The Ottawa Catholic School Board is pleased to welcome back students in person and virtually to school year 2022-2023. Our schools and work sites are mask-friendly environments. Should students or staff wish to wear a mask, they are welcome to do so. While the pandemic is not over, neither the Province nor Ottawa Public Health has mandated masks. So the choice to wear a mask is an individual one.
As people of faith, we recognize the pandemic impacted all of us differently. And as such, we all have different comfort levels in socializing with others. If we practice empathy, care and kindness, we will spread joy. This year’s Spiritual Theme is Rooted in Joy. We hope that as we unite as school communities, we will celebrate the joy of Catholic education.
As parents and guardians, you can play a significant role in how your child handles the unknown. Your positive tone will considerably impact how we continue to promote Well-Being.
Five Ways to Support Your Child as They Return to School
- Take care of yourself, so you can do your best to help your children. Take time each day to do something for yourself to feel well and happy.
- Talk to your child about the return to school. Have open and regular conversations about how they feel about starting the new school year.
- Be patient and pay attention to the transition. Transitioning back to school will take some time. Be patient with your child and yourself – you’ll both get there. Focus on listening to their experiences with empathy and interest.
- Establish familiar routines. Reintroduce everyday practices like healthy family meals, consistent bedtime schedules, breaks from screens, and morning routines to ease the transition back to school.
- As a family, take small breaks during the day or evening to do something that brings you joy. You could also practice quiet reflection to appreciate the positive elements of your day. Be compassionate.
How to Start Conversations at Home for the Return to School
Take the time to talk with your child/youth. Here are some open-ended conversation starters to help open up a dialogue:
- How do you feel about this school year?
- What’s one thing you feel excited about?
- Who are you looking forward to seeing at school?
- Is there anything that concerns you or you feel worried about?
- How can I help you to feel comfortable about school?
Resources for Parents
To further support you and your family through the back-to-school season, here are several helpful resources and organizations you can reach out to for support.
- SMH-ON is pleased to announce website enhancements to the existing SMH-ON site. Once again, the Mentally Healthy Back to School Support Package is built upon the packages from previous years. This kit includes updates to key resources such as; The First Ten Days, Start Well, Listen, Believe and Act, and How to Support a Mentally Healthy Back to School for Your Child.
- The website revitalization also includes the launch of a new student website. The new student site centers student perspectives and provides easy access to Mental Health and Well-Being learning, tools and supports with a look and feel unique to the student audience.
Mental Health and Well-Being
- How to Support a Mentally Healthy Back to School for Your Child.(School Mental Health Ontario)
- Four skills that build an optimistic mindset (School Mental Health Ontario)
- Six stress management and coping strategies for students (School Mental Health Ontario)
Crisis support & Counselling
- 24/7 crisis line and crisis chat for Ottawa children and youth (Youth Services)
- 24/7 counselling and referral services for children and youth (Kids Help Phone)
- Free phone & video counselling (Counselling connect)