COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Dec. 14

COVID-19 Live Updates: News on coronavirus in Calgary for Dec. 14

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Mortuary workers adapting to COVID-19 crisis, hoping for priority with vaccines

Funeral director David Root, of Pierson’s Funeral Service, poses for a portrait in Calgary, Alta., Sunday, Dec. 4, 2020. Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

Funeral homes are implementing measures of their own to protect staff against COVID-19 and to prepare for rising deaths should they overwhelm the system.

Demand has already grown.

Teresa Jones, owner and funeral director at Choice Memorial Cremation and Funeral Services, said she is operating three crematoriums, compared to the usual one.

Jones has also split her staff into two groups who alternate between seven straight days of work and seven days off to ensure they would be able to operate even if one group had members who contracted COVID-19.

Her biggest fear is someone on her staff getting sick.

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Tech support stretched for at-risk students amid demands of online learning

Marilyn Field, executive director of EducationMatters is looking for tech support for at-risk students amid demands of online learning in Calgary on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

As older students settle back into provincially-mandated online learning, those without tech resources and at-home supports continue to face disruptions and risk falling even further behind, advocates say.

And as cases of COVID-19 continue to reach record highs across Alberta, educators worry students still won’t be able to return to classrooms after Christmas, and barriers to their learning will continue to rise.

“When kids are in school, equality exists. But when they are sent home, inequality heightens,” said Jason Schilling, president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

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“Going back online is never ideal, students need to be in school with their teachers, learning together. But we know from spring that many students won’t have access to technology, whether that’s devices, or Wi-Fi, or other members of the family vying for the same technology.”

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