registration open now for connectedness coaching
With COVID-19, social isolation has become more widespread. To address this need Gateway is helping to build resiliency in Huron County by offering a series of free educational opportunities (e-learning course and webinars) aimed at community members who are interested in learning more about peer support, coaching conversations and system navigation. Gateway is also inviting local agencies to participate and attend these events to complement their invaluable work in the community. The intention of these opportunities is to inspire dialogues aimed at reducing the social isolation experienced by at-risk community members. With the help of Gateway’s 2021 students, they are excited to launch this innovative program.
“Our amazing student team offers a diverse set of skills, talents and perspectives that greatly enhance our Connectedness Coaching resources. We are grateful to have harnessed their energy and commitment for this type of social change initiative,” said Project Lead Sheila Schuehlein.
The student roles include an Inclusivity Lead, E-Learning Mentor, Recruitment Lead, and System Navigation Lead.
“As the Inclusivity Lead, I have been involved with creating the inclusivity module for participants involved in Connectedness Coaching. By developing this module, I hope that those involved in the program will be able to bring a more intersectional and equitable lens to the work that they do,” said Sana, Connectedness Coaching’s Inclusivity Lead.
The Connectedness Coaching E-Learning Mentor, Brie, shares her hopes for the new program, “working on the Connectedness Coaching project has allowed me to learn about online platforms that I had not previously used as well as some basics of website design. As the project develops, I am looking forward to receiving feedback from participants and hearing about how the project helped them build more resilient communities.”
The Connectedness Coaching Recruitment Lead, Lavinia is “…working on the recruitment aspect of this project as well as the Gallery of Inspiration (a stakeholder engagement opportunity). As the project develops (she) looks forward to seeing how everything comes together.”
Finally, the Connectedness Coaching System Navigation Lead, Nicolas shares “…I have had the honor of working on the Systems Navigation videos, providing new ideas for recruitment and evaluation of our programs, and starting a social media campaign. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of the results of these fantastic programs to see what impact this has had on people and …assess how we can continue to improve (the Connectedness Coaching program) for individuals.”
Feedback from the recently piloted six-hour e-learning course found “…the course to be very insightful and applicable! I will definitely be applying many of the concepts taught in the (Connectedness Coaching) course, and for that reason, I know this will be an amazing resource for countless people going forward…Glad I could be part of this.”
The Connected Coaching Program consists of three components. The first is the e-Learning course that contains six modules, at approximately one-hour each; a Connectedness Coaching toolbox and supplemental resources to empower resilient communities. The second is the Connectedness Coaching webinar which addresses knowledge gaps e-learners have as it relates to the content covered and provides an opportunity to engage with fellow learners. Finally, there is the Gallery for Inspiration, which is a freely accessible virtual space to inspire community members to invest in their community during these difficult times so as to generate ideas and inspire action.
For more information on Connectedness Coaching and to register for the program please go to www.gatewayruralhealth.ca/connectedness-coaching.html
INPUT REQUESTED FOR PROPOSED SHORELINE POLICY CHANGES
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Board of Directors invites the public to provide written comments on some proposed shoreline policy changes related to shore protection structures in regulated dynamic beach areas. The proposed policy changes do not apply to all shoreline areas but only beaches classified as dynamic.
The loss and buildup of sand is a natural part of the shoreline process in a dynamic beach area but recent high lake levels have made the loss of sand more pronounced. In areas where some landowners have previously existing shore protection structures, some neighboring landowners have also requested permits. The proposed policy changes are, in part, a response to this, to make it possible to consider approval of shore protection structures for those property owners in those areas.
“Policies in bluff areas do not change and most policies in dynamic beach areas stay exactly the same,” said ABCA Water and Planning Manager, Geoffrey Cade. “The only changes are to policies related to new shore protection structures, and maintenance or replacement of old ones, in regulated dynamic beach areas.”
The ABCA Board of Directors has approved release of the proposed policies to the public for written comments prior to consideration for approval. ABCA is receiving public written comments on the proposed changes until Friday, March 5. To review the proposed policy changes, and to provide written comments, visit abca.ca and this web page link: www.abca.ca/planning/shoreline-2021/
Conservation educators offer lunch hour series for students
Conservation educators at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) continue to offer support to the watershed community though new learning opportunities. Two new online synchronous (when there is live interaction between ABCA educators and students) learning programs are available for watershed teachers.
The Species at Risk program teaches students about local species at risk, including turtles, mussels and fish, found in the Ausable River.
The second program, Wonderful Wetlands, focuses on the at-risk habitat of wetlands. Additional support for teachers is found on ABCA’s website, abca.ca, which has a teacher’s resources section with printables, lesson plans and educational website links.
During the provincial stay-at-home order, people can watch ABCA conservation educators live through a series of free “Lunch and Learn with ABCA” presentations. ABCA will broadcast from noon to 12:30 p.m. Registration information is available on the website at www.abca.ca/education/, via Facebook at Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority @WaterSoilLivingThings, and through Eventbrite.ca.
One scheduled session remains, Water and Wetlands (geared to students K-3). to be held on Friday, Feb. 12.
“Conservation educator Nina Sampson and myself are available to chat and we are keen to help teachers or parents in any way we can,” said Denise Iszczuk, conservation educator. “Step one to learning about nature is to plan time to get outside every day.”
