Dear OCSB Community
I hope you and your family are well and the unprecedented surge in respiratory illness in Ottawa has not impacted you, your children or your extended family. Given the increased spread of the flu, respiratory illnesses, and COVID in our city, we strongly recommend that staff and students wear masks indoors. The province does not currently mandate masks, so this remains a personal choice.
Ottawa Public Health Update
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, says the combination of COVID and respiratory illness in children results in overcrowding in our local emergency rooms. Unfortunately, the situation has worsened to the point that CHEO opened a second ICU to deal with the influx of critically ill children.
Dr. Etches Advice
Although Ottawa Public Health is not mandating mask-wearing, they recommend wearing masks indoors. You can find the latest advice from our Chief Medical Officer of Health on the Ottawa Public Health website.
What Can We All Do to Help?
The advice from Ottawa Public Health includes the following:
• Wear a mask in crowded indoor spaces, including schools
• Stay home when sick
• Wash your hands, frequently
• Cough into elbows
Together We are Better
Our collective efforts make a difference. Together, we can again help stem the tide of COVID, respiratory illness and the flu in our schools and, simultaneously, help our hospitals and the greater community. OCSB schools and worksites will continue to supply masks to all staff and students and provide hand sanitizer and daily cleaning practices.
In keeping with Dr. Etches’ advice, I encourage you to follow her guidance regarding mask-wearing, hand hygiene and staying home when you are sick. I recognize that wearing masks is a divisive topic, so please be respectful of everyone’s personal choice.
Thank you, as always, for your efforts to keep Ottawa Catholic School Board students, staff and visitors safe in our schools and worksites.
Director of Education