Back to 'pure learning', as high school students return to class

·2 min read
Students wait outside St. Patrick's High School before the first day of classes on Tuesday. (Francis Ferland/CBC News - image credit)
Students wait outside St. Patrick's High School before the first day of classes on Tuesday. (Francis Ferland/CBC News - image credit)

Students returned to class at English Catholic high schools across Ottawa on Tuesday with the quadmester system, mandatory masks, and a ban on large assemblies and field trips.

Some of the students who gathered outside St. Patrick's High School before classes began Tuesday said they were happy to be learning in person after 18 months of pandemic disruptions.

"I don't want any breaks this year. I just want pure learning in school," said Grade 9 student Joseph Kealey.

"The last two years for me, they've been difficult. So I'm really hoping this year will be a new experience and I'll be able to enjoy it."

Jonathan Math, who also starts Grade 9 this year, said it was exciting to see new people and old friends.

WATCH | Students return to class in Ottawa's English Catholic board:

Parents switched to in-person class

St. Pat's principal Marline Al Koura said many parents who had previously registered their children in online learning reversed that decision in the final days of August.

"I think a lot of them are reassured about the measures we have in place," said Al Koura.

Rita Saliba said she felt safer her family is now fully vaccinated as her son starts at St. Pat's in Grade 7.

"That's why we're not as worried as before," she said.

Francis Ferland/CBC News
Francis Ferland/CBC News

Catholic board staff not yet mandated to get vaccine

Trustees for the Ottawa Catholic School Board passed a motion on Aug. 31 to direct senior administration to develop a mandatory vaccination policy for all staff, but that still needs to be finalized.

The policy will be presented to trustees next Tuesday.

The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board has already made vaccination mandatory for all staff.

The English Catholic board has followed others in sending a letter to Education Minister Stephen Lecce to request province-wide mandatory vaccination for education workers.

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