HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

HDSB may have to pull as much as $8 million from the Reserve accounts. Director is OK with that – no sense yet as to how the trustees are going to react.

The Halton District School Board trustees were given a close and disturbing look at just how big the COVID-19 financial hole was going to be. It was not a pretty picture.

financia updated

 

The financial story for the Halton District School Board is far from complete.  The $12.4 million in COVID funding came from the provincial and federal government.  The drill down on what those funds are going to be used for is set out in the table below.

funding

Here is how you spend $12.4 million.

 

covid exp

The above are expenses the board expects to incur when schools open on the -14th

The spending priorities as the Board sees them at this point are shown in the table below.   There are a tasks that still have to be fully costed – at this point they are at $9.6 million

spending prioities

The Board has $40 million in reserves.  Those funds are set aside for specific projects and a source of funds for unexpected situations.  The COVID-19 virus was one of those.  The Board is going to have to pull about $4 million from the reserves to cover the immediate expenses.  This is not something they can do without permission from the province.  School boards across the province were given permission to use up to 2% of their reserves on COVID related expenses.

Board administrators have not yet asked the trustees to approve the spending – they are just telling the trustees that this is the way they see the finances working out.  The HDSB may find itself having to take that 2% from the reserves which amounts to $8 million, which Director Miller said he “is OK with”.

What was of interest was the question Director of Education Stewart Miller put to the trustees on deficits and what they had in the way of a comfort level.

Miller told the trustees that budget shortfalls and the use of reserves are as much a philosophical question as it is a financial matter. What Miller doesn’t have to deal with are tax payers who look askance at increases in their tax bill.  That is the ire that falls upon trustees.

What Miller has to cope with are trustees who do their home work and press the Director for details and teach him how to find efficiencies.

Collard and Miller

If looks could kill – the Director was toast. Amy Collard, Ward 5 Trustee holding the Director of Education to account during the high school closing discussions.

Up until very recently Ward 5 Trustee Amy Collard was the only trustee prepared to and capable of going toe to toe with Miller.

In the past year the Chair, Andrea Grebenc, has gotten stronger and may now be at the point where she can bear down a little harder on the Director and ask awkward questions of some of the Superintendents.

Miller in a huddle with Grebenc

Trustee chair listening to what Director of Education thinks on an issue.

The Chair of the School Board is a job that doesn’t pay very much and for the most part amounts to following staff recommendations. It is a job that takes time to learn – and things can get very sticky if the Chair is having problems – all too often they have to look to the Director of Education for guidance. The biggest job trustees have is hiring and holding the Director to account. It takes several terms as Chair to get to the point where he or she is independent enough to fill the role.

Grebenc showed some of her mettle with the two letters she sent the Ministry of Education; the second had a certain edge to it.  Ms Grebenc may soon be ready for a higher level of office.  She is the Trustee for Ward 3 – that ward could use a voice like the one Grebenc is developing.

Someone to keep an eye on.

Related background articles:

First Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Second Grebenc letter to the Minister of Education

Letters from the Board are sent on behalf of the Board

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Robbery investigation at the Plains Road Esso Station wrapped up with the arrest of a minor.

Crime 100By Staff

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The Halton Regional Police Service has concluded a robbery investigation which occurred at an Esso Gas Station in the City of Burlington on September 6th, 2020.

At approximately 6:10am on Sunday September 6th, 2020, a lone male entered the Esso Gas Station located on Plains Road and proceeded to jump over the counter with a knife in his hand. The lone male lunged towards the store clerk causing the victim to put his hands up in order to defend himself. As a result of this altercation, the victim’s hand was cut by the knife. The male continued to lunge towards the victim who proceeded to run into the main store area to get away from the knife welding male. The lone male then proceeded to grab approximately $550 cash from the till before fleeing the Esso on foot.

police cruiser second

Police attended at the crime scene and were later able to arrest the suspect.

The victim immediately contacted 911 and police and ambulance responded. The victim suffered a large cut to one finger and had the tip of another finger cut off. The victim was transported by ambulance to Joseph Brant Memorial Hospital where he received a number of stitches. The victim was eventually released from hospital after receiving medical treatment.

Investigation by Halton Police revealed that the lone male had attended the Esso Gas Station on September 5th, 2020 at approximately 6:00am and had attempted to break in through the back door. The male was confronted by the victim at that time and fled the scene. As a result, police identified a 16 year old male responsible for the robbery.

On Monday September 7th, 2020, investigators located and arrested the 16 year old male outside of his residence in the City of Burlington.
Police executed a search warrant at this residence and as a result of the search; Halton Police located and seized a knife, cell phone, clothing and recovered Canadian Currency.

