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Sentinel teacher mulling WorkSafe claim over COVID-19 exposure – North Shore News



A teacher at Sentinel Secondary in West Vancouver is considering filing a WorkSafe claim after contracting COVID-19 – most likely from a student – reportedly without being warned that she was potentially a close contact by health authorities.

Over half a dozen students from Sentinel and that teacher are now in isolation after a Grade 12 student in their class tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

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According to West Vancouver Teachers Association president Renee Willock, the teacher was not told to self-isolate by health authorities doing contact tracing on the student – only students sitting closest to that person were told to stay home.

But two days later, the teacher started to develop symptoms and has since tested positive for the virus, said Willock.

Willock said the situation has left teachers concerned that there hasn’t been enough transparency and notification around COVID-19 exposures in schools.

That only some students in the classroom were told to stay home isn’t how teachers thought the cohort system would work, said Willock.

“It’s difficult because the protocols have been changing almost daily,” she said.

If the teacher decides to file a claim, it would likely be the first claim connected to COVID-19 in schools as a workplace issue, said Willock.

A Grade 12 student at the school who spoke to the North Shore News Monday said some of his friends who are in that class and still attending school with a substitute teacher are wondering why they haven’t been told to self-isolate.

“None of the other students in that class have necessarily been told why it’s ok for them to stay in,” he said, noting the physical constraints of the classroom mean students don’t have large spaces between them.

“They’ve heard nothing.”

Teachers and parents were first made aware of the COVID-19 exposure when Principal Michael Finch sent an email notice on the weekend, stating, “We have been made aware that a member of our school community has tested positive for COVID-19.”

Since then, however, there have been few details provided by either the West Vancouver School District or Vancouver Coastal Health.

That’s left teachers stressed and confused, said Willock.

Willock said it’s also concerning that the school has not been listed on Vancouver Coastal Health’s web page of school exposures.

“I know this is inaccurate,” said Willock.

Nine students at Collingwood School, a private school in West Vancouver, are also self-isolating this week after being exposed to a student with the virus at the school last week.

“This is a standard measure that is taken to ensure that there is no ongoing transmission in the school and does not mean that they are sick,” wrote Head of School Lisa Evans in a letter to parents.

Collingwood was also not on a school exposure list from Vancouver Coastal Health – which had not listed any schools in the region on Monday – including Mulgrave private school in West Vancouver where a group of Grade 9 students and their teachers spent 14 days in

Isolation earlier this month after a student in the group tested positive for COVID-19.

In contrast, the Fraser Health Authority listed 14 schools in the Surrey School District with COVID-19 exposures on Monday.

According to information posted on the website, an “exposure” is defined as when a single person with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 attended school during their infectious period.

Henry said Monday that all school exposures were supposed to be posted.

Henry also told reporters that even if they are in the same classroom as someone who has tested positive for the virus, most students won’t be considered close contacts. “If you’re sitting at a desk and you’re not close to them, you’ve not had close contact with them,” she said.

“And unless we start to see transmission within the classroom, it would be very unlikely that an entire classroom would have to self isolate.”

Henry said when people have been potentially exposed to the virus at school “I absolutely am sure that my colleagues and VCH are following up with the individuals who were exposed.”

In some cases, a teacher or student may have become infected with the virus through family or other social contacts but haven’t been in the school during their infectious period, said Henry.

Vancouver Coastal Health did not respond to several requests for comment on the school exposures at Sentinel and Collingwood.

She said so far most of the school exposures have been adults in the school setting.

This week health authorities also changed the list of symptoms that would require children to stay home from school, taking several of those – like a runny nose – off the list. That’s because a runny nose by itself is much less likely to be a symptom of COVID-19, especially among children, said Henry. A fever or cough – by themselves or in combination with other symptoms are much more likely to be a symptom of the virus.




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Gold price off its lows as ECB signals further stimulus in December – Kitco NEWS



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(Kitco News)Gold prices remain under pressure, but well off their session lows after the European Central Bank (ECB) signaled it would unleash new monetary policy stimulus measures in December as the European economy continues to feel the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ECB president Christine Lagarde said in a press conference following the ECB s monetary policy decision that it is clear the European economy will need further support as a second wave of the coronavirus forces countries to institute new lockdown measures.

We have little doubt that circumstances will warrant a recalibration and implementation of monetary policy,” she said.

The dovish outlook is helping gold prices recover from Wednesday sharp selloff. Panic selling has swept through financial markets this week as investors shift their expectations on global growth. December gold futures last traded at $1,871.80 an ounce, down 0.39% on the day.

The comments come as the ECB continues to see significant risk to the European economy heading into the new year. Wednesday, both France and Germany announced new lockdown measures as both countries have seen a surge in new COVID-19 infections.

The risks surrounding the euro area growth outlook are clearly tilted to the downside,” Lagarde said in her opening remarks. This largely reflects the recent resurgence in COVID-19 infections, the associated intensification of containment measures and a highly uncertain timeline of the pandemic and its implications for economic and financial conditions.”

