May 27, 2022 - Changes to the OCDSB’s Mandatory Masking Policy, Student Technology Survey for Students in Grades 7-12, and more.

May 27, 2022 - Changes to the OCDSB’s Mandatory Masking Policy, Student Technology Survey for Students in Grades 7-12, and more.
Posted on 05/27/2022

Hello OCDSB Students, 

Thank you again for your patience as many of our staff worked to respond and adapt to the various power and internet outages affecting our community. 

It has been a hard week. We would like to extend our sincere condolences to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time. We know the impact of this storm continues to challenge many who are experiencing power loss, financial hardship and stress.

At the same time, we are deeply saddened by the tragic events at Robb Elementary School in Texas. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, and the community. Our sincere condolences go out to the loved ones of each victim and the communities grieving in the wake of this horrific act.

In a year that has been challenging for so many families, facing yet another significant stressor has been difficult to comprehend, especially as we also continue to navigate even more stories of pain and loss we hear in the news.

We all react to these things differently - we might be worried, afraid, or even irritated or angry. Here are a few ways you can try to prioritize your mental health during these difficult times: 

  • Share your thoughts, feelings and emotions with a trusted adult, including the uncomfortable ones such as fear, anger and frustration
  • Try to keep a regular routine, including getting enough sleep
  • Limit your exposure to the news and social media when you start to feel overwhelmed
  • Try to focus on stories where the community has come together
  • Know your limits and reach out for support as needed.

If you would like to know how your school can help, please reach out to your teacher or guidance counsellor. For a list of other helpful resources, you can also visit Ottawa Public Health’s website or our mental health resource page.

Reminder: Four OCDSB Schools Open for Charging Devices from 4:00 - 9:00 p.m.

The OCDSB is opening Canterbury High School, Roberta Bondar Public School, Woodroffe High School, and Carleton Heights Public School from 4:00 to 9:00 p.m. today, Friday, May 27, to allow the public in impacted areas to charge devices. Learn more on our website

Changes to the OCDSB’s Mandatory Masking Policy  

Effective Monday, May 30, 2022, the OCDSB will shift its policy on the wearing of masks from “mandatory” to “strongly encouraged”. The mandatory mask mandate has been in place by Board motion, since April. The motion indicated that mask use would continue until such time as Ottawa Public Health (OPH) may explicitly advise otherwise. On May 20th, 2022, Ottawa Public Health communicated the following data to Ottawa-area school boards: 

  • Wastewater viral levels are decreasing, bringing them to less than half of what they were earlier this spring and lower than the January 2022 peak;
  • Testing percent positivity is moderate and levels are decreasing; 
  • New hospital admissions are low and decreasing; and
  • New confirmed outbreaks are low and decreasing. 

The trends in these monitoring indicators suggest that COVID-19 transmission in Ottawa continues to decrease at a steady pace, which is consistent with data reported by the Ontario Science Table. Both the local and provincial data show a steady decrease, indicating that we have reached the point to adjust our practice. We continue to strongly encourage the wearing of masks and will respect decision-making made by students, families, and staff based on personal risk factors.

Student Technology Survey for Students in Grades 7-12

On Monday, May 30th, students in grades 7-12 will receive an email to their OCDSB account, asking you to complete a very short (10 minute) survey. The survey will ask questions about your experiences using technology, and the impact this has had on your learning over the past few years. The survey is anonymous and does not collect any personally identifying information, and your responses will help us to make informed decisions as we work to develop the next Technology Plan. You can read the current plan, Transforming How We Learn and Work, on our website.

Community Recognition Awards: Announcing our Nominees

On Monday, we are looking forward to announcing this year’s nominees for the Community Recognition Awards. The Community Recognition Awards provide a wonderful opportunity to recognize our outstanding volunteers for the impact they have had on their school community or throughout the OCDSB. Thank you to all who submitted a nomination, and thank you to all our volunteers for your hard work and dedication in support of students, families, and staff members.

Upcoming Events 

Important: Change in Date - Innovation Celebration

Due to unforeseen circumstances arising from the storm's aftermath, the Elementary portion of the Innovation Celebration event, scheduled for tomorrow, May 27, has been postponed to June. The new date will be announced later. The Secondary portion scheduled for Monday, May 30 will continue as planned. Secondary staff and students are invited to attend the virtual event which includes various webinars highlighting innovative experiential learning activities happening across the OCDSB. Register Now.

National Indigenous History Month 

June is National Indigenous History Month, a time to learn about and celebrate the beauty and brilliance of First Nations, Inuit and Métis People. Throughout the month, we will be sharing information and resources on our website and social media to help students, staff, and families learn and celebrate National Indigenous History Month and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21st. For further learning resources, please feel welcome to reach out to the Indigenous Education Learning Team.

Pride Month 

Throughout the month of June, the OCDSB will be celebrating Pride Month. Pride Month is an opportunity for all to celebrate diversity while learning about the contributions, achievements, histories of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals and communities. We will be sharing more on our website and social media channels about opportunities to celebrate and participate in Pride Month in the coming weeks. 

Important Dates 

Next week, both National AccessAbility Week and Bike to School Week are recognized in Canada. The month of June is also Portuguese Heritage Month, Italian Heritage Month, and Brain Injury Awareness Month. June 1st is recognized as Intergenerational Day and International Day of Parents. Please visit our website and follow us on social media to learn more about various dates throughout the year. 

In case you missed it…

Google Hangouts for Students during Jewish Heritage Month: There will be one more Google Hangout this month for Jewish students in grades 7-12, taking place on Monday, May 30th. Students can ask their student success teacher, principal, or vice principal for the nickname.

Thank you, 

Camille Williams-Taylor 

Director of Education


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