The Gleaner
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Valley embraces new freedom in the yellow zone

Since Monday, Valley residents have been enjoying life in the yellow zone, after Premier François Legault gave the green light to a significant loosening of the public health measures for most regions across the province.

Indoor gatherings involving residents of two different households are allowed, and up to eight people, or the residents of two households, may gather in private yards while distancing and wearing masks. Bars and breweries are now open at 50 per cent capacity, but most close by midnight. Organized outdoor sports leagues are permitted for groups of up to 25 people; however, competitions and tournaments remain banned for now. All members of a household may visit a loved one living in a CHSLD or seniors’ home. Weddings or funerals may now include up to 50 attendees, and places of worship may welcome up to 250 people.

Graduation ceremonies with parents in attendance may now take place with restrictions, and outdoor proms are permitted after July 8. Dr. Horacio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, noted that restrictions on proms and graduation ceremonies were eased as teen vaccination rates were increasing.

The New Frontiers School Board has continued to play an important role in the vaccination campaign. According to Rob Buttars, the director general of the New Frontiers School Board (NFSB), 77 students from Chateauguay Valley Regional High School (CVR) were transported by bus to the Ormstown Vaccination Centre to receive a first dose of the vaccine.

Buttars reports that while the number may seem low, a significant number of parents chose to take their children to be vaccinated themselves. “Logistically it has been a lot of work, but it has been worth it,” he says. “That’s 77 kids who would not have had their first dose otherwise,” he continues, noting how he was especially pleased to see students advocating for themselves.

Buttars suggests that while he is pleased with the way the vaccination campaign has been organized, he continues to be frustrated by the lack of consultation on the part of the government when it comes to decisions impacting the schools. He suggests the announcement allowing schools to organize proms was unfair. “We like the flexibility but organizing a prom at this point is very unrealistic,” he says, before adding that he hopes the school community will be understanding.

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