Schools are a protective factor for our children and families

Schools are a protective factor for our children and families


Schools and the school environment are one of the most important protective factors for the well-being of students and their families. Whether you are attending in-person or online, school connectedness is an important part of the healthy development of students. School connectedness is a sense of belonging and the belief by students that the adults in their school care about their learning and about them as individuals.


Through daily contact and with caring and supporting relationships, schools facilitate healthy development for children and youth. Schools offer children and youth opportunities to:

  • participate and contribute in their learning and growth;
  • promote confidence in a child or youth’s ability to achieve;
  • strengthen resilience and reduce the effects of stressful life events; and
  • encourages positive social and emotional learning.

These protective factors foster positive experiences  which can help children and youth avoid risky behaviours and prevent problems from occurring in the future.


Our schools in Ottawa are open and providing a safe environment for our children/youth to learn, grow and be meaningfully connected to others. They are maximizing opportunities for in-person learning and have made the health, safety and well-being of students their top priority.


For example, schools follow many preventative measures including but not limited to:

  • Mandatory self-screening for students, teachers and staff
    • Students, teachers and school staff need to check for symptoms of illness every day before going to school.
  • Students are in cohorts, which means they are with the same group of children throughout the school day.
  • Schools must keep records of:
    • Classes or cohorts
    • Seating charts
    • Bus cohorts
    • Any essential visitors who are approved to enter the school
  • Schools will provide these records to public health for contact tracing.
  • Non-essential visitors, including parents, are not allowed in schools*
    • *Note: visitors may be allowed in the school if the principal has given them an appointment, respect all health regulations and complete a self-assessment questionnaire before entering.
  • Signs are in place to reinforce self-screening for symptoms of illness, hand hygiene, physical distancing and one-way traffic in hallways and bathrooms
  • For younger students, frequent hand washing has been incorporated into the daily routine.
  • Hand sanitizer at key locations throughout the school
  • Changes to how students use playgrounds and school grounds
  • Enhance Cleaning and disinfection
    • Equipment and washrooms are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.
  • Face coverings
    • Students in Grades 1 to 12 must wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, as well as on school transportation.
    • Many younger than grade 1 are also wearing masks even if not required.

Check with your school or school board for more information

If a COVID-19 case is confirmed at your school Ottawa Public Health will determine what happens .


It is normal to feel stress during uncertain times. Please know there are supports available within our community. A complete list of mental health resources and services can be found at


Keeping schools open remains a priority for our community, and by continuing to follow the COVID WISE steps, we can keep our schools open and contribute to supporting the positive development and wellness of our children and families.