Investigation by the Burlington Criminal Investigation Bureau has led to the following charges against a 16 year old young offender from Burlington whose identity cannot be released:

Young Offender

The Young Offender Act was designed to attempt to intercede in the lives of young men and women who are in conflict with the law and treat them differently by protecting their identity.

• Robbery
• Aggravated Assault
• Disguise with Intent
• Attempt Break and Enter

The Young Offender was held for bail and will appear in Milton Court on September 8th, 2020.

Anyone with information in regards to this investigation is asked to contact Detective Constable Colin MacLeod of the 3 District Criminal Investigations Bureau at 905-825-4747 ext. 2357.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously to Crime Stoppers. “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

Please be reminded that all persons charged are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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Craig Gardner reports: 'Looks like a great day for Rotary'.

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Here is what we are getting from the front lines at Rib Fest – taking place at the Burlington Centre (formerly the Mall).

Just back from Rib Fest (they let us put up some signage to advertise Terry Fox event), reports Craig Gardner who is heading up the 2020 Terry Fox Run.  He faces the same problem the Rotary was up against – their events were cancelled and everyone had to scramble to come up with an alternative.

“People started showing up at 9 for RIBS – by time I left shortly after 11 am the lineup was getting rather large. Looks like a great day for Rotary.

“Everything is nicely laid out easy to navigate and will hold lots of cars. Appears to be much better lay out than July 1.

Another Halton resident sent us a note about her visit to the “Valhalla of Ribs” adding – I attended at about 11:10 by which time 500 or 600 had already preceded me.

The volunteers do an excellent job of answering questions and keeping the long snaking lines of vehicles moving toward the Valhalla of ribs.

I wanted to get try ribs from two vendors but that’s impossible with the current, but necessary, setup.  And how to choose the ribs you want to try?

Advice to me, which I followed, was to choose the shortest line.

Map Sept 2020

 

The entrance is off Fairview – lots of signage – you can’t miss it.

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BurlingtonGreen taking Climate Action to the streets - a Shoe Strike - stay tuned.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

BurlingtonGreen is doing it again.

They are reminding us that despite the pandemic and the serious concerns parents have with the way Return to School is being handled – Climate Change is the biggest issue before the whole world.

On September 25th Burlington residents will demand more action from different levels of government with a Shoe Strike.

BG shoe strike

Starting Mon. September 21st, you can drop off shoes to three locations around town. We will bring them to the demonstration site on Friday the 25th.

They will be silent reminders to politicians that we need CLIMATE ACTION NOW. Details to follow.

In the past few months Burlington Gazette columnist Ray Rivers has shifted his focus from political issues to the biggest issue facing the world.  The first in a three part series on climate change – what it really is, what it is going to mean to every one of us and what we can do individually to being about change.

The Shoe Strike is one step – the Rivers column is another.  Link below to what Rivers had to say; he will be following up on climate change.

Ray Rivers: The Problem – our problem – don’t walk away from it.

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Rib Fest at Burlington Centre still very much a go - open till 7 this evening.

eventsred 100x100By Staff

September 7th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

When asked how they were coping with the weather – which wasn’t all that good while the folks setting up the Labour Day Rib Fest at Burlington Centre  (formerly the Mall) they came back with:

“For now, we are all set up and ready to go. Hopefully the weather cooperates for us. So it is very much a go.”

If the Rotarians can do the hustle when things looked doubtful at 7 in the morning – the least the rest of us can do is get into the car and make a point of picking up some of those Ribs.

Map Sept 2020

 

Entrance to the event will be off  Fairview this time – look for the directional signs – they will be everywhere.

Jay Bridle, Canada’s Largest Ribfest Co-Chair described the event this way:

“We are excited to keep our Labour Day tradition of delivering delicious ribs & fantastic entertainment live during these challenging times” says Brent Paszt, a Past President of Rotary Burlington Lakeshore, and Co-Chair of Canada’s Largest Ribfest. “While the event may look different from what we are all used to seeing, you can still expect award-winning BBQ Teams to be on hand serving the ribs, pulled pork, and chicken that guests have come to expect from Ribfest” added

“Canceling our annual long weekend event that attracts upwards of 175,000 guests was a huge disappointment and really impacted our ability to support those charities and individuals who need it most, now more than ever” says Rotary Burlington Lakeshore President, Jay Thomblison; “Proceeds from this event, along with those generated from our successful inaugural Canada Day Drive-Thru, will enable us to continue that support”.

Food vendors will take orders and payment (cards preferred) and will deliver each completed order to your vehicle. Gloves and masks will be worn by all staff, vendors, and volunteers.

