Even Before Pandemic - UNLV NewsCenter

Even Before Pandemic - UNLV NewsCenter Even Before Pandemic - UNLV NewsCenter Posted: 05 Oct 2020 12:00 AM PDT Even before the coronavirus pandemic propelled UNLV into remote learning in the spring, online courses at UNLV were prevalent.  "There's been a steady decrease in the number of students that have never taken an online course," said Elizabeth Barrie, the director of the Office of Online Education . She recently presented during The State of Online Education webinar event. It highlighted some of the initiatives and cross-campus partnerships that contribute to student achievement and shared how faculty prepared for online learning through the summer. She noted that 95% of students who graduated in spring 2020 with an undergraduate degree had taken at least one online course. And, compared to past years, there has been an increase in the number of students who have taken more than 30 credits, or two semesters, online. 

Relief bill 'insignificant' for many Americans - Yahoo News Canada

Relief bill 'insignificant' for many Americans - Yahoo News Canada

Relief bill 'insignificant' for many Americans - Yahoo News Canada

Posted: 21 Dec 2020 02:21 PM PST

Local Journalism Initiative

A cherished violin was lost a few days ago on Toronto's subway. Eight years ago, the same thing happened — but a pair of strangers intervened

The panic set in shortly after midnight, when Lynn Kuo realized her violin was gone.  She  tried to steady herself as anxieties raced. The six-figure, string instrument was her livelihood, as assistant concertmaster with the orchestra at the National Ballet. Though the violin was insured, she had  scrimped and borrowed money from family to afford it just two years  earlier. And by the time the  realization dawned that it wasn't in her apartment, it had been hours  since the violin was left absent-mindedly on a Toronto subway car. She  had entrusted it to her partner earlier that evening; he was taking the  subway to her apartment, while she biked home. "Make sure my baby's OK,"  she recalls saying. Only as night fell did she notice that the violin  had never arrived.  Her  partner's face turned pale. The two scrambled to the subway system that  veins the city, the clock ticking towards the last ride of the night.  They stopped at station after station, to ask if an instrument had been  turned in. That night in 2012 was a long-ago memory until now, when  Kuo's neighbour sent her a text with curious news. It seemed what  happened to her, had happened again.  There  was another instrument lost somewhere on Toronto's subway. This time,  it was a 263-year-old Lonenzo-Carcassi violin in a fire-engine red case.  While police said the violin went missing Friday,  its owner — a university student and professional musician who spoke to  the Star on the condition of anonymity — says it was lost Thursday,  most likely between Bloor-Yonge and St. George stations. "I was exhausted. That part of it, how it went missing is blurry to me,"  he said. He only noticed that the case wasn't on his back — usually  carried by its two black straps — after exiting the TTC at St. Clair  West. The realization was horrifying.  "It's  my life," he said on Sunday. "It's how I pay my rent, it's how I pay  for my groceries, and even how I sometimes support my family. It's my  worst nightmare come true."  But he isn't alone in the experience.  In  Toronto and cities around the world, for years, cherished instruments  have been left behind for lonely commutes — in shuttles, taxicabs,  trains and subway cars.  There was  the musician in London last year, who told media outlets he forgot his  310-year-old violin on the train after a long day of recording. The  instrument, reported to be worth six figures, was later returned in a  parking lot.  In Switzerland, eight  years ago, a violin left for an unaccompanied whirl on the train was  described by HuffPost as "priceless." That instrument made its way to a  lost and found.  And in 1999, an  absent-minded moment sent famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma into a scramble.  Exhausted from a concert at New York's Carnegie Hall, Ma placed an  instrument reported to be worth more than $2 million in the back of a  cab, and forgot it. Police later tracked it down in a garage, the AP  reported. Though  deserted instruments can be worth a small fortune, the circumstances of  forgetting them in transit can be the same as any lost wallet,  abandoned backpack or wayward toy left on a seat. Fatigue or a wandering  mind can take over, with a moment of panic after a door snaps shut.  Kuo  compared a well-made violin to a piece of precious art — it could  appreciate in value over time whereas some other instruments may weather  and wear, she said, which is why they can be pricey and aged. The  difficulty was that a musician's salary often made quality instruments  hard to access, she said.  The owner  of the latest missing instrument said quality violins age like wine.  "The longer it ages, the better it tastes, and in this case, the older  it is . . . it will sound more mature, and deeper." He's  spent the last few days "grasping at straws." He's talked to cops and  phoned instrument shops, imploring them to be on the lookout — "in case  someone brings it in, with good intentions or not."  When  Kuo's violin was picked up on the subway back in 2012, it wasn't by a  seasoned musician who could recognize the instrument's value. Though  Toronto acupuncturist Maria De Oliveira Laffin had a niece who played  violin in Brazil, she couldn't immediately make out what the  unchaperoned case was.  Laffin and her husband, Paul, had been visiting friends that night near Toronto's waterfront, and hopped on a subway car home.  The  unattended package made Laffin nervous, at first — she'd lived in  London, and the spectre of a potential subway bombing still weighed on  her. But she and Paul decided to poke further, and found a tag on the  case emblazoned with the names of Kuo and the National Ballet.  It  seemed important to someone, Laffin recalled. She herself had lost a  beloved pair of sunglasses on the subway, which she never saw again. She  wanted to be sure the violin found its way home.  So  the couple turned to the internet, using the name they found and the  connection to the National Ballet to find an email address they believed  was Kuo's. They sent a note, which Kuo only saw after coming home from  her fruitless midnight search. And after a joyous call, sometime after 1  a.m., they arranged to meet at a subway station the next day. The  instrument would be passed over the turnstiles at the stop, from  Laffin's arms to a grateful Kuo.  Hearing  the news of another lost violin on the TTC, Kuo wished its owner the  same luck. "I'm hoping that people will be just as honest — just as  Canadian — as what happened to me," she said.  Hearing Kuo's story in a phone call with the Star, the instrument's owner spoke through tears.  "I hope that my story can be identical to hers," he said. "Because it would mean the world if I got it back."Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star

