Boardroom Newsbrief - September 22, 2020

The Newsbrief is meant to provide the highlights of the decisions made at the Board meeting for the benefit of our community. The notes do not serve as the official record of the meeting. Please refer to Board or Committee minutes.

For full agenda package prepared ahead of this meeting, visit this link.

Briefing from the Chair of the Board

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Orange Shirt Day

A reminder that OCDSB students and staff will be participating in Orange Shirt Day on September 30th. Orange Shirt Day is a movement across Canada helping to educate students and communities on the history and legacy of Canadian Residential Schools. We have asked educators to plan some learning regarding this topic in advance. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will also be hosting a virtual event for students in Grades 5 to 12 to hear from survivors and discuss these important issues.

Rowan’s Law Day

The last Wednesday of each September has been designated as Rowan's Law Day to help raise awareness about concussion safety. Earlier this year, the OCDSB revised our concussion management policy. Our website contains useful information to learn more about the signs and symptoms and what to do if you suspect a concussion. It’s important to remember that we need to take any head injury seriously.

Briefing from the Director

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario 

I am pleased to share the good news that on September 16th, 2020, the local Ottawa-Carleton Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario membership ratified the tentative settlement reached with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) on July 23rd, 2020.

Trustees ratified the local collective agreement in August 2020. This means that the new collective agreement will be in force from September 1st, 2019 to August 31st, 2022.

This ratification of the local agreement follows the ratification of the central agreement among the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA), the Crown, and the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), in April 2020. In accordance with the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, all terms of the central and local agreement are now in force effective September 17th, 2020.

Staff will now work on implementing the terms and conditions of both the central and local collective agreement, which includes adjusting teachers' current salary grids, wage schedules and allowances.

We are pleased that we have been able to reach a local agreement, and look forward to reaching local agreements with our other bargaining units as soon as possible. 


Across Ontario and in the City of Ottawa we are seeing a rise in the number of cases of COVID-19.  The first case of COVID-19 reported in an OCDSB school was identified on Sunday, September 20th.  As of this afternoon we have eight positive cases of Covid-19 in schools. Information on cases is reported daily to the Ministry of Education and information is posted on the Covid-19 Dashboard on the District website.

A positive case is confirmed by Ottawa Public Health.  Once we have received information about positive case, we work with the OPH School Nurse to identify high risk contacts.  A letter is sent to the school community making them aware of the positive case and an additional letter is sent to all high risk contacts advising them of the need to self-isolate and get tested.

Without question, the requirement to self-isolate for 14 days is a burden on families.  However, today, Dr. Etches, the Chief Medical Officer of Health reiterated the need for the community to follow this protocol and with a new public health order, established steep fines for persons who fail to follow public health direction.  As a community, we must all work to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Families are encouraged to have plans in place, in the event that they are required to self-isolate.

In schools, this also has an impact on staffing which creates concerns about our ongoing capacity to ensure the safe supervision of students.  We are monitoring Covid cases, absence data and the supply of occasional teachers to ensure we can maintain safe operations.  Today, work was underway on staffing strategies to avoid the closure of schools wherever possible.


The Ottawa-Carleton Virtual schools launched on Friday last week.  We were able to work through some last minute staffing and technology issues, and with the patience and support of families, we now have 7 new virtual schools operating.  Our elementary and secondary in person schools are also fully operational.

We are now in the process of working through class sizes, student registrations and the waiting list.   At this time, our focus is on reconciling the number of students on waitlists against the number and names of students now attending.  When that reconciliation is complete, we will know better how many students are on the waitlists and how many of those could be placed in the virtual school.  We are working through this process as quickly as possible.  However, at this time, we believe that the demand is greater than available space.  We will provide additional information  to families and to the Board of Trustees as soon as possible.

In-camera Motions

Trustees approved that staff be authorized to proceed, as directed in Board in camera, with respect to a human resources matter.

Public Motions

Trustees approved the following:

  • Approval of Review of Police Involvement in Schools
  • Request to the Province for the Provision of Health and Safety Precautions
  • Appointment of Community Representative to SEAC
    • Amy Wellings be appointed to the position of community representative to the Special Education Advisory Committee for a term from 22 September 2020 to 14 November 2022
  • School Councils
    • Notwithstanding Policy P.014.SCO School Councils that staff be directed to amend Procedure PR.509.SCO School Council Elections, Constitution and By-Laws so that for the 2020-2021 school year, OCV parents be allowed to be non voting members or, where insufficient in-school parent candidates have put themselves forward for established school council positions, continue to be allowed to be Voting or Executive members of the school council at their children's home schools.
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