As the pandemic abruptly turned life upside down around the world, roughly a million public school kids in NYC were thrust into a wildly inconsistent learning environment, with repeated openings and closings of school buildings and systemwide shifts to online learning as COVID-19 rates surge.,While education officials promise to reopen schools this fall for full-time learning again, many New York City parents and students are calling for more than academic recovery, but a reckoning with the disrupted school system’s mental health toll on kids.,A Year Of Anxiety And Turmoil In the short term after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that public school buildings were closing on March 16th, 2020 and students were shifting to remote learning, some kids said they initially celebrated a break from school.,Disparate Impacts For New York City’s public school system, whose enrollment is 41% Latino, 26% Black, 16% Asian and 15% white, the deadly toll of the pandemic has been acutely felt: “During the first five months of the pandemic, an estimated 4,200 of 4 million children in the state lost a parent or caregiver to coronavirus, a rate of more than one out of every 1,000, according to a report by the United Hospital Fund and Boston Consulting Group released at the end of September,” with more than half of those affected children residents of the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens, according to Gotham Gazette, which reported the pandemic has disportionately taken parents away from Black and Hispanic families: 1 out of every 600 Black children, and 1 out of every 700 Hispanic children have lost a parent or caregiver, compared to 1 out of 1,400 Asian children and 1 out of 1,500 white children in New York.,The public school student population is also primarily low-income, a point which was hammered home last spring when the city Department of Education had to scramble to outfit hundreds of thousands of families with devices for remote learning.

For Michelle Janse van Rensburg, currently managing director at Pretoria-based Nimacc Business Lounge, moving out of her corporate comfort zone in South Africa saw her taking on a rather unconventional stretch assignment in Mozambique for an asset management company that was handling agricultural projects across Africa, where she was tasked with implementing new financial and operational systems.,Although this particular mission was certainly out of the ordinary and, in fact, required trips to several African countries, Janse van Rensburg said that within accounting and finance, stretch assignments are becoming the norm.,According to van den Barselaar, every year as managing director brings new stretch assignments in terms of being able to deliver the required results in a very depressed South African economy.,Moving forward

While the actual definition of a stretch assignment is highly subjective and up for debate, Janse van Rensburg asserted that management accountants have to actively take on certain roles and challenging projects to keep themselves professionally relevant.,For van den Barselaar, there is no question as to the value of stretch assignments, and she urged finance professionals to always be ready for new challenges. read more

The shelter says Patches, who has been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, was found less than a quarter-mile from where her Montecito home stood.,The Animal Shelter Assistance Program in Santa Barbara County says the calico named Patches was brought in as a stray last month and a microchip scan revealed her identity.,Patches had been missing since Jan. 9, 2018, when a rainstorm on the vast burn scar of the Thomas Fire sent a debris-laden torrent crashing down through hillside neighborhoods of Montecito, northwest of Los Angeles.,The ASAP shelter says Patches was found less than a quarter-mile from where her Montecito home stood.,“Though we don’t know exactly what she’s been doing with her life for the past three years, we can see that both Patches and Norm are thrilled to be reunited,” the shelter said in a Facebook post.