The four award-winning rib teams in attendance will include Camp 31 BBQ, Billy Bones BBQ, Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse, and Silver Bullet BBQ. There will also be food offerings from East Side Mario’s and Blaze Pizza, Twisted Tomato, Tiny Tom Donuts, and Ontario Corn Roasters, ensuring that there’s something for the entire family. The event will also include live music for guests to enjoy while they wait in the comfort and safety of their vehicles.

Over the course of 24 years, Canada’s Largest Ribfest, a fundraising initiative of Rotary Burlington Lakeshore, has raised over $4.5 million for local, national, and international charities.

 

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St. Matthews takes a break on Labour Day

News 100 blueBy Staff

September 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They have been collecting food and passing it along to the agencies that have a client base that needs it.

They won’t be open this Monday.

Not Monday-Last Backpack

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Labour Day Rib Fest - starts at 10 runs till 7pm

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 6th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Just a day away.

The Labour Day Rib Fest or how a local service club turned a disadvantage into an advantage.

If you looked around there was still some sitting room.  The weather was close to perfect and the music was good - great way to bring a summer to a close.

This was the way it used to be – when times were normal.

The Rib Fest, approaching its 25th year of operation had to shut down its plans to celebrate the raising of funds for the community and feeding a really large crowd.

That wasn’t something they were very good at doing – so they did a big pivot and put on an event on Canada Day that was a success and decided to do it again on Labour Day – that will be Monday,

Entrance to the event will be off  Fairview this time – look for the directional signs – they will be everywhere.

Map Sept 2020

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Together they got it done - 300 Back Packs that will be proudly worn when school opens

eventsblue 100x100By Staff

September 5th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Thousands of students will be trooping back to school – some will not have a shiny new backpack filled with the things needed at school.
Doesn’t sound like a big deal but for the kid with no backpack – it can be devastating.

Those of you who have been there understand.

book packers Burlington Together 2

This is what goes into 300 Back Packs.

Burlington together logoBurlington Together, a group that is steered by Beth Martin Snooker, pulled together a group earlier today and packed supplies into 300 Back Packs – no small feat.

Snooker ensured that mentions are made and sponsors recognized.

“A HUGE thank you to everyone who volunteered at St. Christopher’s this week and at the backpack program today. We prepped over 300 backpacks to help kids be ready for heading back to school! Thank you also to everyone who donated backpacks, school supplies, sanitizer, masks, toys and general good vibes!

“MASSIVE thanks to community partners Open Doors of St. Christopher’s, Food4Kids Halton and Compassion Society of Halton.” A special shout out to Mike McMillan for his donation of over 70 hand sanitizers this afternoon! And a huge thank you to Bill Leggitt and the Rotary Club of Burlington North who gave us a very generous donation which we used to fill the gaps in needed items.

book packers Burlington Together 1

These are the ‘packers’ – some spent most of the day getting the job done.

“Thanks to Corrine Batchelor for the donations of toys and games for the JK/SK/Gr1 bags. And thanks to Lisa Kearns for the donation of 300 masks and for stopping by with delicious treats for the volunteers.

“Thank you to Wellington Square United Church and Burlington Food Bank for sharing your backpack donations with us. Thank you to the Women’s Giving Network for the amazing hygiene kits. Thank you to Umicore Autocat Canada and RCAP Leasing for very generous donations of Walmart gift cards, backpacks and supplies. Thank you to Staples Canada store #14 for your donations of backpacks and supplies!

“Special shout outs to Christina Mulder for rocking this program, Julie Lansley who helped us ALL DAY today, volunteers Nick, Andrea & Danny, Adria, Melanie, Jess, Christine, Lisa D, Jackie B (all day!!), Lisa F, Marie, Gwen, Carmela, Sandi, Judy, Sandra, Michelle, Charlene, and Nick. I’m so sorry if I’ve missed you, it was a long day!

“As usual, NONE of this could have been accomplished without YOU, so my eternal thanks for your community generosity.”

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This was public service far beyond the call to serve and protect.

Crime 100By Staff

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

The furniture has been loaded on the moving truck and you are on the way to your new residence.

The men driving the moving truck pull into a gas station – you are following the truck.

They tell you that it is going to take an additional $2000 to complete the job – the movers had already been given a cash deposit.

The customer didn’t like the look or feel on what was taking place and called the police.

police move 2

Police unloaded the furniture and household items from a van that was suspected of being used in a moving scam. A very grateful citizen.

Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) officers attended a gas station for what is now being investigated as a moving company scam.

Police officers emptied the moving truck and helped the victim get their possessions to their new home.

