Letter to Families from Dr. Vera Etches

Letter to Families from Dr. Vera Etches
Posted on 04/09/2021
Letter to Families from Dr. Vera Etches

The following letter was sent to us to share with OCDSB families. 

French, Arabic and Somali versions of this letter are also available. 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

With the school Spring Break and warmer weather right ahead, we wanted to take this opportunity to connect with you and share some important tips and reminders to help you continue to keep yourself, your family, and our community safe. 

As we look to Spring Break next week, it’s important to remember that this break will be unlike many others that we’ve had before. With the Provincial Stay-At-Home Order now in place, and the risk of contracting COVID-19 still imminent, it is of the utmost importance that we take the necessary measures to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19.

One of the most effective ways to do this is by continuing to limit close contacts to only those in your household. We encourage you to enjoy the beautiful weather as a family or household, but we cannot gather or socialize with other households.

Spending time outdoors can promote mental and physical wellbeing and provides better air circulation that helps reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission along with other public health measures. We know our community’s parents, guardians and children have found endless ways to stay busy outdoors while staying safe, and we encourage you to keep adventuring outdoors with your household. Bike rides and walks are wonderful and safe activities to take part in with members of your own household.

Please remember to always maintain distance from other households and wear a mask when 2m distance is not possible (such as at the playground) and when waiting to use outdoor recreation amenities (e.g. tennis courts, basketball courts, etc.). Please visit the Social Wise page for more information on safe activities during COVID-19.

We may be tempted to lower our guard as the weather gets warmer, but we need to remember that COVID-19 does not take a summer holiday. The risk is currently high in our community and is still present even with beautiful weather. As always, if you or someone in your household begin to show any symptoms of COVID-19, complete the screening tool (for adults or for children) to help you decide if testing is required.

As per the requirements of the Provincial Stay-At-Home Order, all individuals must remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise, going to school or for work that cannot be done remotely.

This may look like a step back and make us feel discouraged and fatigued but we need to remember that we are in the home stretch now! With vaccinations well underway and promising preliminary results for youth immunization, if we stay strong in our fight against COVID-19, we can be reassured there are better days ahead.

Thank you for the many sacrifices and adjustments you’ve made to protect yourselves and each other. Remember, every action that we take now will contribute towards a healthier school year and a healthier community for the remainder of 2021. Stay the course, stay COVID-wise, and stay safe.

With gratitude,


Dr. Vera Etches,

Medical Officer of Health

Ottawa Public Health

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