To Westmount Staff and Families,

We are pleased to share the information below from the Acting Deputy Minister of Education regarding changes to official communications about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joe Frank


Westmount Charter School


As students and staff returned to in-person learning this week, I recognize you have undertaken extensive preparations to make sure schools follow COVID-19 precautions and welcome students and staff safely.

As we support students learning during a pandemic, clear communication with staff and families is essential. Department staff, along with the Minister of Education, have spoken with many of our education partners about the need to make the COVID-19 status map easier to understand. Many parents and staff find the terms confusing, and emphasize the need for clarity when communicating about outbreaks to the school community.

That’s why I’m pleased to let you know that language describing case numbers of COVID-19 in schools is being updated based on feedback from our education partners and public health officials. Effective January 18, the following terminology will be used:

─        Alert: 1 case

─        Alert: 2-4 cases

─        Outbreak: 5-9 cases

─        Outbreak: 10+ cases

The term ‘watch’, which many of you told us was confusing, will no longer be used.

To be clear, public health support provided to students, staff and families remains unchanged. Parents will continue to be notified when there is a single case in their child’s school, and an investigation will be initiated when there are two or more cases in school. Two or more cases will continue to be reported and reflected on the COVID-19 school map.

Additional guidance materials for learning during COVID-19 will be updated to reflect this change and are available at I hope these changes are useful to you and help to make communication with families, staff and students easier.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to department staff should you have any needs or questions. Thank you, once again, for all of your efforts and collaboration during this time.


Jeff Willan

Acting Deputy Minister of Education