Dear OCSB Families,
I am writing to you again today to ensure you have the most up-to-date information regarding the Province’s new health and safety measures that affect all Ontario schools, including Ottawa Catholic School Board schools.
When the government announced (on March 9, 2022) changes to mask mandates, cohorting, the return to extracurricular activities etc., we immediately shared those changes with you in a Parent Update from the Director of Education. On March 11th, the Chair of the Board, Mark Mullan sent a letter to Dr. Vera Etches seeking Ottawa Public Health’s continued guidance as we have done since the beginning of this pandemic.
Students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks in Ottawa schools effective Monday, March 21, 2022. This decision is not a local one but rather a Provincial directive that all School Boards must follow. The choice to wear a mask at school or in a public setting is now a personal decision. The Ministry of Health has created a Living-with-and-Managing-Covid-19 presentation that may be of interest to you.
Ottawa Public Health Masking Advice
- Residents are encouraged to continue to wear a mask in specific settings, especially indoors, when physical distancing may not be possible.
- When using a mask, select the best quality one available to you.
- Some individuals may choose to keep wearing masks in places where they are not required; please be kind and respectful of others’ choices.
- When attending a gathering, always bring your mask with you. There may be times when others will not be comfortable being around maskless people, or they could be high-risk, and they may ask you to mask-up.
- It’s important to remember that wearing a mask is something we can all do to help to protect those who remain at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19.
For more information, visit Masks – Ottawa Public Health
Some Mask Restrictions Remain In Effect
You must wear a mask in all public spaces for 14 days if you return from travel outside Canada (including the U.S.). You must also maintain a list of all close contacts for the first 14 days in Canada and monitor for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. You can find complete details on the Government of Canada’s website.
Ottawa Public Health
To support you in assessing risk and making the best decision for your family, Ottawa Public Health has launched a new webpage: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/RiskReduction. This new webpage provides important information to help you evaluate your level of risk. Please do not send your child to school if they are ill.
Gradual Changes in Schools
As measures are lifted, we will resume activities such as fundraising, volunteering, excursions, open houses, art performances, and spectator sports thoughtfully and gradually. We will determine adjustments to classroom setups or the use of shared materials and spaces at the school level after the March Break.
Visitors and Volunteers
All school visitors are required to sign-in with the school office upon arrival. A reminder to please check with your child’s school regarding visits and/or volunteering. See – Visitors to Schools policy.
As March Break comes to an end, I encourage you to speak to your children about being kind and respecting the choices people make regarding their personal safety. Community resources are also available to support mental health during this time. Learn more by visiting Mental Health, Substance Use and COVID-19 – Ottawa Public Health.
I want to welcome you back to our schools, and may God bless you and your families during this Lenten season. Please know that if you have questions regarding the changes, you can always reach out to your children’s school Principal.
Director of Education