Lagarde said that the staff are currently analyzing its programs ahead of December s meeting. The December meeting will also see the release of the central bank s updated economic projections. She added that this recalibration will touch on all of the central bank s tool to find the best mix to support lending conditions and the European economy.

On the basis of this updated assessment, the Governing Council will recalibrate its instruments, as appropriate, to respond to the unfolding situation and to ensure that financing conditions remain favorable to support the economic recovery and counteract the negative impact of the pandemic on the projected inflation path,” Lagard said.

Lagarde s dour outlook came after the ECB said that it maintained its interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25%, and -0.50%, respectively.

The central bank also said that it would maintain the current pace of its emergency stimulus measures.

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Exxon Fails To Raise Dividend For The First Time In 38 Years –



Exxon Fails To Raise Dividend For The First Time In 38 Years |

Josh Owens

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Josh Owens is the Content Director at An International Relations and Politics graduate from the University of Edinburgh, Josh specialized in Middle East and…

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ExxonMobil is keeping its quarterly fourth-quarter dividend flat at $0.87 per share – the first time in 38 years that the company has failed to increase the dividend that it has been paying for more than 100 years.    

Exxon, which is reporting Q3 earnings on Friday, had increased its dividend in Q1 ad Q2 this year, despite the oil price crash and the back-to-back losses that it reported for the first and second quarters. Exxon, as well as Chevron, hadn’t touched shareholder payouts, unlike their European rivals Shell, Equinor, BP, and Eni, which slashed dividends earlier this year amid massive losses in Q1 and Q2 following the price and demand crash and reductions in oil price assumptions for both the short and the long term.

Analysts have been wondering how long Exxon would be able to keep raising its dividend and continue to be one of the so-called dividend aristocrats, companies that have continuously increased dividends for 25 years or more.

“We have doubts about the sanctity of the dividend longer-term,” Jennifer Rowland, an analyst with Edward Jones, told Reuters.

“There is greater potential for a dividend reduction in 2021 if demand doesn’t fully recover,” Rowland added.

Related: The Car Giants That Knew About Climate Change 50 Years Ago

While not cutting the dividend, Exxon is not lifting the payouts to shareholders for the first time since 1982, suggesting that the supermajor has exhausted many of the other options to cut costs.

For the third quarter, Exxon is set to post its third straight loss in its upstream business this year as lower oil demand continues to hurt oil companies’ profitability.

For the second quarter, Exxon reported at the end of July its second consecutive quarterly loss, which was the worst loss for the U.S. supermajor in its modern history.

By Josh Owens for

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Ontario premier wants to take 'surgical approach' to next group of shutdowns in hot spots – CTV Toronto



Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he wants to take a “surgical approach” to shutdowns in the province’s COVID-19 hot spots when deciding if regions need to remain in a modified Stage 2.

“We need to take a surgical approach,” Ford said, while making an announcement in Barrie, Ont. on Thursday. “I’ve always said this, some regions are very large geographical areas.”

Ford wouldn’t say whether Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa or York Region would be moved back into Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan. All four regions were placed into a modified Stage 2 for 28 days because of their rising infection rate. 

The modified Stage 2 forces indoor dining to close, as well as movie theatres and gyms.

The 28-day period expires for Toronto, Peel Region and Ottawa on Nov. 7, while York Region is a week later.

Ford used Peel Region as an example of why he thinks a surgical approach needs to be taken, saying while Mississauga and Brampton have seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, Caledon has not seen numbers spike at the same rates.

“Caledon, they’re complaining because the numbers are escalating in other regions,” Ford said. 

Ford said he’s “working with all the mayors and all the different regions” to decide on what restrictions will be lifted or kept in place when the 28-day period ends.

“We’re working on coming up with a safe plan with collaboration with all the local mayors and local health teams and then we’ll make a decision before this 28 days runs out.”

“The good news is we are seeing a little bit of a decline,” Ford said about COVID-19 cases in Ontario. “But make no mistake about it … do not let your guard down. It happened before and it just spiked up.”

Ford’s comment on the decline in cases comes as Ontario’s seven-day rolling average hit 899, which is a record high since the pandemic began.

Ontario’s four COVID-19 hot spots continue to have the highest number of COVID-19 infections.

Of the new cases reported on Thursday, 420 were in Toronto, 169 were in Peel Region, 95 were in York Region and 58 were in Ottawa.

Province launches ‘Ontario Made Consumer Directory’

Meanwhile, the Ontario government announced on Thursday that it has launched a new directory to make it easier for people to shop and support local businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian Manufactures and Exporters (CME), with the support of the Ontario government, launched the “Ontario Made Consumer Directory.”

Ford said that promoting Ontario-made products will help support “good-paying jobs” in the future. 

People can find made-in-Ontario products on the government’s new website

“I’m proud to support this new CME campaign to encourage Ontarians to look for the ‘Ontario Made’ label when shopping,” Ford said. 

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