Keeping Members Informed
This section of the website has been created to keep OCSTA members informed regarding the impact of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 on CDSB communities.
On March 31, Premier Ford and Minister Lecce announced that the province would be extending school closures until May 4th and launching the second phase of the Learn at Home program to support continuity of learning. Read more…
On March 12, the Minister of Education, the Hon. Stephen Lecce announced that all schools in Ontario would be closed from March 14 to April 5. That date may be extended. Read announcement.
On March 30, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. David Williams, issued a statement outlining further recommendations to support reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Dr. Williams also suggested that given the greater risk of severe outcomes to Ontarians who are elderly, he is strongly recommending that individuals over 70 years of age to self-isolate.
Message to OCSTA Members
March 24, 2020
As Catholic Trustees charged with the task of providing leadership for our Catholic schools in Ontario, these are unique and challenging times for our system and the entire province. To protect the safety of all, we are facing a school closure of at least another two weeks, if not longer, in an attempt to flatten the curve on the spread of the Novel Coronavirus – COVID-19.
It is at times like this, that we look to our faith and our tradition as a people of hope to keep us focused on working through these challenges with as much clarity and compassion as possible.
We are working collaboratively with the Minister of Education, government staff and our partners in education to assess the constantly changing environment and to make decisions that are responsible and responsive to the needs of students and parents in our Catholic schools.
As leaders in your community, we know how important it is for you to have timely information tailored to the specific needs of Catholic trustees and we are working diligently to provide that information to you here on this web page and in regular emails to your boards.
Like many organizations across the province, our staff at OCSTA are working remotely. Calls to our office are being forwarded automatically to staff so you can be assured that your calls will be answered, and as always staff can be accessed at their individual email addresses.
In a previous memo, I indicated that we will be postponing our 2020 spring AGM and Conference that was to have been held at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa. We are still in the process of determining what decisions will be made with respect to the rescheduling of this event.
Finally, the planned May 4th Catholic Education Week Youth Day has been cancelled and a memo was sent to all boards.
These are challenging days and each day seems to bring new facts to inform our decisions. Your Association will continue to provide as much information as we can to support all trustees.
Following is a prayer that has been shared widely since being published earlier in March in America Magazine and I believe it offers comfort and strength at this time:
Jesus Christ, you travelled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care.
Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbours from helping one another.
Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us.
Kerry Weber, A Coronavirus Prayer, America Magazine (March 2, 2020)
OCSTA Statement in Response to Provincial COVID-19 Measures
“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education in Ontario has been significant. Temporary province-wide school closures to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation for students, parents and staff.
Catholic school boards will continue to follow the directions of the provincial government and local health officials to support the safety and well-being of students and families.
OCSTA is working closely with the Minister of Education, government staff and partners in education to identify timely and appropriate solutions and strategies to support students and families during these challenging times.
We encourage students and parents to follow closely the communications being shared by local Catholic school boards with respect to educational programming, services and supports.”