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Making new friends during a pandemic can be almost impossible for kids. But school staff are finding creative ways to help. – News – providencejournal.com

Making new friends during a pandemic can be almost impossible for kids. But school staff are finding creative ways to help. – News – providencejournal.com

It was a tough day for a 6-year-old. And her mom. Imagine being a first grader in a new school and unable to participate in “Best Friends” day.

Nikki Bourgeois went on Facebook not to complain but to share what it was like for her daughter Mackenna, a brand new Somerset, trying to make friends in remote-learning mode.

“Makenna didn’t have anyone that she could talk about. It was a bit heartbreaking,” Nikki wrote in the post on Oct. 2. “We don’t know anyone in the area, and without her being physically in school, she isn’t able to meet any friends. We have been told that there are kids in the neighborhood that are her age, but we have yet to meet anyone. COVID-19 didn’t help either.”

The social and psychological needs for some students have become a challenge to meet in this COVID-fear-wracked world. Making friendships online doesn’t compare to old-school in-school, face-to-face socializing. And even in the on-site half of hybrid learning, masks and social distancing can reduce the ability of an elementary school age child to make friends, something that is critical for the pre-K through grade 5 set.

Schools and teachers know better than most about this 2020 challenge. And they’re taking action.

Susan Darmody of Westport is a second-grade teacher at the Silvia Elementary School on Meridian Street in Fall River. She’s starting this school year teaching in full remote. Silvia has a mix of remote and hybrid students.

“Tougher for the remote kids,” Darmody said in a text message to The Herald News. “Hybrid kids do a lot of activities with their teachers using social distance in the classroom. Games and outside doing mask breaks. But (the children) are so happy to be in school.

“A few ways we help make the kids feel

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Govt to give cash vouchers to staff in lieu of LTC this year, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Govt to give cash vouchers to staff in lieu of LTC this year, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

The Minister has announced a slew of measures to spur spending and stimulate economic demand.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled new proposals to stimulate demand in the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference, Ms. Sitharaman said that she has broadly classified the proposals into two different compartments — consumer spending and capital expenditure.

She said: “There is no gain saying that the pandemic has affected the economy adversely. The needs of the weaker and poor sections have been addressed somewhat in the various packages announced so far. Supply constraints have somewhat eased but consumer demand still needs to be given a bit of a boost. The proposals presented today are defined in such a way — by frontloading some expenditure or advancing some expenditure with some offsetting charges later. The others are directly linked to an increase in the GDP.”

Consumer spending proposals

The Finance Minister said that the consumer spending proposals include a LTC cash vouchers scheme and a special festival advance scheme. The LTC Cash Vouchers scheme is mainly targetted to employees in the government and other organised sectors.

The Minister described the scheme as follows: “Government and many organised sector employees have their jobs and salaries protected and some initial indications suggest savings have increased as many couldn’t spend their usual expenditure during the lockdown.”

She continued: “Central government employees, in a block of four years — between 2017-18 and 2020-21 — employees would have normally availed of one leave travel concession for any destination of their choice plus one visit to their hometown. If they didn’t choose leave travel to one destination of their choice, they would usually go twice to their native village. This would mean air or rail fare as per their pay scale is reimbursed to them.

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SAG-AFTRA Cuts Staff For Third Time During Pandemic, Offers More Dues Relief To Members In Financial Distress

SAG-AFTRA Cuts Staff For Third Time During Pandemic, Offers More Dues Relief To Members In Financial Distress

SAG-AFTRA said today that it has further reduced its workforce “across most operations and locals” through a combination of early retirements and job eliminations. This is the union’s third workforce reduction since the pandemic and production shutdown began in mid-March, and will bring the number of its employees to about 400 nationwide.

“Someday, this crisis will end,” said David White, the union’s national executive director. “For now, with cases spiking across the country and a second global surge possible this winter, we must take steps to further align expenses with anticipated revenues. Adjusting our staff size is difficult and painful, but unavoidable. I thank each and every person for their service and dedication to SAG-AFTRA members. We will continue to maximize all of our resources and deliver on our core functions while maintaining excellent service to members and move toward a leaner and more efficient operation.”

“We must act wisely and prudently to ensure a strong union while remaining a fierce and steadfast advocate for our members who also are facing COVID-19 related challenges,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Our work over the last decade resulted in responsible fiscal management and consistent budget surpluses. Because of those surpluses, and with additional expense management, we are positioned to withstand the pandemic and serve our members for generations to come.”

SAG-AFTRA Approves $96 Million Budget, Expects Employee Furloughs & Work-Hour Reductions

In a statement to members tonight, White and Carteris said:

“We take this step in response to the accelerating impact of the pandemic on the union’s current and future financial condition. We live in extraordinary times. Across America, our people and institutions face unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage our communities. SAG-AFTRA is no different in this respect. Our leadership and staff have confronted

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