A criminal investigation is still ongoing into this occurrence and charges are expected.

The HRPS is investigating similar style scams that may have taken place throughout the region. If you believe you may have been a victim of a moving scam within Halton please contact Constable Sarah McCullagh at sarah.mccullagh@haltonpolice.ca or call 905-825-4747 ext. 2405.

Police moving 1

Do the Regional Police now have a new unit – The Ace Moving company? Great public service on the part of police detachment.

Police would also like to offer the following tips to residents looking at hiring a moving company:

• Do your research (search the company online). Look for reviews from customers and/ or a website. Be wary of a company that has no online presence.

• Where is the moving company coming from? A company travelling from another province to complete the move is suspicious. Also be suspicious if the company is using a rental truck with out of province licence plates.

• Read your contract prior to signing.

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Back to school: Did you register properly and can you change your mind.

News 100 redBy Staff

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Deciding to send your children back to school has been an anxious exercise for most parents.

parent with child - directing

Deciding what is right for your child – and changing your mind later.

It has been a challenge for school board staff who have to figure out how many students will be taught in a classroom and how many will be taught virtually.

Will there be split classes – possibly was what trustees learned earlier this week.  They were assured that there would not be any three different grades in a single classroom.

Where is the wiggle room for parents who have not yet made up their minds or who want to change their minds.

Parents can change their minds: The last day to switch between in-person and virtual learning is Tuesday, September 8. You must call the school and advise the principal.

Every school goes through a bit of a re-organization during the second half of September – there is sometimes a need to move students around to balance the load.

The opportunity to change a delivery model (i.e., in-person, virtual) will be: November 30 or end of Term 1 (mid-February).

For Secondary students (Grade 9 – 12) the time to change delivery model (i.e., in person, virtual) will be aligned with the end of quadmesters: November 12 or February 5.

School office staff will follow up with every family who has not completed the survey as the survey requires parents/guardians to complete the Self-Assessment Acknowledgement form (part of the survey).

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School bus challenges - the service will be stretched to the limit

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

School buses and Covid-19 are just one more worry for parents.

Sitting together on a school bus makes social distancing almost a silly idea.

School buses

Will the school boards be able to set up bus routes that cope with the need to keep students in their cohort everywhere possible – and will they be able to service every family?

The school board administration, in a partnership they have with the Catholic school board, run the school bus service using rented vehicles.

The routes will be quite a bit different and the students will be organized as cohorts – they will ride the bus with the students they are in a classroom with.

It is a logistical challenge and at this point the Board administration is not certain that they will be able to provide service to every household.

There will be no school bus service for the elementary students who will be at school on either Thursday or Friday of next week for their dry run at what a school day is going to look like.

Parents might want to think of ride sharing – and figuring out how to work within cohorts.

That phrase – we are all in this together – will take on much more meaning in the weeks ahead.

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Dry run for elementary students Thursday and Friday of next week

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

Halton District School Board Elementary students will get to do a dry run on returning to school next week – the “letting students experience” a return to classroom takes place on Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th.

Those students with family names that begin with A through to those whose family name begins with L will go to their school on Thursday the 10th.

student being hand sanitized

The Halton District School Board has a secure supply of PPE

They will be met at the school door, have their hands sanitized and get a face mask test to ensure the thing is being worn correctly.

Then they are taken to their class and given instruction on how school will operate for the foreseeable future.

Parents will not be allowed to enter the school.

On Friday, those students with family names that begin with M through to the end of the alphabet, will go through the same routine.

There will be no curriculum taught on those days.

Nor will there be school bus service to the schools.

Director of Education Stuart Miller asked parents to be patient and careful as they approach the school entrance.

desk spacing

Classroom spacing will be different. No passing notes from desk to desk.

The focus will be to teach them the importance of staying within their cohort and “exposing them to the new reality”.

The Board is working at making video material available to parents so they can prep their children for these introductory sessions.

outdoor exercise

Teachers are encouraged to get students outside as much as possible and to ensure that they stay within their cohort.

There will be washroom rules, recess rules, lunch rules and exercise outdoors rules.

Walking around the school will not be what it was when they left school in March. There will be direction markers along the hallways.

Intent to Return Survey

Parents/guardians (and students 18+) were asked to complete the Intent to Return survey by Aug. 23.  If you have not completed the survey, or if you have completed the survey and would like to change your response(s), please contact the main office at your child’s school. The last day to switch between in-person and virtual learning is Tuesday, Sept. 8.

 

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Tents as classrooms - not in Halton

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

September 4th, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Remember that idea of holding classes outdoors? Some people were thinking year round outdoor classes.

