Ontario's back-to-school plan, driving up vaccinations, and returning to the office: Five stories to watch in Ottawa this week
A person walks past a storefront advertising their back to school sale, in Ottawa, on the Labour Day Long Weekend, Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
OTTAWA -- Back to school plans, getting those final jabs, and how will the pandemic progress in August?
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch this week.
Back to school plans
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has promised a "comprehensive" back to school plan this week, with five weeks of summer left.
Ford told reporters last week that he has "every confidence in the world" that the province will be ready for school to resume in September.
A back-to-school plan was originally supposed to be delivered in July. Ford said Education Minister Stephen Lecce would announce the plan early this week, though a date has yet to be announced.
Last week, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore told reporters the COVID-19 outbreak management plan for the new school year applies separate sets of rules based on vaccination status.
Vaccination home stretch
Ottawa Public Health and the City of Ottawa will be shifting their focus on COVID-19 vaccines as they attempt to reach a lofty goal of 90 per cent coverage among the eligible population.
As of Friday, 84 per cent of residents 12 and older have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 71 per cent had two.
Some mass vaccination clinics have closed, though four remain open for residents who still need a first or second dose. Anyone who wants a vaccine can walk in without an appointment to receive one.
There are also several pop-up vaccination clinics scheduled through the week and OPH is making mobile vaccination teams available to businesses, community groups, and places of worship upon request.
A Step 3 long weekend
Monday is Colonel By Day in Ottawa. The Civic Holiday long weekend in Ontario comes as the province remains in Step 3 of the Ontario government's reopening plan, which allows for indoor dining and larger crowds than we saw on Canada Day.
Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches told CTV News at Six last week that Ottawa is "staying the course" when it comes to the pandemic, noting that the COVID-19 wastewater monitoring level has remained low and that continued mask use and physical distancing has kept the virus level manageable in the city.
As of Sunday, Ottawa had 51 confirmed active cases of COVID-19 and there were zero COVID-19 patients in the hospital.
Government workers return to the office
A small number of federal employees are set to return to their office towers in the national capital region this week.
Tens of thousands of federal employees have been working from home since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving office towers in Ottawa and Gatineau practically empty, much to the dismay of local businesses that rely on the foot traffic from public servants.
Public Services and Procurement Canada says about 200 federal employees will be making their way back to offices this week as part of a pilot project that will inform a broader return-to-workplaces plan.
Final week for the Summer Games
It's the final week of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
Gatineau, Que.'s Nick Hoag will be among the men competing in the men's volleyball quarterfinal on Monday.
Canada also faces the United States in the women's soccer semifinal in Monday.
Canadians will be taking to the water Tuesday with water polo, canoe sprints, and artistic swimming events. Canoe sprints continue through the week. Men's and women's 10 m platform diving events are also scheduled.
The closing ceremony will be held Aug. 8.