Dear International Students and Parents,
Yesterday, the Ontario government announced that all schools will be closed to students from March 14 to April 5th, 2020. This includes all OCDSB elementary and secondary schools. At this time, there are many unanswered questions about this decision, including the impact on March Break camps, school year calendar, and other issues. The Ministry has announced that some additional details will follow and some decisions will be local board decisions. What we are able to confirm at this time is that students will not attend school during this period.
This decision was made to help reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus is a respiratory infection that causes flu-like symptoms including fever, cough and difficulty breathing. You can learn more about the virus from this Public Health Canada Coronavirus Fact Sheet. We will need to work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
We know that international students may be travelling during March Break and that it may be difficult to cancel travel plans now. The chief Public Officer of Health is asking for the public to postpone or cancel international trips. If students plan to travel over the March Break, please take all safety precautions. For travel outside of Canada, follow Government of Canada Travel Advisories, and be aware that this situation is changing rapidly.
If you do decide to travel internationally over the March break, please ensure that your Host family is aware and can continue to host you after you return Please check the Ottawa Public Health recommendations for self-isolation, prior to your return. We would hope that all students are in a position to return to school on April 6, 2020.
Over the next three weeks, we will be updating you on the situation in Ottawa as more information becomes available.
How can you stay healthy?
Some of the things that you can do to help reduce the risk and possible spread of the Coronavirus are:
wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze;
avoid touching your face and eyes;
if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm;
reduce your attendance at large public gatherings;
stay home if you are ill; and
get a yearly influenza vaccination, available from clinics and pharmacies.
Here is some additional information that might be helpful.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed. Thank you for your patience and support during this challenging time.