Today, the Ministry of Education confirmed that schools will return to in-person learning on January 17, 2022.
What we’ve done to make schools safer for in-person learning
Student and staff health and safety continue to be our first priority. Here is what we have done to make our schools safer for students and staff:
- Over the last two weeks, more staff and students have been vaccinated, and more staff have their booster shots.
- 120,000 three-ply masks are available for student use, and 201,000 Ministry-issued N95 masks are available for staff in all our schools.
- The province will provide all students and staff with 2 Rapid Antigen Tests.
- We have invested over $15 million in ventilation improvements in our schools through HVAC systems and will be receiving 51 additional portable HEPA filters to augment our existing supply.
- While a portable HEPA filter is a visible sign in a classroom of improved air quality, most of our classes benefit from state-of-the-art mechanical ventilation that achieves the same or greater filtration and air exchange through rooftop units.
- We have 1100 portable HEPA filters in classrooms and 225 unit ventilators in portables, including MERV 13 filters.
- All of our schools meet or exceed the ASHRAE standard for HVAC systems. Here is a complete list of all of the ventilation improvements at OCSB schools.
Options for Families
Our goal is to be as flexible and compassionate as possible. We know many families have hoped for the early return to school, while others are uncomfortable with their children returning to in-person learning.
If you are apprehensive about sending your child to in-person school, you may temporarily keep them home. Classroom teachers will continue to provide daily learning activities through the Hapara learning management system. Please communicate with your Principal or classroom teacher to let them know your plans.
If you are looking to switch your child to one of our virtual schools for the remainder of the year, we will try to make that happen if feasible. Contact your school principal if you wish to make this switch.
Continue to Screen your Child for Symptoms
Please screen your child for symptoms before sending them to school. Here is the Ottawa Public Health website link with the latest information on the screening tools.
On January 11, we received the COVID-19: Interim Guidance for Schools and Child Care. The Ministry of Health has provided interim public health guidance on schools’ cases, contact, and outbreak management. This Friday, the Ministry of Education will provide us with a new reporting tool based on attendance. This tool will be used across the province and is anticipated to be used later next week.
What will happen if there are staff shortages
We will strive to keep schools open for the remainder of the school year. However, if there are staff shortages, we may need to move to remote learning in the particular classroom and or school that is impacted. This will be a short-term solution until we can arrange appropriate coverage.
High School Students
High School Students will be returning to in-person learning to finish their last quadmester. Our plan remains to return to a traditional 4-period semester system on February 7, 2022.
Many activities will continue, but high-impact indoor sports will be paused in the short term.
Ottawa Student Transportation will resume on Monday.
Child Care and Extended Day Program
Child Care facilities and extended day programs housed within our schools will be open on Monday, January 17, to welcome families back.
We look forward to welcoming your child on Monday.
We know that the transition to remote learning was difficult for many families. The return back to in-person learning may also be a challenge. We also know that the routine and social interactions that schools provide are essential to the overall well-being of our students and staff. Know that our staff will continue to do their best to support your family’s learning needs as they have throughout this entire pandemic. We look forward to welcoming your child back to in-person learning on Monday.