The winter sessions of in-person, outdoor education programs including Oaks & Acorns; Coyotes & Pups; Muskrats; and Outdoor School are cancelled. ABCA will issue full refunds to all registered participants.
Spring sessions of Oaks and Acorns; Coyotes & Pups; Muskrats; and Outdoor School will begin in March and when it is safe to do so according to direction from the Province of Ontario and public health authorities. Registration is now open for the spring sessions of these programs at abca.ca.
Anyone who would like to chat with educators about these programs, please call 519 235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610, Ext. 255 or 262.
The Huron Perth Public Health website is updated regularly with confirmed case counts received.
“Our online case reporting is not a real-time tool but is meant to keep the community informed on trends we are seeing,” explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Miriam Klassen.
For the latest statistics on COVID-19 cases in Huron and Perth Counties please visit: www.hpph.ca
Conservationist of the Year
Do you know a person, business, farm, community group, or organization doing work that protects water, soil, and habitat for living things in Ausable Bayfield watersheds? If so, you are invited to nominate them for the Conservationist of the Year Award.
Award nominations may be submitted until Feb. 24.
“The year 2021 is the 75th anniversary of our conservation authority and, on this special year, we are proud to once again present this award,” said Doug Cook, chair of the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Board of Directors. “This is just one way we can say ‘thank you’ to some of our participating local stewards who help to protect your water and soil resources and to improve forest and wetland conditions.”
To submit a nomination, visit abca.ca for the nomination form and award information. The nomination form is found on this web page link: www.abca.ca/community
People may also email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ABCA has recognized outstanding achievements in conservation, each year since 1984, with conservation awards. Past award winners have included rural landowners and residents, agricultural producers and farms, service clubs, community organizations, companies, nature groups and municipalities.
Funding for Schools
Local MPP Lisa Thompson has announced that Ontario is providing more than $27 million in COVID-19 support areas for the four school boards in her riding.
This funding comes from an additional $381 million investment provided by the federal Safe Return to Class Fund. Although transmission in schools has been low, this funding will be used to improve air quality and ventilation in schools, support online learning, promote student mental health and hire more staff.
“We all want our children to return to in-person education, as soon and as safely as possible,” Thompson said. “These funds will help obtain that objective as we continue to work through the pandemic.”
Monies allocated in Huron-Bruce for COVID-19 relief and technical devices include:
Bluewater District School Board, $10.37 million; Bruce-Grey Catholic District School Board, $3.85 million; Avon-Maitland District School Board, $9.47 million; and Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board, $4.05 million.
With this additional funding, Ontario is providing more than $1.6 billion across the province to better protect students, staff and families.
As more students return to in-person learning, Ontario, on the best advice of experts, is introducing additional measures to further protect students and staff, including:
· Province-wide access to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff, using a combination of lab-processed PCR and rapid antigen tests;
· Mandatory masking for students in Grades 1-3, including outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
· Enhanced screening of secondary students and staff.
· New guidance discouraging students from congregating before and after school.
· Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels, following high levels of absenteeism.
“To protect Ontario students and staff, and with the aim of reopening all schools, we have again strengthened our plan with tougher measures and new investments,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “We agree with parents and medical experts that kids need to be learning in class – alongside their friends and teachers – as it is crucial for their mental well-being and development. We will continue to follow expert medical advice and work to get all schools open, for children in all regions of our province.”
Ontario’s plan to safely reopen schools draws on the advice of leading health experts and the best available data. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and leading medical and scientific experts, including the Hospital for Sick Children, support the safe return to in-person learning for students and staff and are encouraged by Ontario’s experience in safely reopening schools in September. This was evidenced in the data on COVID-19 cases in schools during the Fall, at a time of lower community transmission.
Targeted asymptomatic testing has helped to identify cases early, inform public health action, and manage outbreaks. Expanding access to targeted asymptomatic testing will be a valuable tool for local public health units and schools. To support the expansion of targeted asymptomatic testing, the Ministry of Education has procured test collection capacity for up to 50,000 tests per week, to be deployed at the discretion of local public health units in collaboration with schools.
To address labour needs and high rates of staff absenteeism, the Ministry of Education has worked with the Ontario College of Teachers to introduce a new temporary certificate to help stabilize staffing levels in schools. This will allow school boards to employ eligible teacher candidates when there are no occasional teachers available from their current lists. With this important change, they are helping schools with operational challenges to remain open. This decision underscores the shortage of available certified teachers in the province, following the hiring of over 3,400 net new temporary teaching positions.
To date, Ontario has supported: the hiring of 3,400 teachers (with an additional 800 projected to be hired); the hiring of 1,400 custodians (with an additional 400 projected to be hired); the hiring of over 500 principals, vice-principals and admin staff to support new virtual schools; the hiring of up to 650 educational assistants, mental health workers and professionals to provide special education and mental health supports; and the purchase of over 23,000 HEPA filters and 20,000 portable HEPA units, and nearly 3,000 other ventilation devices.
The COVID-19 resources provided to school boards to support safe and healthy learning environments are in addition to the investment of over $25.5 billion in education, which represents an increase of over $700 million for the 2020-21 school year.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has invested more than $42.5 million in student mental health, including an additional $10 million announced on Jan. 20, to respond to the extension of virtual learning.