It didn’t get very far at the Trustee meeting this week.

tent classroom

School Board administration found all kinds of reasons for killing the idea of using tents as classrooms.

Trustee Chair Andrea Grebenc raised the thoughts about fundraising for tents that would be used for outdoor classrooms.

They didn’t get very far.

In order to be at all useful – the tent would have to be quite big.

What would go into the tent? And who would be responsible for the cleaning and safety of whatever was placed in the tent?

There would be some vandalism.

In order to put a tent in place the Board would have to get a permit from the city – just the way they have to with portable classrooms.
Insurance and liability issues also had to be figured out.

The killer issue was that parents cannot fundraise for anything related to student accommodation.

That idea was off the table.

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The heart of the Rib Fest is a fund raiser - they have raised $4.5 million and are still at it

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

They are referred to as service organizations. Lions, Optimists, Rotary – and several others.

They are clubs whose membership gets together to do things for the community they live in. Some are international organizations.

Burlington has four different Rotary clubs.

Twenty five years ago John Thorpe and Bob Penning came up with the idea of bringing a Rib Fest to Burlington. The two had seen several in the United States and thought it might work in Burlington.

The growth of the Rib Fest was phenomenal – there are now Rib Fests across the country – but there is only one CLR – that stands for Canada’s Largest Rib Fest – and large it is.

When Covid-19 knocked everything off the calendar – Thorpe and Pennington kept hoping that the province would open things up in time for them to hold their 25th annual event.
“When we learned that CNE was cancelled we were toast – we had to put away all the hopes” said Thorpe.

These two don’t give up very easily. They came up with the idea of holding a smaller event – made it a Drive-Thru and convinced the people at Burlington Centre to let them use the parking lot for Canada Day.

If you looked around there was still some sitting room. The weather was close to perfect and the music was good - great way to bring a summer to a close.

If you looked around there was still some sitting room. The weather was close to perfect and the music was good – great way to bring a summer to a close – that was in 2017

Close to 3,000 cars later and a lot of cash in hand – they didn’t rest on their laurels – they wondered – could they do it again on Labour Day.

They can and they are going to.

The Rotary promotional people got into gear and everyone had something to say.

The public is invited to stop by the Burlington Centre parking lot, at 777 Guelph Line from 10am to 7pm to experience the fun and flavour of Canada’s Largest Ribfest in a safe, socially-distant way.

Map Sept 2020

Looks like an obstacle course – it’s the only way to get great ribs on Labour Day.

“We are excited to keep our Labour Day tradition of delivering delicious ribs & fantastic entertainment live during these challenging times” says Brent Paszt, a Past President of Rotary Burlington Lakeshore, and Co-Chair of Canada’s Largest Ribfest. “While the event may look different from what we are all used to seeing, you can still expect award-winning BBQ Teams to be on hand serving the ribs, pulled pork, and chicken that guests have come to expect from Ribfest” added Jay Bridle, Canada’s Largest Ribfest Co-Chair.

“Canceling our annual long weekend event that attracts upwards of 175,000 guests was a huge disappointment and really impacted our ability to support those charities and individuals who need it most, now more than ever” says Rotary Burlington Lakeshore President, Jay Thomblison; “Proceeds from this event, along with those generated from our successful inaugural Canada Day Drive-Thru, will enable us to continue that support”.

Rib Fest - Thorpe and Penning

John Thorpe and Bob Penning – brought the Rib Fest to Burlington 24 years ago – this was to be the 25th anniversary.

Guests are asked to enter Burlington Centre from the Fairview Street entrance and to remain in their vehicles for the duration of their visit. Food vendors will take orders and payment (cards preferred) and will deliver each completed order to your vehicle. Gloves and masks will be worn by all staff, vendors, and volunteers.

The four award-winning rib teams in attendance will include Camp 31 BBQ, Billy Bones BBQ, Pistol Pete’s Smokehouse, and Silver Bullet BBQ. There will also be food offerings from East Side Mario’s and Blaze Pizza, Twisted Tomato, Tiny Tom Donuts, and Ontario Corn Roasters, ensuring that there’s something for the entire family. The event will also include live music for guests to enjoy while they wait in the comfort and safety of their vehicles.

Over the course of 24 years, Canada’s Largest Ribfest, a fundraising initiative of Rotary Burlington Lakeshore, has raised over $4.5 million for local, national, and international charities.

Where does all that money go? Rotary has a scholarship program that really helps a lot of graduating high school students get to college or university.

And the community sees a lot of that money work its way into the small organizations that makes Burlington the city it is.

Where money goes

Some of the organizations in Burlington that have received financial support from the Lakeshore Rotary.

