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Today was a
difficult day for everyone in our community.
On behalf of the students, staff, and trustees of the Ottawa-Carleton
District School Board, I extend my deepest condolences to those whose loved
ones were lost today. As a community, we
will need to support each other as we come to better understand this
At the school
district, our first priority is always the safety of our students and staff. As soon as we became aware that there was a
situation of risk, we took immediate action to secure our schools. Schools in the downtown core were moved to
“Secure School” mode which means that instruction continues, but all school
doors and windows are locked, as well as the doors to classrooms and all blinds
or curtains are closed; students remain inside the classroom. Schools outside of the downtown core were
moved to “Shelter in Place” mode which means regular activity continues within
the school, but all exterior doors and windows are locked, and students are
kept inside at lunch and recess. Where
students were outside of the school on field trips or at sporting events, the
trip supervisor was contacted and students were secured as quickly as possible.
fortunate to have a strong partnership with the Ottawa Police Service and we
remained in regular contact with them throughout the day. All decisions about school security were made
in consultation with the police.
the primary focus of teachers,
administrators and support staff is to maintain a calm and safe learning
environment. We understand the anxiety
that parents have in this type of situation, and we make every effort to keep
parents informed. Today, we communicated
with parents through the media, social media, our district website, and direct
phone calls and e-mail to parents. At
times like this, we are reminded of the importance of having up-to-date
emergency contact information for all parents.
Please ensure that your child’s school knows how to reach you.
Tomorrow, we will resume
regular operations, with a close eye on
student and staff well-being. We know
that children may be confused by what they have heard about what has happened
in our city today. Most likely they
will look to adults for information and guidance on how to react. Parents and
school personnel can help children cope by listening, acknowledging and
validating feelings and by being reassuring.
At schools, we will provide resources and supports to students as required. We have also prepared an information sheet
for parents to help engage in conversations with children.
behalf of the school district, I would like to extend our thanks and
appreciation to all of our staff and to the Ottawa Police Service and all first
responders who worked so hard to keep our students safe.
Secretary of the Board