On October 15, 2021 Dr. Vera Etches, Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health released the following letter:
“Dear parents, guardians and families,
I am writing to share my assessment that the pandemic situation is improving and to thank you for continuing to do what is needed to keep children and youth in school this fall. In-person learning makes such a difference for the well-being of children, youth and families.
My outlook this fall is one of cautious optimism. I am hopeful that we can continue to have safer spaces to learn and work. Almost 90 per cent of people 12 and older have the protection of vaccines and so very few people are requiring hospitalization with severe COVID-19 illness now. Yet, a number of children remain unvaccinated and COVID-19 rates are highest in children five-11 years old. I know it can be concerning when you hear of COVID-19 cases in schools. We need your help to keep outbreaks rare and limited, so children and youth do not miss in-person school by having to stay home after an exposure to COVID-19.
How to keep your children as safe as possible
Limiting close contacts, especially for unvaccinated children and youth, means:
- limiting the number of extra-curricular activities where there are different groups in close contact,
- choosing outdoor activities as much as possible,
- avoiding prolonged and unmasked indoor exposures such as sleepovers, and
- keeping social activities outside of school to smaller groups to make follow-up easier if there is a COVID-19 exposure.
Vaccines for children ages five to 11 are coming
In the weeks to come, we anticipate announcements from the federal and provincial governments that will make COVID-19 vaccine available for children aged five to 11. I know families will have questions about the vaccines and we are working with community partners to make sure that you have all the information you need when COVID-19 vaccines are available for your children. Planning is underway, and we will be ready to offer approved vaccines when they are supplied to us….
You can view the full letter here.