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Class sizes for the Halton Public School Board - below what most of the other boards in the province have been able to achieve.

News 100 yellow

By Pepper Parr

September 3rd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Wednesday evening the Halton District School Board met – it was another long meeting.

No more desks set out in neat rows. The classroom furniture is now such that students can sit by themselves or in groups of two or three - up to eight. The objective was to create situations where the students learn to work as groups and to collaborate on a problem - question or assignment.

The number of students in the elementary classes is low – not the 15 many parents would like but nowhere near the 30 that was feared.

The fear that the school board would be jamming as many as 30 children into the elementary classes is unfounded

There are 244 kindergarten classes in the Halton Region. The regular class size in the past has been as many as 29 students. The average for the kindergarten classes starting September 14th will be 20 students.

In the primary grades 1 to 3 there are 450 classes in the Region. 90% of those classes must be capped at 20. There are 16 classesthat have more than 20 students.. The average is 18 ½ in each class.

The Junior Intermediate level there are 809 classes in the Region. The Board is funded for 24 ½ students. The average for the Junior Intermediate is 22.6

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Director of Education: 'these students are our responsibility – my responsibility when they are on school property'

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 2nd, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

There is still a lot of confusion on the part of parents as well as many of the teachers.

But come Tuesday of next week you will be taking your young ones to school – assuming you didn’t opt out for a virtual classroom.

Your job as a parent begins today: students – especially younger ones will need help in coping with the really big change that will take place at every school.

Parent talking covid

Explain to your child what will be different when they return to school – and why things are going to be different.

The Halton Board of Education will be meeting this evening; we will report on what we learn – expect updates on a number of issues.

Let’s stick with the bricks and mortar structure. There will be one door to enter and a different door to leave the building.

Don’t have the child take very much to school the first day – the rules on what elementary students can bring to school will be set out for them by a teacher who will be dressed in full PPE – which might be a little startling for the student.

There will be a lot of rules and as a parent you can do a lot of the prep work in the next handful of days.

Take your younger children to places where there are markers on the floor and explain what they mean and why they are in place.

Explain why they have to wear a mask and why they can only play with the friends in their class.

And that they can’t get too close to those friends.

social circles graphic

Explain what social circles are and how that might limit who your child can actually play with.

The job for parents of early elementary children:

• Tighten up social circles
• Practice physical distancing
• Follow good hand hygiene and respiratory
etiquette
• Wear face coverings in indoor public places and when physical distancing cannot be maintained
• Explain to the child that at some point what that means.

Miller with students Mar 7-17

Director of Education Stuart Miller sees himself as personally responsible for every student in the HDSB

Schools are doing their best to keep parents fully informed – the difficulty is that the rules change – sometimes by the hour.

The Board of Education has to listen to what the Halton Region Public Health Units requires and follow the dictates of the province.

Halton District School Board Director of Education sets out just what he has to deal with – “everything is fluid and dynamic”. “We have to be smart, be focused and realize these students are our responsibility – my responsibility when they are on school property.”

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More this time than there was on Canada Day - Rotarians do it right - once again. Rib Fest on Labour Day at Burlington Centre

eventsred 100x100By Staff

September 1, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Mark your calendar and get ready for a fine feed of not only finger ‘lickin’ good Ribs but you can pick up a bag of donuts and some fresh corn at the Burlington Lakeshore Rotary annual Rib Fest that takes place Monday September 7th,  (Labour Day) at the Burlington Centre parking lot.

Couple of differences this time –

The entrance will be off Fairview – west of Guelph Line. There will be all kinds of signage,

The map set out below shows the route you will be taking once you are on the property.

Map Sept 2020

Looks a little daunting – fear not the rate at which the traffic moves will ensure that you are not sitting in your car very long and there will be all kind of ushers to guide you.

Opens at 10 – runs until 7.

Last years just shy of 3,000 cars came through the parking lot.

You’re not allowed to get out of your vehicle – you won’t have to – everyone will come to you.

Just have your credit card at hand and you will find yourself on the way home with the sweet smell of those ribs with a side order of corn and some of those tiny donuts to leave you ‘feelin’ fine.  They accept cash, debit, and credit, but payment by card is preferred.

What’s on the menu?  Four ribbers to choose from.

rice list 1

price list 2

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Medical Officer of Health doesn't make the rules - she interprets and enforces them

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

September 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Dr. Hamidah K. Meghani told the several thousand people who logged into the Virtual Town Hall last week: “We’re here for you!”

Dr Meghani is a Commissioner with the Region of Halton and the Medical Office of Health.

She is a parent with children; has called Oakville home for more than seven years.

