No excursions or large assemblies for the Ottawa Catholic School Board

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The province is allowing school boards and local public health units to add their own health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19.

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School trips, large indoor gatherings and non-essential visitors will not be permitted when students return to English Catholic schools in Ottawa this fall.

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The Ottawa Catholic School Board released a back-to-school update on Tuesday that contains these and several other pandemic protocols not required by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Ministry guidelines allow elementary and secondary schools to reopen in a relatively normal fashion, with students attending full-time five days a week. Field trips, gatherings, indoor sports, music lessons and extracurricular activities are permitted with certain distance restrictions. Cafeterias and libraries can open and restrictions on student-to-student exchanges have been relaxed compared to last year.

However, the province is also allowing local school boards and public health units to add their own health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19.

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Elementary students at the Ottawa Catholic School Board will continue to eat in classrooms this year, says the message that was posted on the council’s website and sent to families.

For high school students, principals “will continue to organize lunch routines based on the size of the school, the availability of schedules and the ability to use different areas of the school for lunch.” This can result in several hours of lunch to minimize the number of students meeting at any one time.

“This practice is similar to the successful model we implemented last year,” the post said. “High school students have always had the option of leaving school property to have lunch or eat out, which will continue. “

The Catholic council will limit the mixing of students in the different cohorts during the first months of the school year, in particular by continuing to minimize the mixing of classes at recess.

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Provincial back-to-school guidelines allow singing and the use of wind instruments in well-ventilated spaces as long as students are two meters apart.

Although all classrooms on the board have adequate ventilation, most of them are not large enough to accommodate the two-meter distance. Therefore, “regular O Canada singing or other songs will not be allowed in most classrooms,” the post added.

Students will meet the provincial requirement that children in grades 1 to 12 wear cloth masks indoors. Masks are not compulsory outside.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board held a special meeting Tuesday night to discuss its back-to-school rules, including a proposal to require kindergarten students to wear masks.

School counselors from the Ottawa Catholic School Board did not hold a meeting to discuss additional COVID-19 restrictions in their schools.

“We will continue to follow Ottawa Public Health’s health advice with respect to operational items such as kindergarten students wearing masks and whether gatherings or other school operational items need to take place,” he said. spokesperson Sharlene Hunter said in a statement. “Our administrators are not involved in the day-to-day operations of schools, so this is about school practices rather than administrator policy making.”

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