that will all come undone if we continue to try to run things as normal in the evenings, as far as clubs and activities and events. So we’re hoping that the community can also do its part in order to help us keep the measures that have been put in place in schools to keep everyone safe.”

As for Muyres, she is working on sending her children out the door in the morning with a realistic perspective on this unique school year. 

“I tell my kids, we’re not going to live in fear,” she said.

“We’re not going to let this consume our life, and nobody’s going to develop anxiety over this. This is here, it’s happening right now, here’s what you can do to prevent it. And we’re just going to go ahead until otherwise directed by health officials.” 

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COVID-19 in Sask: Here's what we know ahead of the next update – CTV News

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REGINA —
Here’s what we know ahead of Saskatchewan’s next update on COVID-19 cases in the province.

SASKATCHEWAN CASES

Saskatchewan reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of active cases to 146.

In a release, the province said six new cases are in Saskatoon, two are in Regina, one is in the far north east zone and one is in the central west zone.

Two of the new cases in Saskatoon are linked to a previously reported outbreak identified at Brandt Industries. To date, 19 cases have been connected to this cluster, the province said.

MOE REMINDS RESIDENTS TO KEEP GATHERINGS LOW

Premier Scott Moe says people should keep gathering sizes low to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, stressing they could face penalties if they don’t comply.

He said on Monday the vast majority of people are obeying the rules, but there have been some instances of individuals going out of bounds.

“We need to be careful,” Moe said during a press conference. “One infected person at the wrong place at the wrong time can turn into dozens of additional cases.”

The warnings come after a house gathering in Saskatoon caused cases to increase in that city.

SASK. RAMPING UP TESTING

The province announced on Tuesday it will be increasing testing in Saskatchewan, hoping to meet a goal of 4,000 tests per day.

Starting this week, Saskatchewan Health Authority labs will implement pooled testing of asymptomatic swabs.

This will allow labs to test more specimens with fewer testing materials and increase testing output, the SHA said in a news release.

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Sask. police visiting recent travellers to check compliance with mandatory self-isolation – CBC.ca

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Police in Saskatchewan are checking-up on people who are in mandatory self-isolation after returning from international travel.

Regina Police Service spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said Tuesday that police receive a daily list from the Saskatchewan Health Authority of people who have recently travelled. 

“We dispatch a police car to the home address to ensure that the person is in fact doing that mandatory 14-day isolation,” said Popowich. 

“And if they’re not, then we refer it back to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) for further action as per the public health order.” 

Saskatoon police and the RCMP are also doing visits to check on compliance with the provincial order, which states anyone who has travelled internationally must isolate for two weeks. 

People who are isolating are allowed to be outside on their own property, such as a backyard or balcony, and they can take solitary walks if they do not have symptoms. 

Non-compliance referred back to health authority

Popowich said police do not issue immediate fines if a person does not open the door. Instead, they report back to the SHA to follow up. 

CBC has contacted the SHA for more information about the police visits and who initiated them.

Regina and Saskatoon police have both been doing check-ups since April.

‘There are consequences’ 

Police could issue a fine if someone is found to be repeatedly violating isolation after multiple checkups, but Popowich said she is not aware of any such fines being issued so far.

She said there are some instances where people may not receive a visit from police, for example if there is a mistake in the address or if police receive the information late in the quarantine period.

“Don’t risk getting a fine. Certainly don’t risk potentially carrying an infection to someone who is not as easily able to handle the illness,” she said.

“Treat it as though you could be paid a visit if you’ve been out of the country and you’re not self-isolating. If you’re not, then there are consequences.”

Popowich said Regina police have enough resources to take on the role of checking compliance. 

“Those calls get dispatched at a time when typically our other call loads are lower,” she said. 

In April, a Regina woman who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 was fined $2,800 for allegedly not complying with the order to self-isolate.

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