By Andru McCracken

On Monday, March 23, School District No. 57 closed their properties to the public, Tuesday, the Village of Valemount made a similar announcement. The Village also announced a burning ban intended to support people with respiratory ailments.

“The District has made this decision in the interest of keeping our communities safe and healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19,” said SD57 communications official Jason Peters.

Superintendent Anita Richardson said the school district wants to support the efforts of the Provincial

Health Officer and government to ‘flatten the curve.’ Flattening the curve is an expression used by scientists who study disease outbreaks. Flattening the curve means trying to make sure that everyone doesn’t get the virus at once, overrunning hospital beds.

BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that kids mingling together on playgrounds was not a good thing.

While the playground equipment is off limits, school fields and the open areas of Valemount’s parks are still open to the public.

Valemount’s Chief Administrative Officer Wayne Robinson said the virus can severely impair breathing, especially for those with pre-existing respiratory issues.

“Burning outdoors and impacting our air quality, will further impair the health of those people most vulnerable to COVID-19. Outdoor burning, without a permit, is contrary to Village

Bylaws and may result in fines being issued,” said Robinson in a press release.

Small campfires do not require a permit and continue to be allowed.