New Brunswick to allow in-person graduations for high school students
FREDERICTON -- It's the first time all MLAs are back in the New Brunswick legislature since COVID-19 reared its head in the province.
But this sitting looks a lot different: there are 19 MLAs listening from where the public usually sits.
The rest are spaced out on the floor. They were all asked to wear masks when not in their seats.
Physical distancing is the first challenge of being back.
The second is unseasonably warm weather that prompted a rare request to permit members to remove their jackets.
Education Minister Dominic Cardy figures if the legislature can resume with 47 MLAs, this year's grads can have in-person graduation ceremonies, but each school must come up with a plan to ensure the safety of those in attendance.
Grads could start as early as the middle of June.
This is only possible because of the situation New Brunswick is in with respect to controlling COVID-19.
"So far so good," Cardy said. "We've managed to control the infection in this province."
Journalists also came up with a plan to safely interview politicians in person.
Cardy was one of the 19 whose seat moved from the floor to the gallery.
"I think it will be a bit of a learning process for everyone," he said.
The legislature is scheduled to sit until the end of June.
In other news, there is one new case of COVID-19 in New Brunswick, which brings the number of active cases to two. Neither of the active cases are in hospital.
The new case is an individual over the age of 90 in the Campbellton region. It's the second case coming from the Campbellton region in less than a week.
"It's my understanding that they live in their own home, which is good news in that sense," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. "But then it becomes a question of, okay, let's trace how they were exposed."
The premier says he is concerned about the situation.
Both cases in that region are under investigation.
So far, the New Brunswick public health department has performed 22,920 tests and there have been 122 confirmed cases. Of those, 120 people have recovered from their illness.
“Every New Brunswicker should remain vigilant,” said Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's chief medical officer of health. “Please continue to limit your close contacts to prevent the chance of spreading the virus, especially to those who are more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19. Although community transmission has not been confirmed, it is important to be aware that it remains a possibility.”
Up-to-date information about COVID-19, including the latest data on confirmed cases and laboratory testing in New Brunswick is available online.
Public health officials say that if you or a family member are showing two of the following symptoms, you should contact Tele-Care 811 or a primary health-care provider for advice:
- fever above 38°C or signs of fever (such as chills);
- a new cough or worsening chronic cough;
- sore throat;
- runny nose;
- a new onset of fatigue;
- a new onset of muscle pain;
- loss of sense of taste or loss of sense of smell; and
- in children, purple markings on the fingers or toes.
A self-assessment will help you determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.
Up-to-date information about COVID-19 is available online.