Update on School Closures and More – April 17, 2020

When Will Schools Reopen?

The Minister of Education said at a news conference this afternoon that no decision has been made regarding when Ontario schools will re-open. Premier Ford added the decision to reopen schools will be based on advice from the Ontario Medical Officer of Health.  

iPad Distribution

Ontario’s Ministry of Education is working with Apple and Rogers to support the Learn at Home program with an iPad and integrated wireless connections for those families who need one. At this point in time, we do not have any additional details. When we have the information we will share it with our school communities.

Message from the Director

Dear OCSB Students and Families,

As we conclude our fourth week of school closures, I want to express my gratitude to everyone for showing patience and flexibility as we continue to navigate this massive systemic change to how we teach and learn during these unprecedented times.

As well, I am so proud to share how we continue to support our greater community. Last week we distributed 3500 Chromebooks to families who did not have a device at home, and this week, we provided internet sticks to families needing connectivity to support distance learning. 

A huge shout out to school and central staff who helped collect, inventory, load and deliver large quantities of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including gloves, masks, face shields, gowns, goggles and cleaning supplies. As well, we are using our 3D printers to produce headbands for much-needed face shields. In partnership with the University of Ottawa, we will supply potentially life-saving PPE to many community partners, including hospitals, hospices, care homes, clinics and the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Let us remember that God calls us to be Easter people, people of hope and beacons of light to the world. We can do this by maintaining physical distance but preserving social connection. We can do this by finding opportunities to support, praise, laugh and sing. Let’s continue to collaborate in meaningful and supportive ways to show that our OCSB community rejoices in this Easter season. Alleluia! 

Parents Are Asking

Are you having a hard time keeping up with all of the important updates related to COVID-19 and school closures? We’ve compiled answers to Frequently Asked Questions on our website and update them as information becomes available. 

Help us spread the word: OCSB Check-ins

We know that life at home during this pandemic has been and continues to be challenging. Our educators have been reaching out to students to make sure they are okay, and to ensure they have what they need to learn from home. Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to reach every family, so we’re calling out to our OCSB community to help us spread the word so every student can access the support they need to be well and learn.

If you know of a family in need of support, encourage them to contact their school principal. They will happily have a confidential conversation to ensure that the family receives the support they need to be well and keep learning during this challenging time of extended school closures.

Emergency/Essential Parent Refunds

The OCSB Finance Department is working to issue school-based refunds to all students and their families who have paid in advance for services or products. The initial reimbursements will be based on an emergency or essential family needs.

Parents can expect to hear more details from their school in the coming weeks regarding when these repayments will be processed. Eventually, all refunds will be issued. We will provide updated information as soon as possible.

Parent and Student Access to Schools

We know that students have items in their school that they would like to retrieve. At this point the emergency measures act requires everyone to stay at home; it does not allow for students or parents to enter schools to retrieve personal items. We continue to check with the Ministry of Education around access issues and we will update you if anything changes.

Message from Board of Trustees

At the Board meeting on Tuesday, April 14, Chairperson Mark Mullan shared the following tribute to our staff, parents and students on behalf of the Board of Trustees.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to express our thanks and gratitude to all OCSB staff. As people of faith, we are all focused on working through these difficult challenges with clarity, compassion and conviction.

To our educators, support staff and union members, we understand we are asking you to go above and beyond in your efforts to support our students. We know with confidence, we can do this because we can always rely on your creativity, flexibility, and judgment.

Thank you to our Senior Team, their departments, our principals and vice-principals for their critical work behind the scenes to ensure student and staff learning continues. Thank you to our union leaders for their collaboration and support of student success and wellbeing. Also, I would like to thank our two student trustees for their work in keeping our students updated and making sure that their needs are addressed. 

We are also forever grateful to our parent community, who have shown understanding, patience, and cooperation to our teachers and support staff. You have proved over and over again; we are partners in our shared goal of educating your children and keeping everyone safe. School is happening differently now, and we are all “building the plane as we fly.” I am so grateful we are flying this plane as co-pilots.

As Saint, Mother Teresa said, “I can do things you cannot; you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

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