Good evening Kanata North,
Today, the Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the difficult decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning following the April break. This move has been made in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants, and the massive spike in hospital admissions. More details can be found here.
As a parent of three school age children, I recognize that today’s announcement is tough for many, myself included. I’ve received a number of emails from concerned parents who need to rely on family and others for childcare in the coming weeks with the announced move to remote learning. This is acknowledged and permissible. It’s okay if you need help. I know I do. We are all doing our best to keep our loved ones safe.
Now move than ever, please remember that not everyone with COVID-19 will have symptoms. Even if you are feeling well, you must still follow the prevention measures in place – masking and distancing – when you are around others outside your household. That includes people you know, love, and trust – friends, extended family, colleagues, and neighbours.
The province-wide stay-at-home order remains in full effect. Please adhere to the rules: Stay home. Stay safe.
The Province is taking steps to support parents and caregivers through this shift to remote learning. Some of these measures include:
- Childcare for non-school age children will remain open.
- Free emergency childcare for school age children of healthcare and frontline workers will be provided once elementary students have moved to remote learning,
- The Province is working on preparing a childcare plan for the children of parents that cannot work from home.
Schooling and other services
- School boards will continue to provide in person learning for students with special education needs who cannot attend school remotely.
- Before and after school programs will be closed
Letter of Instruction to businesses
In addition to the new provincial restrictions, Dr. Vera Etches has issued a Letter of Instruction to all employers, businesses and organizations permitted to be open to take additional measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. These new measures include:
- Increased reporting requirements when two or more people test positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day interval in connection to the workplace;
- Ensuring that all employees are aware of any benefits and/or pay to which they may be entitled in the event that they must isolate; and
- Requirements to actively monitor and manage capacity limits in businesses, and physical distancing and masking in outdoor line ups as people wait to access the business. At minimum one staff person must be designated to monitor and manage the applicable capacity limit and verify compliance with the physical distancing and mask-wearing requirements of individuals in line-ups.
Documentation of how your workplace will do this, is required in your workplace COVID-19 safety plan.
Outdoor safety reminder
I encourage residents to get outdoors and enjoy this beautiful weather in our community, but please do so safely. I received many emails and calls over the weekend of reports that some residents did not follow the stay-at-home restrictions or safely shared public spaces.
Ottawa Public Health strongly recommends people wear masks in our parks. Though it may be necessary to remove masks for some vigorous activities, you are encouraged to keep your mask on as much as possible. If you are performing exercise in public, like running or cycling, be sure to stay physically distanced from others.
The COVID-19 variants-of-concern, which are prominent in our community, are much more contagious and transmissible – even outdoors. Masks protect residents from the spread and will help us turn around the current surge of the virus.
For more on being COVIDWise outdoors, please visit OPH’s website.
The province is in the early stage of phase 2 in the vaccination rollout plan. Residents 60 years of age and older can receive a vaccine; additionally, residents age 55 and older are eligible for vaccines at select pharmacies. The vaccine supply is increasing and so are the number of people that are eligible to receive it. More details below.
Who is eligible In Ottawa under Phase 2?
- Adults 60 years of age and older
- Adults 55 or older are eligible for vaccination at participating pharmacies and primary care settings
- Individuals with health conditions listed below and their caregiver
- People who live and work in high-risk congregate settings
- Caregivers in select congregate care settings
- Non-frontline moderate priority health care workers, such as those working remotely or those not requiring personal protective equipment at work.
- Essential frontline workers who cannot work from home, including education workers
- The province will now be prioritizing the vaccination of all education workers who support students with special education needs.
- The province will also be prioritizing the vaccination of all educators working in select “hot spot” areas.
For further details on vaccine eligibility in Ottawa please visit OPH’s website.
Individuals with the following highest-risk health conditions will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination:
- Organ transplant recipients;
- Hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients;
- People with neurological diseases in which respiratory function may be compromised (e.g., motor neuron disease, myasthenia gravis, multiple sclerosis);
- Haematological malignancy diagnosed less than one year ago;
- Kidney disease eGFR< 30
- Essential caregivers for individuals in the groups listed above.
- Patients with the specific health conditions listed above, as well as their essential caregiver will be identified for vaccination due to an increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19, regardless of age.
How to book a vaccine at a community clinic (60+)
Eligible residents can book an appointment on the online provincial booking portal or by calling 1-833-943-3900 for Ottawa’s community vaccination clinics:
- Nepean Sportsplex
- Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA
- Eva James Memorial Community Centre
- City Hall
How to book a vaccine at a pharmacy (55+)
May pharmacies in Ottawa are providing vaccinations to Ottawa residents age 55 and older. Additional information as well as participating locations can be found on the Province of Ontario website.
These vaccinations are separate from Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa’s vaccination roll-out. Residents are asked to call participating pharmacies directly or the Province of Ontario Vaccination Information Line at 1-888-999-6488 if they have questions on the pharmacy vaccination program.
The remaining eligible groups in Phase 2 will be vaccinated over the coming months. I understand that many residents will have questions on whether they are eligible, when they will be vaccinated and how they get the vaccines. This includes residents who are 50 years and older living in COVID-19 hotspot communities. Please do not call Ottawa Public Health or 3-1-1. I will provide more information as it becomes available.
Just days ago, on April 9, Dr. Etches compared the pandemic to running a marathon. As a runner myself, this resonated with me.
We have been “training” for more than a year. We are tired, fatigued and we want this to be over. This is the point in our COVID marathon where we are hitting the wall. This is our defining moment. The moment we break through the wall by taking one careful step at a time. The moment we dedicate each step to getting us toward the end of this. We will not give up. We will not fall. Vaccines are our fuel, and so are our behaviours. And those, together, are what will get us across that finish line.
Please reach out if you need anything. I know how hard this is. Myself and your community are here if you need assistance.
Stay home, stay safe.