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Ottawa parents attempting to contact trace in schools, daycares via Facebook group

"We need more information to be able to make the best choice for our family," Kristy Simons told CityNews' The Sam Laprade Show.
2020-09-02 OCDSB school COVID-19 protocol social distance 5
An Ottawa-Carleton District School Board school with COVID-19 measures in place, September 2, 2020. Photo/ OCDSB

More than 6,300 people are part of a growing Facebook group, aimed at providing Ottawa parents with more information regarding COVID-19 cases within their child's school.

'Ottawa Contract Tracing Schools and Daycare (Unofficial Self Reporting)' was started by local parents who don't agree with recent health and safety measure put in place for schools by the Government of Ontario.

The province recently told parents they would be notified when 30 per cent of their child's school population is absent. Ottawa Public Health (OPH), meanwhile, has said that students who are showing COVID-19 symptoms are still asked to notify their close contacts as they stay away from school.

"We need more information to be able to make the best choice for our family," Kristy Simons, who helps run the Facebook group, told CityNews' The Sam Laprade Show on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. "And that information has been taken away from us since those changes have been made."

The way the Facebook page works, according to Simons, is there are albums within the group which represent school boards and child care organizations. Schools and child care centres are then represented by photos, and its up to parents to report potential COVID cases by commenting on those photos.

Simons says she is an immunocompromised early childhood educator, who helps run a before and after school program.

"If I have to stay home because my child has a symptom or I have a symptom, it doesn't just affect me, it affects 40 to 60 other people, which are other children in my group and their parents," she explained. "That's why so many of us value needing this information, because we need to keep everybody healthy and safe, and informed as possible so life can go on and the economy can keep moving."

Simons says she's also added mental health resources to the group.

Listen to her full conversation with Sam Laprade:

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