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Novel Coronavirus Information for Parents

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Novel Coronavirus Information for Parents

The safety, health and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. We appreciate that parents and guardians may have questions about the Novel Coronavirus and how this will be managed in schools.

The OCDSB is actively involved in communication with Ottawa Public Health and with the Office of the Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health. We take guidance on health matters from our federal, provincial and local health authorities, including our partner Ottawa Public Health (OPH).

Latest information

Ottawa Public Health Update - February 6, 2020


If you have travelled to the affected region, been in close contact with someone who has Novel Coronavirus, or have health-related questions, call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or visit Ottawa Public Health website to learn more.

Self-isolation recommendations for: (1) returned travellers and (2) close contacts of confirmed novel coronavirus cases.

In Canada, it is now recommended that incoming travellers who were in Hubei province in China within the last 14 days immediately self-isolate, avoid contact with other people, and call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 for further advice.

The Ontario Ministry of Health also now recommends 14 days of self-isolation for any individual who has come in close contact with someone who is a confirmed case infected with the novel coronavirus.

Ottawa Public Health has prepared a handout on Home Isolation for Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in EnglishFrench and Simplified Chinese.

Parents are asked to check Ottawa Public Health’s Novel Coronavirus web page for information on the virus, regular updates, and other tips and resources on how to best prevent the spread of germs.

Parents wanting to stay informed can also monitor the Province of Ontario's novel coronavirus web page, which will be updated every week day at 10:30 a.m. ET.

The OCDSB will keep district and school websites up to date with the most current information relevant to our schools.

Risk to residents of Ottawa

The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with the current novel coronavirus infection in Wuhan, China as low for Canada. Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available. (Source: Ottawa Public Health)

Focusing on facts

Parents are asked to follow official sources for the latest updates on Novel Coronavirus.

As a school district, we pride ourselves on our diversity and our commitment to equity. While this virus can be traced to a province in China, it is important that we do not racialize the virus and allow this issue to give rise to discrimination based on fear, perception and stereotypes. At a time like this, we must come together and focus on the facts and recommendations from our health partners about how to mitigate the risk of the spread of this and other viruses.

Reducing the spread of germs

Ottawa Public Health has shared these recommendations to help reduce the spread of germs including the flu and the Novel Coronavirus:

  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth unless you have just washed your hands;
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm, not your hand;
  • If you are ill and need to visit a healthcare provider, call ahead or tell them right away when you arrive that you have a respiratory illness and wear a mask while waiting to be seen;
  • Avoid visiting people in hospitals or long-term care centres if you are sick; and
  • Get your flu shot.

Prevention measures in schools

As this is also flu season, we continue to remind students to follow proper handwashing techniques. Signs are also around schools as reminders for students, staff and visitors as well.

Ottawa Public Health Handwashing Poster (PDF)

Cleaning is an important part of our prevention strategy. In our schools, we are exercising our usual high standards of cleanliness, with our regular protocols of frequent and thorough cleaning. We are fully staffed to provide a complete cleaning of all facilities, every day. We are especially conscious of this high cleaning standard during flu season, and have dedicated staff performing this important function.

Should students wear masks?

Health professionals do not recommend students wear masks to school. The masks may increase the risk of contracting an illness as they may become contaminated. Healthcare providers dispose of their masks after each patient encounter which reduces the possibility of contamination.

Students should continue to cover their coughs or sneezes with a tissue or their arm and wash their hands afterwards. Parents are reminded to keep their child home if they are exhibiting signs of illness.

Recommendations to individuals with recent travel to China’s Hubei province

In Canada, it is now recommended that incoming travellers who were in Hubei province within the last 14 days self-isolate and connect with their local public health unit for further advice and monitoring.

Should there be a positive case of the novel Coronavirus, additional instructions are that anyone with close contact to that confirmed case also self-isolate for 14 days.

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