HM Big smile

Dr. Hamidah K. Meghani is a Commissioner with the Region of Halton and the Medical Office of Health.

Born in India, Meghani’s family immigrated to Canada when she was a child. She said she remembers seeing the impact of poverty on people in India and learning from her parents the importance of helping those in need. She credits these early experiences with helping to guide her to a career in public health.

She completed a Masters of Public Health in Family and Reproductive Health at Columbia University in New York City.  She is a certified family physician, has completed training in public health and preventative medicine and is a Fellow with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

During much of 2011, Meghani interned at Halton Region under former MOH Dr. Bob Nosal, who she succeeded after his 25 years in the role.

 She was previously an Associate Medical Officer of Health in Hamilton,

The incoming MOH earned her medical degree from McMaster University in 2007 and did her residency at the University of Toronto, spending two years at St. Michael’s Hospital.

The pandemic we are dealing with is what she spends every waking hour of every day focused on.

It is not the job she thought she had when she was hired from the city of Hamilton a number of years ago – but it is the job she has learned to do and at this point is doing as well as anyone can expect.

The Regional Councillors can’t lay enough praise at the woman’s feet.

The public, especially parents with children in school, aren’t quite as positive. They are anxious and at some levels confused.

Meghani doesn’t make the rules. Her job is to interpret the rules to the best of her ability and do her level best to ensure that the public is safe.

When the province imposed a lock down on everyone and the public health units began to get reports of people infected with the Covid-19 virus the Public Health Unit had to find or create resources to meet the challenge.

On balance the Region of Halton has been spared when looked at on a per capita basis.

The geography helps – we don’t have any pockets of dense population and few people were going to their offices.

That is expected to change when students are back in school and parents begin to go back to their offices.

There was a tragic outburst at a long term care home in Halton Hills where 11 lives were lost. That location was a private operation with a solid reputation.

Hamida + in HAmilton event.

One of the first public briefings Dr. Meghani took part in was a learning experience. She grew into that part of the job – but prefers to work at a distance (this was her mode of operation well before Covid-19) Here she supports Hamilton Health Sciences physician-in-chief Dr. Barry Lumb provides details after an oncologist at Juravinski Cancer Centre has tested positive for coronavirus. |

Halton has four long term care homes run by the Region – there has not been one reported infection at any of the four locations – someone was doing something right.

The major early challenge for the Public Health units was learning how to quickly identify those thought to be infected and have them tested. In the early stages that at times took days and then a few more days to get the results back.

At that point any attempt to trace where the infection may have come from was close to wasted time.

It was several months before the Public Health Unit could get its hands on software that would allow almost instant tracking.

Today when a person is identified as infected the Public Health Unit is able to reach out and be in touch with every person the infected individual might have been with or near.

There is now a team in place that is on top of the tracking that has to be done.

Meghani’s current challenge is to assuage the concerns of parents and convince them that the safest place for their children is in a classroom.

While the numbers are decent – said to be at the 80% level – there are communities in the province where the response is above the 90% level.

The Board has yet to – and probably won’t – release accurate numbers. Their job is to get every child who is normally healthy into a classroom.

Meghani’s job is to help convince those parents that their children will be safe. And that if there is an outbreak in a school there are protocols and procedures in place to ensure that any hot spot is quickly and effectively isolated.

Meghani told the Virtual Town Hall that she and her team have “ been working together with the board at every step of the way through this planning process and we’re confident that we will be able to provide a safe and productive learning environment for students and staff.”

Parent talking covid

Explaining Covid and its implications to your children is a lot easier than the sex ed conversation you had.

She asked parents to: “Think about your child’s needs”

Does your child have:
• Special learning needs?
• Any medical conditions that may make them prone to severe disease if they get COVID-19?

Talk with your child’s doctor to discuss the risks.

So far, she explained, most children infected with the virus experience mild symptoms.

• Fever
• Cough
• Runny Nose
• Sore Throat
• Headache
• Body Ache
• Diarrhea

Many children have mild or no symptoms. Additionally, children account for a small number of COVID-19 cases overall.

Think about the people with whom you live

Most people will develop minor symptoms and recover on their own.
The risk of severe illness and outcomes is higher for those who are over 70, or who have chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or cancer.

Every family is unique

Decisions around heading back to school will be different for every family depending on:
• their child’s academic needs
• whether their child or household members are at increased risk of severe illness
• the family’s unique situation

The role of Public Health

Setting out what the role of Public Health is during a pandemic should really be: we do what has to be done when it needs to be done and prepare as well as we can for something that is new to everyone.

