February 10, 2022 - Upcoming PA Day and Family Day, 2022 Black History Ottawa Youth Leadership Awards, Rapid Antigen Tests and more

February 10, 2022 - Upcoming PA Day and Family Day, 2022 Black History Ottawa Youth Leadership Awards, Rapid Antigen Tests and more
Posted on 02/10/2022

Dear Families, 


We want to address the impact of protests on schools and on the members of our community. Over the past two weeks, we have been closely monitoring and have shared information with students, staff and families of schools in the downtown area.


Today, information circulated on social media that suggested protesters may start driving past Ottawa schools. This idea is unacceptable. Schools are places for learning, and the safety of students and staff should not be threatened. In a statement on this we explained that staff are aware and if at any time there is reason for concern about safety at a school, a shelter in place will be activated.


There are also reports about efforts to plan provincial wide walkouts in schools on Friday, February 11th. We are not aware of any plans in Ottawa, but wanted to ensure that parents were aware. We understand that the stated purpose of the walkouts is to end mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions at schools. We respect student voice and the exchange of ideas, but the OCDSB does not sanction or endorse walkouts which interrupt the instructional day. Regular learning activities are planned for tomorrow.  


We recognize that this continues to be a challenging time for many. The ongoing noise, disruption and protests can be intimidating and can cause distraction and stress for students and their families or caregivers. At the bottom of this message, we have included information about dealing with stress and safety tips.  


Upcoming PA Day and Family Day

Friday, February 18th is a PA Day for elementary and secondary schools. The OCDSB Extended Day Program will be closed on Friday, February 18th.

Monday, February 21st is Family Day and there will be no classes for elementary or secondary students on these dates. The Extended Day Program will be closed on Monday, February 21st. 


2022 Black History Ottawa Youth Leadership Awards 

Congratulations to South Carleton student AmaturRaheem Salam-Alada and the student leaders of the Black 365 Student Union at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Secondary School, who were recently awarded the 2022 Black History Ottawa Youth Leadership Award! Their tremendous leadership and work organizing events, advocating for change and supporting Black students has made an impact. Read more on our website.  


Combating Islamophobia in Schools 

The Ministry of Education announced expanded efforts to combat Islamophobia in schools. The OCDSB welcomed this news and the support it brings to our commitment to ensuring learning and working spaces are safe and welcoming for Muslim students, staff and communities, and free from discrimination and hate. Read more on the Ontario government’s website


Toonie Tuesday is Coming Up on February 22nd! 

Toonie Tuesday is just over a week away! Toonie Tuesday supports the Education Foundation of Ottawa's (EFO) efforts to provide vulnerable OCDSB students with access to food, clothing, school supplies, healthcare supports, and opportunities for learning and recreation. Please consider:

  • Making a one-time or monthly donation to the Toonie Tuesday campaign online (you will receive your charitable tax receipt right away by email)
  • Donating through your School Cash Online Account
  • Sending your child to school with $2 (or more) anytime between now and Toonie Tuesday (please ensure the money is put into a plastic baggie for safe handling). 

To learn more, visit www.educationfoundationottawa.ca or follow their accounts on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.


Register Now! Technology and Trades Event: A Pathway for all Students

On Thursday, February 24th, the OCDSB invites students, parents and guardians, and staff for the second annual Technology and Trades: A Pathway for all Students. This virtual conference will take place from 3:45 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. and includes exciting presenters and a variety of booth exhibitors, all sharing career pathways in skilled trades and technology. For registration and more information, visit the event page.