COVID-19 outbreak declared at French Immersion Catholic school in Tecumseh - Yahoo News Canada

Posted: 21 Dec 2020 04:08 PM PST

The Canadian Press

The empty chair: Canadians face first Christmas without loved ones lost to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a pall over the holiday season, leaving thousands of chairs permanently empty at the Christmas dinner table.Many Canadians are contending with a cascade of grief as they prepare for their first Christmas without a loved one who died of COVID-19, said Susan Cadell, a social work professor who studies grief at University of Waterloo.Special occasions often evoke fond memories of the person who died, sharpening the pain of their absence, Cadell said.The inexorable jolliness of the season can also make people feel more alone in their bereavement, said Cadell. The pandemic intensifies this isolation, she said, depriving mourners of communal rituals of commemoration and celebration.Cadell said the COVID-19 crisis has left everyone with some degree of loneliness or loss. That's why she advises people to "hold space" for grief during the holiday festivities, so we can support one another from afar.Here are the stories of how Canadians who lost loved ones to COVID-19 are coping with Christmas grief:  AFTER MORE THAN 20 YEARS APART, LAST YEAR WAS THE "BEST CHRISTMAS EVER" Jaclyn Mountain says her mother would be thrilled to see her Port Coquitlam, B.C., home decked out in Christmas lights for the first time in 15 years.She'd hoped the extra decorations would help put her in a festive mood, but she knows nothing can replace Cindy Mountain's exuberant holiday spirit.Jaclyn Mountain said that she and her sister, Marilyn Tallio, barely got to see their mother over the holidays when they were children growing up with their uncle in 'Namgis First Nation in Alert Bay, a remote village located off the northern end of Vancouver Island.Jaclyn Mountain said last year marked their first proper Christmas celebration together in more than 20 years.But she said Cindy Mountain was eager to make up for lost time, spending a full month living in close quarters with her daughters and grandchildren."It was the best Christmas ever," Tallio said.Only a few months later, Cindy Mountain developed symptoms for what she believed to be a cold, her daughters said. She died of COVID-19 in April at age 59.The sisters also lost the uncle who raised them this year. And while his death wasn't related to COVID-19, Jaclyn Mountain said the virus has hit their hometown, and she fears for the elders who live there."Every day, I try not to think about it," she said. "But it just pops into your head and you just cry."Despite her devastation, Jaclyn Mountain said she's determined to give her children the best Christmas possible as she struggles to muster some of her mother's unwavering cheer."She just likes us to be happy and healthy and positive," she said. "I take a lot after my mom, actually. But there's those days where it's just so hard." PUTTING OFF THE CHRISTMAS TREE Paul Doroshenko says his grandmother, Kathren Hartley, kept her hands busy over her 106 years.An avid knitter and seamstress, Hartley stitched countless garments and toys for her five children, nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.Around 20 years ago, Doroshenko said Hartley started gifting him wool socks, on the condition that he remember her whenever he wears them.Every year, as Christmas rolls around, the Vancouver lawyer said he pulls on a pair and Hartley's handiwork keeps him warm.One of his earliest memories is sitting next to Hartley on the sofa as she rubbed his back, her hands so tender that Doroshenko can still feel their touch at age 52.He spent many childhood Christmases at his grandparents' Edmonton homestead, where Hartley served stew made with vegetables grown in their "paradise" of a garden, replete with rose bushes to which she dotingly tended.Doroshenko fondly recalls cobbling together the finest clothes he could find as a university student so he wouldn't