Nova Scotia’s COVID-free streak ended with a new confirmed case on Friday and two more on Saturday. So far, the province has had 68,120 negative test results, 1,074 known COVID-19 cases, and 64 deaths, according to the latest government update

Masks mandatory for some students
The provincial government has adjusted its back-to-school plan to make masks mandatory for students in grades 4 to 12. “The decision… is in line with recent evidence and guidance from the Public Health Agency of Canada,” says Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief public health officer, in a press release. “Along with all the other public health measures, masks will help protect our school communities from COVID-19.”

The students will have to wear a mask inside schools except if they are seated at their desks while two metres apart and facing in the same direction. (Have you ever seen a Nova Scotian classroom where students regularly sit two metres apart? —T.J.A.) Students must also wear them in in hallways and common areas if a two-metre distance isn’t maintained.

Additional measures and information for families ahead of September include:

  • Workers will maintain school ventilation systems to ensure equipment is operating properly and windows can be opened.
  • Students and staff will get two free cloth masks. Disposable masks will also be available.
  • Administrators will contact families with specific information about their school closer to September.
  • Before and after school programs will run in accordance with public health guidelines.
  • Schools, with the support of public health, will notify families as soon as they become aware of a COVID-19 case in their school.
  • A sport schedule and protocols that follow public health guidelines are in the final stage of development with Sport Nova Scotia.
Natasha Prest. Photo: Bruce Murray

It only takes a spark
When Natasha Prest became Halifax’s first Black woman professional firefighter, she just wanted a job that would let her give her daughter a good life. When she looked around at her fellow recruits, she realized she’d chosen a hard path. “The large part of that group was white males,” Prest recalls. “[Firefighting] is a reality for them. Their uncles, fathers, brothers are in the fire service so for them to be familiar with what it’s all about is easy. It’s not easy for minority groups. It wasn’t when I came on.”

But she stuck with it and has climbed through the ranks as Halifax’s fire department has diversified and today, she encourages young women to consider a firefighting career. “You’re able to socially, economically raise up your family, your community,” says Prest. “If I can do this, anybody can. It takes determination, dedication and a lot of hard work. We need to get to these girls young to show them what they can do.” She tells Kim Hart Macneill about it in this Halifax Magazine feature from June 2019.

Easy DIY fixes for your home
This year has probably given you lots of time to itemize everything you hate about your house. Fortunately, East Coast Living has a big free archive of step-by-step DIY solutions for the laundry room, garage, bathroom, family room, and all those annoying places where clutter and awkward layouts can confound you. The home office tips are particularly popular this year.

Lunenburg Doc Fest returns (online)
The Lunenburg Doc Fest, an annual fall celebration of the art of documentary filmmaking returns this year, offering all programming online. Organizers plan to extend the festival from its usual four days to a week (Sept. 24–30) “to give everyone a bit more flexibility and time, and to curate their own at-home viewing experience,” says executive director Pamela Segger. “The goal is to have the participation, and engage and create conversation and interesting education and entertainment for the audience.” Gayle Wilson reports for LighthouseNow.

Culinary globetrotting in New Glasgow
Starting today and continuing through Aug. 22, restaurants in New Glasgow are offering “Curbside Culture.” The event features $12 meals showcasing a diverse array of international flavours and culinary techniques. “We’re encouraging local people to get out,” says organizer Thivjan Tharma. “We wanted to create a desire to come downtown and shop downtown.” Heather Brimicombe has the story for The Pictou Advocate.

Need to know
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