Work with the school board to ensure measures are in place to protect our students:

• active daily screening
• no mixing of cohorts (or classes) in the elementary years
• ensuring children understand how to properly wear face coverings or masks
• enhanced hand hygiene and cleaning

covid virus

An illustration of what the covid19 virus is believed to look like

Support development of safe school reopening plans

Provide recommendations and resources to help school boards and private schools develop policies and procedures, adhere to infection prevention and control practices and plan measures to ensure the health and safety of staff, students, parents/guardians and visitors.

• Support training and educational opportunities
• Develop processes and protocols for managing sick students and staff
• Develop guidance around managing a confirmed case and an outbreak
• Ensure schools have child-friendly resources that support healthy behaviours.

The biggest tool we have working for us is our own individual behaviour.  Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently and maintain a safe social distance.  That little bugger of a virus wants to jump all over you.

If you want to know more about just how the virus does what it does – check out the link below.  If your high school student child has an interest in science – pass it on.

How the virus gets inside you.

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We now know what the final part of the downtown section of the Elgin Promenade is going to look like

News 100 greenBy Staff

September 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Our Mayor reports that: “As work continues to create an engaging and pedestrian-friendly link between Martha Street and Brant Street, building a walkable and vibrant connection between the multi-use path (Centennial Bikeway) and our downtown core, the vote is in for the concept that will be used between Martha and Pearl Street.

“Our community took the time to vote and make their voices heard between July 27 and August 17 – and Concept 2 was the winner!

Construction on this section is slated to begin in the Spring of 2021.

There was no mention on how the vote worked – not any mention as to just how many people actually took part in the vote.

No mention either as to what the cost will be.

We can tell you that when completed the Promenade will allow a person to walk or cycle from the Oakville border to the border with Hamilton.  And lots to see along the way.

Elgin promenade final stretch

How many people voted for this and what is it going to cost ?

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Grandparents now find they have a new, much appreciated role.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

September 1st, 2020

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Grandparents are suddenly in demand.  They are going to have the grandchildren closer to them that they have for some time.

Many parents have turned to their parents for support.

However, there are some grandparents, for a whole host of reasons, don’t get to see the grandchildren for that precious “face time”.  The Canadian Association of Retired People has put together a list that can help grandparents establish a stronger relationship with children they aren’t able to see as much as they would like to.

grandfather boy tablet

Is that boy teaching his grandfather to use that big tablet?

Learn to use Facetime or Skype on your phone or computer so you can watch a show or movie on one while video chatting on the other simultaneously.

Set up specific times to visit online so your grandchildren have those to look forward to—kids like and need structure in these “covid-irregular” times.

Do simple fitness activities like chair yoga, stretches, walking on the spot etc. together, electronically.

Schedule shows, movies and other programs you will watch together and chat about, e.g. start watching a TV show or movie at the same time and chat on another device while watching, or after, so it’s a shared experience. If you only have phone access, watch the movie or TV ahead of time and then discuss.

Help your grandchildren write fun letters and take photos to send to other relatives.

Read a book to them over the phone or online.

grandparent - boy ballons

Who is wearing the biggest smile – and who made the bslloon set up?

Ask them to make collections (such as similar toys, or old photos or other household handy items) as a sort of a Treasure Hunt.

Download books for a virtual age-appropriate book club discussion.

Listen to music with them and have them explain their music preferences to you.

If they are older, ask them to do errands like shopping for you (if they are nearby). Make them feel wanted and useful.

Show an interest and help with their school work.

Ask about and discuss their world of sports, e.g. what they are missing and how they think their favourite sports will rebound when the pandemic is under control.

Send your grandchildren a parcel every other week. You could include a craft to be done together with a parent, some ‘homework ‘ fun pages, homemade cookies, etc. Never send them the same day; keep them wondering when it will arrive and don’t tell when or what is in it.

Share recipes by texting pictures back and forth of what you have created. Make it a fun contest on baking/cooking a variety of different things.

Write down a favourite made-up story and share it as you would a book. Works for both kids and grandparents who have been in the habit of making up stories.

Watch the online kitchen parties that are full of singing and dancing together and showing support for front-line workers and support staff.

Watch them together by telephone or online.

grandparents - child running

A scene that was repeated several million times when the lock in came to an end.

A close colleague with strong views on social distancing has decided that he and his wife will home school their two grandchildren.  They live in a rural setting where there are all kinds of things that can be done outside.

Both have experience teaching – something they acquired when they travelled the world and were able to spend some time with children in different countries.  He taught younger people how to play a guitar and then left the one he brought with them as a gift.

She is an artist and worked with the younger people helping them write a short book and then illustrate it.  It was a chance to teach English and Art at the same time.

We will look in on these two once classes actually start.

 

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