look too dishevelled on Hartley's arm as he escorted her to the opera.After moving to B.C. two decades ago, Doroshenko said he would return to his hometown to spend time with Hartley, reminding her of their history as her memory faded with age.On Oct. 31, Hartley died in an Edmonton long-term care home after testing positive for COVID-19.Since then, Doroshenko seems to see reminders of his grandmother everywhere: the well-worn pairs of socks in his drawer, the buds in his rose bush straining to bloom in the chill of December, and in the box of ornaments he hasn't touched.Doroshenko said he put off buying a Christmas tree until last Friday, leaving decorating to his children so he didn't have to look through all the ornaments Hartley crafted for him.There's one in particular that makes him choke up with emotion — an ornament she made with a photo of a young Doroshenko sitting on his grandfather's knee."I show it to my children every year," he said. "That one is going to kill me when I see it."  RITUALS OF RENEWALValery Navarrete said the death of her aunt, Delia Navarrete, has piled "layers upon layers of absence and loss" onto the holiday season.There was the years-long, anticipatory mourning of watching the "Tia Delia" of her childhood memories slip away to dementia.Then, in early November, the 84-year-old was one of many residents who died of COVID-19 as the virus ravaged her north Toronto long-term care home. Like so many people who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, Valery Navarrete and her family couldn't hold a funeral for the sole relative who followed her father to Canada from Ecuador.For many immigrant families, ritual serves as a crucial link to the place and people you left behind, said Navarrete.She said the inability to come together and share in customs to honour her aunt's life has compounded the grief of losing one of her most cherished connections to her culture.Navarrete, who recently moved to Ottawa from Toronto, said the approach of Christmas has aggravated the ache of disconnection from her family.Instead, Navarrete has found solace in another holiday ritual — the Ecuadorian New Year's Eve tradition of burning of the "ano viejo," or "the old year." At the stroke of midnight, people set effigies ablaze in a symbolic purge of the past 12 months to clear the slate for the year ahead."It's been a hard year. But there's still there's room for sadness and joy to sit next to each other," Navarrete said."I hope everyone has a chance ... to do some sort of ritual or reflection to let the year go, and create room for renewal." ROOM FOR ONE MORE AT THE TABLEJames McAlpine never met a stranger. There were only people he hadn't had a chance to talk to yet.A chartered accountant and Toastmaster public speaker, the Montreal native could strike up a conversation with just about anyone, according to his daughter, Marla McAlpine.And if he caught wind that someone was without holiday plans, he would ask his wife, Roberta McAlpine, to set another place at the family's Christmas table.Roberta McAlpine relished playing hostess to a rotating cast of guests from various corners of her husband's social orbit.But this Christmas, Roberta McAlpine will eat a turkey dinner from Meals on Wheels alone, as the same virus that killed her husband prevents her from spending the holidays with her children in Ontario.James McAlpine, who had dementia, died of COVID-19 in April at age 90 as part of a devastating outbreak in a long-term care home near Montreal.Even if they can't be together, Marla McAlpine said her father would want his family to make the most of this pandemic-altered holiday season, and prepare to pull out all the stops for their next big Christmas bash."(He would want us) to make up the opportunity as soon as that opportunity was available," she said. "Maybe not even wait until Christmas."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 21, 2020.Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press


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