New Scholarship Opportunities for Secondary Students 

New scholarships continue to be available for secondary students, including The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association’s Public Property Assessment Network Scholarship (apply by May 20th, 2022), and the ICON x KPMG Scholarship-Internship program for Black students in grade 12 (apply by March 4th, 2022). Learn more -  visit our website


Expansion of Child Care Spaces in Ottawa - Early Years Capital Program

The OCDSB will receive $600,000 from the Ministry of Education for the expansion of childcare at W.E. Gowling Public School. This will provide an additional toddler room and 1 preschool room. Learn more on our website


Ontario Takes Action to Protect Students and Children

The OCDSB was pleased to learn more details about provincial plans to strengthen protections for children and youth from sexual abuse and other crimes. This includes plans to publicly disclose and make parents and guardians aware of educators that have been involved in sexual abuse and other serious criminal proceedings, and the requirement that all certified educators now complete a comprehensive mandatory sexual abuse prevention program. Visit the Ontario government’s website to read more. 


Dates of Significance 

February 11th is the International Day of Women and Girls in ScienceHave a Heart Day is a child and youth-led reconciliation event taking place on February 14th. National Flag Day of Canada is recognized February 15th, and Random Act of Kindness Day is recognized on February 17th. Remember to follow us on social media and visit our website for additional resources and to learn more about the important dates of significance we recognize throughout the year. We will be sharing more February dates in our upcoming updates.


COVID-19 UPDATES AND PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATION 

Based on data from Ottawa Public Health, we have seen a continued decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in our community over the month of January. We are pleased to report that in schools, students and staff are settling into routine with regular COVID-19 safety practices in place. 

Last week marked the start of the second secondary semester and we are pleased to have returned to a four course schedule. We are also in the process of resuming some additional activities in schools including some student clubs and intramurals, the use of wind instruments and ensembles, and inter-school sporting activities, outdoors without masking and indoors with masking. More information will be coming soon.


Rapid Antigen Tests 

An additional shipment of Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) are currently being distributed to schools. Schools will provide a new kit of two tests to students who indicate they have used one or both of their original tests and require replacements. For more information, please follow up with your child’s school.

In addition, the Ontario government has announced that free rapid tests will be available beginning February 9th, 2022 at pharmacy and grocery stores across the province, and through community partners in vulnerable communities. A list of participating businesses and distribution details will be available at Ontario.ca/rapidtest. Additional information can be found on the Ontario.ca website.


Considerations for Travel During March Break

As of December 15, 2021, the federal government has recommended that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel due to the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation. For those who do choose to travel, restrictions are still changing on an ongoing basis. Please consult the federal government’s website regularly to stay informed on changing travel rules. If you have questions, you may contact the Public Health Agency of Canada at 1-833-784-4397. Please note, the OCDSB cannot provide guidance on individual travel plans.


Managing Stress

Everyone responds to stress differently. It’s important for parents to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and your child. When navigating times of stress, consider the following: 

  • Take care of yourself and reach out to your support networks through this time;
  • Model calm while also encouraging cautious behaviour;
  • Create space for conversations with your child about what they may be feeling/experiencing;
  • Validate your child’s feelings, ask them what they feel might help;
  • Avoid excessive media exposure; and
  • Reach out to school staff if needed.

Safety tips

In response to requests from parents about dealing with safety in the community right now, here are a few tips which you might consider discussing with your child.

  • Whenever possible, arrange for your child to walk with others to and from school;
  • Direct your child to avoid interacting with demonstrators when walking to and from school;
  • Have your child avoid large crowds of demonstrators or situations involving demonstrators and police;
  • Check-in on your child when they arrive home from school; and
  • Remind them to trust their instincts. If they see or hear anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, advise them to share this with safe adults.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…


Register for OCV by February 22, 2022: A reminder that families wanting to register their child for Ottawa-Carleton Virtual (OCV) school for the 2022-2023 school year must do so by February 22, 2022. Register using this form or learn more on our website. 


Elementary Report Cards: Report cards will be sent to elementary families on Wednesday, February 16th. Learn more on our website


Voluntary COVID-19 Disclosure Form and Dashboard: A reminder that cases of COVID-19 can be reported on the Voluntary COVID-19 Reporting Dashboard. To learn more about how this confidential tool works, submit a case, or read frequently asked questions, please visit our website.


Thank you, 


Camille Williams-Taylor

Director of Education

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