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Going to school during COVID-19

A variety of respiratory illnesses, such as COVID-19, Influenza (Flu) and Respiratory Syncitial Virus (RSV) continue to circulate in our communities.

Young children are at increased risk of serious illness, and we see the impact on the health care system with more medical visits and hospitalizations. These trends are expected to continue as the winter season progresses and we spend more time indoors.

See letter from Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Gardner, regarding high rates of illness in children, November 15, 2022.(ENG/FR)

We continue to recommend that all members of our school community take protective measures as part of the school routine this fall and winter.

Know your Risk

The Simcoe Muskoka COVID-19 Community Risk Level is updated weekly. The COVID-19 Community Risk Level will help you determine the best ways to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 infection and serious illness. Risk of infection and severe illness increases as community, personal and situational risk increases. As risks increase, add more layers of protection. The more precautions you take the better you and others around you will be protected.

Wear a Mask

We strongly recommend that all individuals wear a well-fitted three-layer mask or medical mask in indoor public settings, including school. This recommendation includes children two to five years of age if they can tolerate a mask. In addition, masking at home is strongly recommended if you have symptoms and have at-risk people in your household, including children under five years of age, older adults, or those with medical conditions.

We encourage school boards and schools to promote respectful, welcoming and inclusive practices and communications related to masking within their school communities.

Screen Daily and Stay Home if Feeling Unwell

Everyone should screen for symptoms daily using the Screening Tool and follow the instructions.

Keep your child home if they are sick with any symptom(s) of COVID-19, cold or flu. Children who are sick should stay home (self-isolate) until their symptom(s) have been improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours if they had nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea) and they do not have a fever.

Get Vaccinated

Getting the flu shot and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations is the best way to prevent serious illness.

Wash Your Hands and Clean High Touch Surfaces

Wash your hands often using proper hand hygiene and help/remind your child to as well. Disinfect high touch surfaces in your home often.  

Take additional precautions following illness, a positive COVID-19 test, or close contact exposure.

All symptoms are considered to be COVID-19 unless tested positive for another pathogen.  Therefore, for 10 days after developing symptoms:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including school and child care, unless under 2 years old).
  • Avoid non-essential activities where mask removal is necessary (for example, playing a wind instrument in music class or removing a mask for sports).
  • Avoid visiting anyone who is immunocompromised or may be at higher risk of illness (for example, seniors).
  • Avoid non-essential visits to highest risk settings such as hospitals and long-term care homes.

Household and close contacts of individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive COVID-19 test are also recommended to take these additional precautions for 10 days from their last exposure.

Individuals who are immunocompromised or live in a high-risk setting who have COVID-19 symptoms, or a positive test should still isolate for 10 days from their symptom onset or positive test result, whichever came first. After the 10 days, isolation can discontinue only if they no longer have a fever and their symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours, or 48 hours if they have gastrointestinal symptoms.

Hand hygiene


Respiratory etiquette

How to Cover Your Coughs and Sneezes (Respiratory Etiquette) Video – HKPR District Health Unit




Mental health and coping

  • Helping Children and Youth - includes webinars, pod casts, tip sheets, and more for parents, educators and child-caring professionals to support children and youth with stress and building resiliency.


Page last updated: March 8, 2023

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