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Recently, Education Minister Rob Fleming outlined a five-stage plan to slowly return to in-class learning across BC. The province is currently in stage four, and Fleming said he hoped to move to stage three, part-time in-class learning, by June.

Last night, SD58 Superintendent Steve McNiven made a presentation to the school board regarding the next steps in bringing local students back into classrooms.

“We have asked our teachers, educational assistants, first nation support workers, and strong start coordinators to return to work starting (today), in preparation for a partial return to face-to-face learning starting June 1,” said McNiven.

The District is still working out, in partnership with the Ministry, the exact plan for how often students will be school under stage three.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure it’s going to look like 50 per cent for K-5, 20 per cent for 6 or 7, those are some of the target areas that we’re going to be talking with our staff about,” added McNiven.

The District will be sending a plan to the Ministry in the coming weeks outlining the exact amount that students will be in schools.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Education has stated that parents can choose to keep their kids at home come June 1, online education will still be utilized moving forward.

During the pandemic, the schools have been providing limited in-class instruction to students of essential workers. McNiven also mentioned that the district is planning to expand its essential service worker spaces next week to 60-90 seats to accommodate phase two of BC’s reopening plan.


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- Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, and Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.'s provincial health officer, have issued the following joint statement regarding updates on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response in British Columbia:

"Today, we are reporting 16 new cases, for a total of 2,376 cases in British Columbia.

"There are 385 active cases of COVID-19 in the province, and 1,859 people who tested positive have recovered.

"Of the total COVID-19 cases, 59 individuals are hospitalized, 14 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people with COVID-19 are recovering at home in self-isolation.

"Every health region in British Columbia has patients with COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 877 in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 1,137 in the Fraser Health region, 125 in the Island Health region, 180 in the Interior Health region and 57 in the Northern Health region.

"We are saddened to report one new COVID-19 related death in the Fraser Health region, for a total of 132 deaths in British Columbia. We offer our condolences to the family, friends and caregivers of this individual, and to everyone who has lost their loved ones.

"There have been no new long-term care or assisted-living facility outbreaks. In total, 15 facilities and five acute-care units have active cases.


Dr. Bonnie Henry has provided the latest figures of COVID-19 in BC.

(Previous numbers in brackets)

New Cases – 16

Total Cases – 2,376 (2,360)

Patients in Hospital – 59 (63)

Patients in ICU – 14 (16)

Recovered – 1,859 (1,832)

New Deaths – 1

Totals Deaths – 132 (131)

Health region breakdown;

Vancouver Coastal – 877 (874)

Fraser – 1,137 (1,124)

Island – 125 (125)

Interior – 180 (180)

Northern – 57 (57)

More to come.


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As B.C. moves toward its new normal, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, is extending the provincial state of emergency to support continued co-ordination of the pandemic response.

"Because of our determination and sacrifices over the past months, we're now in a position to carefully move toward the next chapter in our response to COVID-19, but we must not lose sight of the challenges that are ahead," said Premier John Horgan. "At each and every step forward, your government will continue in its commitment to keep our communities safe and support people through this difficult time."

Government recently announced BC's Restart Plan, laying out a series of steps and principles that everyone in B.C. will take together to protect people and ensure that the province can come back from COVID-19 stronger than before.

"As we look forward to increasing our social and economic activity in B.C., we must remember that the fight against COVID-19 is far from over," said Farnworth. "Our province continues to be in a state of emergency, and we will continue in our co-ordinated response to keep people safe, support our health-care system and ensure our supply chains are secure."

The current state of emergency is being extended through the end of the day on May 26, 2020.


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Interior Health 2

Beginning May 19, Interior Health (IH) will resume elective surgeries that were postponed due to COVID-19.

While the pandemic continues to evolve, IH is collaborating with the Ministry of Health to safely resume elective surgeries to support access for patients, both on waitlists and yet to be added. Throughout the resumption of services, our priority is to minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

Interior Health is calling patients to confirm their health status and if they are able and willing to move forward with surgery. We recognize that some individuals may wish to continue to postpone their surgery at this time. Those who choose not to proceed with their surgeries immediately will hold their spot on the waitlist.

In an effort to support as many people as possible, Interior Health will also maximize our ability to provide minor procedures that do not require an operating room, as well as day surgeries that do not require overnight stays in hospital.

Urgent, emergent, and oncology-related surgeries were not impacted by the pause in surgery and will continue as priority cases.

To minimize the risk of transmission of COVID-19 for patients, staff, and physicians, a number of measures will be implemented as part of the surgical process:

  • When possible, patients will be assessed through a virtual pre-admission clinic by video conference or telephone prior to surgery.
  • Consistent screening tools and risk assessment guidelines will be used.
  • Patients will be assessed 24-72 hours prior to surgery and upon arrival the day of surgery.
  • Surgeries will be scheduled with time to accommodate additional cleaning and infection control measures.

Patients will be rescheduled based on priority.


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city merritt council

Last night, Merritt City Council held a virtual council meeting. On the agenda was a motion to approve a change to the fee structure at the Claybanks RV Park.

Council had debated the motion two weeks ago during the last council meeting and already approved the first three readings of the change.

It was stated that the fees had not been reviewed in approximately seven years.

Claybanks uses a two-season schedule with higher rates being charged during ‘high season’. Currently ‘high season’ is only July and August, the proposed changes would see it extended to run from May to September.

The rates are also being increased to a level comparable with RV parks in the region.

The change was approved by a unanimous vote.


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