Roundup: COVID count dips, spending $14.3M on school safety, StFX students cited for flouting health rules, young musicians silenced, home is where the art is

Dr. Robert Strang. Photo: CNS

With 32 recoveries and 17 new cases tallied in the latest government update, Nova Scotia’s number of known COVID-19 cases dipped to 127 yesterday.

Health officials say 16 of the new cases are in Central Zone, including a case at St. Margaret’s Bay Elementary school originally announced on Dec. 1. The other case is in Northern Zone, related to travel outside Atlantic Canada.

“Our case numbers have remained relatively low these past few days,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, in a press release. “This does not mean that we can ignore the restrictions that are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Everyone needs to do their part: wear a mask, adhere to the gathering limits, practise social distancing, wash your hands, and avoid non-essential travel in and out of the Halifax area.”

Nova Scotia Health Authority labs did 3,295 COVID tests on Dec. 1. Yesterday there were 247 tests at a rapid-testing pop-up site in Halifax and 453 in Wolfville. There was one positive test at the Wolfville site.

Zach Churchill

Spending on school safety
Education minister Zach Churchill announced yesterday that the provincial government is spending $14.3 million from the federal Safe Return to Class fund on food programs, math and literacy programs, personal protective equipment for staff and students, and other efforts to make schools safer.

“COVID-19 has pushed us to find new ways to keep our students learning in safe, supportive environments,” Churchill says in a press release. “This funding helps our students and staff this year, but also leaves a lasting legacy.”

StFX students cited for flouting health rules
St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish is one of the few post-secondary Nova Scotian schools holding mostly in-person classes during the pandemic and efforts to get students to follow health rules have yielded mixed results.

Elizabeth Yeo

From Aug. 15–Oct. 8, school officials issued 124 reprimands to students for not following health rules. “Penalties… range from disciplinary probation, community service, right up to four university suspensions,” says vice-president Elizabeth Yeo. “We were really focused on education: reinforcing the importance of provincial health protocols and emphasizing a concern for our community.”

Drake Lowthers has the story for The Reporter.

Music students silenced
As the school year proceeds with pandemic precautions, some music students are worried that the rules against singing are robbing them of the chance to learn and develop.

“Vocalists agreed to do whatever it takes to get our choirs and possible our musical back up and running,” says Grade 12 student Campbell Hayman. “We would wear special singing masks and distance to keep everyone around us safe… Sports are allowed to return pretty much as normal [outside HRM], but us choir kids aren’t allowed to return to even a modified program.”

See the story in The Pictou Advocate.

Truth is the first casualty
When the Halifax Explosion devastated the city in 1917, newspapers around the world raced to share news of the tragedy. In their haste, they made many errors: dramatically under (or over) estimating the casualties, repeating rumours of nefarious plots (that have since been thoroughly debunked but are still widely believed), and even misidentifying the ships involved.

Surveying the errors is a fascinating historical exercise. “Despite, or perhaps because of, their factual errors, these newspaper reports are valuable historical records: they capture a real-time reaction—the shock, anguish, and confusion that gripped Halifax after the disaster,” writes Katie Ingram. See her November 2015 story in the free Halifax Magazine archives.

Home is where the art is
Ontarians Goldie and Denise Cranston weren’t planning to buy a home when they visited Lunenburg, but a unique house captured their hearts.

Within minutes, they made an impulse purchase. Well preserved and architecturally distinct, the “Tower House” is a fascinating story on its own; equally remarkable is the extensive art collection that now dwells within.

Toller Cranston was Goldie’s brother. Best known as a champion figure skater, Toller was also a talented artist. When he died, he left Goldie his extensive collection. “When people come to the house, they’re not expecting this at all,” Goldie says. “They’re all large format. They’re very colourful, in-your-face kind of paintings.”

See Janet Whitman’s story in the latest issue of East Coast Living.

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This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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