Parent Update from the Director of Education – January 3, 2022

Dear Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) Families,

Ottawa Catholic Schools Will Move to Remote Learning as of Wednesday, January 5, 2022

All Ottawa Catholic elementary and secondary schools will move to remote learning effective Wednesday, January 5, 2022. It is hoped that in-person learning will resume on Monday, January 17, 2022.

How does this affect OCSB students?

  • There is no change for students who attend Blessed Carlo Virtual School or St. Josephine Virtual High School. Virtual classes resume on Wednesday, January 5th.
  • In-person learning in the Province of Ontario is cancelled until at least January 17, 2022.

What will Wednesday, January 5, 2022, look like for Elementary Students?

  • Before the start of the day, parents/students will receive a link to their child’s classroom Google Meet site. This link will connect with the classroom teacher for the day’s activities.
  • During the remote learning period, students will follow their regular school timetable. This schedule includes start and end times and times for lunch and recess. 
  • Parents may decide the appropriate amount of online screen time for their child during the remote learning period. Educators will connect online with their class every day.
  • We will keep you up-to-date as new information becomes available.

What will Wednesday, January 5 look like for Secondary Students?

  • Secondary students will continue with their two quadmester courses in an online format.
  • Before the start of the day, students will receive a link to their course Google Meet site. This link will connect with the classroom teacher.
  • We will keep you up-to-date as new information becomes available.

Electronic Device Distribution

If students need an electronic device to do their schoolwork, we will provide one. The student’s parent/guardian should contact the school on Tuesday, January 4th or Wednesday, January 5, to arrange a device loan. The Principal will coordinate the pickup of school-based devices this week.

Special Education Supports during Remote Learning

Students with special education needs will continue to be supported by their classroom educators in the online environment. Students who receive resource or educational assistant support in person will receive similar support in remote learning.

Special Education System Classes

System class staff will contact parents of students participating in special education system classes on January 4th and 5th to determine if their child can participate in a remote learning environment. We will complete schedules, transportation, supervision, and health and safety logistics on January 6th at each school. We will review alternate plans, including in-person learning for system classes at that time. For this small group of students, the start date for in-person learning is Friday, January 7, 2022. Once the in-person schedule is confirmed, arrangements will be made for special transportation for students in a system class.

Mental Health Resources

If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) offers various services to help those struggling with mental health concerns. To learn more about how to talk about mental health, check out “have THAT talk.”

  • Please visit OPH’s Parenting in Ottawa mental health page for information about children and youth mental health agencies. If you have a youth in crisis, contact the Youth Services 24/7 Crisis Line (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 613-260-2360, if outside Ottawa toll-free, 1-877-377-7775.
  • Students and families can also contact Kids Help Phone, which offers 24/7 counselling and referral services across the Province. Children can use this free resource by calling 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868.
  • School Mental Health Ontario also has many great resources for students, parents, and families at www.smho-smso.ca

Vaccine Clinics

Ottawa Public Health continues to offer vaccine clinics for everyone over the age of 5. Medical experts tell us that vaccines and following public health guidelines, including staying home if you are sick, will help us get to the other side of this pandemic. The hopeful news is that more and more people in the city of Ottawa are getting vaccinated every day.

Student Transportation

We will reinstate student transportation services when the Province determines it is safe to return to in-person learning.

Extended Day Programs

There will be no extended day programs permitted in elementary schools during the closure period.

Child Care Centres in Schools

Emergency child care is available for health care and frontline workers through services provided by the City of Ottawa.

Thank you

We know this was an unexpected update, but we remain committed to continuity of learning, and we will do everything possible to ensure your child’s success. This situation is not easy, and every family faces different challenges when schools are closed to in-person learning. If you need assistance, please reach out to your school principal.

Please take care of yourself and recognize that all you can do is your best. Given your family situation, you can decide how much online learning is possible for your child. Stay safe during this pandemic and during these challenging times.

Thomas D’Amico

Director of Education 

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