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COVID-19

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Students must screen for symptoms of COVID-19, every day.

Every day before attending school or child care all students MUST complete a COVID-19 Student Screening Tool. Guidance for what to do if your child does not pass the COVID-19 daily screening is included in this tool.

  • Elementary students: should be screened by their parent/caregiver daily.
  • Secondary students: can self-screen before going to school, but their parent/caregiver needs to check that the screen is done. Schools will be confirming that students have completed and passed daily self-screening.

REMINDER: If your child develops COVID-19 symptoms over the weekend that resolve prior to a school day, they are still required to obtain a negative test result from an assessment centre, or to isolate 10 days from symptom onset, before attending school again. 

NEW: October 6 , 2021 

Local public health units will be reviewing and assessing students’ COVID-19 vaccination information together with class lists to support case, contact and outbreak management within schools. This is only applicable to students eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., those born in 2009 or earlier). A letter sent to parents can be viewed here: COVID vaccination review letter English / French
 

What happens if there is COVID-19 at my child’s school?

Right now we are living with COVID-19 in our communities. The information below will help explain how we are working with school boards and schools to protect our local community.

The following document outlines the roles and responsibilities for managing cases and outbreaks at school: COVID-19 Management at Schools.

If someone at a school or child care centre tested positive for COVID-19 (English/French) the health unit will investigate. The person who tested positive must isolate and is not allowed to go to school. This helps to stop COVID-19 from spreading, while the health unit investigates.

The health unit will find out who else has been in close contact with the person with COVID-19. Only those children or youth identified as close contacts will be notified.

If you do NOT receive a letter from the health unit, your child is NOT a close contact and they can continue to go to school if they pass the COVID-19 school and child care screening.

If your child has been identified as a close contact of someone confirmed to have COVID-19 (See FAQ in ENG/FR) you will get a letter from the heath unit and it is important you follow the directions.

 You also need to do the following:

  • If your child is NOT fully vaccinated (received 2 doses with second dose being at least 14 days ago or more) they MUST:
  • Stay home (self-isolate) from school and cannot participate in recreational activities or socialize in person with others outside of your home.
  • Not leave your property unless it is to go for testing or to seek necessary medical attention.
  • Be tested at a local assessment centre, even if they don’t have symptoms (please do not use an at home testing kit/rapid antigen test kit). Household members do not have to get tested
  • If your child is fully vaccinated (received 2 doses with second dose being at least 14 days ago or more) they can continue to attend school as long as they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • It is still recommended that  you have them tested at a local assessment centre (please do not use an at home testing kit/rapid antigen test kits).

Household members need to do the following:

  • Household members who don’t have symptoms and are fully vaccinated or who have had COVID-19 within 90 days DON’T have to stay home (self-isolate).
  • Household members who don’t have symptoms and are not fully vaccinated should only leave home during their child’s isolation period for essential reasons including attending work/school/child care, running errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions. Do not attend social gatherings or recreational activities during this period of isolation.
  • If your child develops symptoms, household members who are not fully vaccinated must stay home while waiting for the child’s test results and cannot leave for essential reasons until negative test results are received.
  • All your household members regardless of their immunization status should self-isolate and get tested if they develop symptoms.

 

We investigate all situations in which a person has tested positive for COVID-19 in Simcoe and Muskoka.

The following document outlines the roles and responsibilities for managing cases and outbreaks at school: COVID-19 Management at Schools

An outbreak at school is declared when:

  • two or more COVID-19 cases in the school are confirmed by lab tests
  • the cases are students and/or staff (or other visitors) who have shared space or objects with each other
  • the cases happen within 14-days, where at least one case could have got COVID-19 in the school or child care setting (including transportation and before/after school care)

 

When investigating an outbreak, we will:

  • contact any students, staff or school visitors who test positive for COVID-19
  • determine if the person was at school during the time when the illness was most contagious
  • get information for who was close to the person who is sick, and contact them

 

Based on the results of this investigation,  we may recommend:

  • sending home students or staff for 10 days following the last contact with the person who tested positive for COVID-19
  • sending home the entire class and/or school bus and/or, before/after program and/or other close contacts, as needed
  • increasing cleaning and limiting activities at the school
  • testing of contacts (staff and students), including those with no symptoms

 

We will determine who is at risk and ensure that staff, families and students, are provided with information to protect themselves and those close to them and we will not give out personal information about any staff or student who is sick unless deemed necessary due to privacy laws.

Prevent COVID-19 at School

The Ministry of Education released COVID-19 health, safety and operational guidance for schools (2021-2022). The advice below is based on guidance and direction from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, and additional recommendations from our health unit:

  • Students in Grades 1 to 12 must wear masks:
    o in schools, including in hallways and during classes
    o on school transportation
  • Some school boards and schools require JK/SK students to wear masks, please check your school or school board policy.  

Parents and guardians should send 2-3 masks to school each day so the student can change them at each break and if they become dirty or wet.

DO’s 

  • Wear a non-medical 2-layer or 3-layer mask to protect yourself and others.
  • Ensure the mask is clean, dry and free of holes, rips or tears. 
  • Wash hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after touching the mask. 
  • Use the ear loops or ties to put on and remove the mask. 
  • Ensure the nose, mouth and chin are fully covered with no gaps.
  • The mask should be able to block light when held up to a bright light source.
  • Replace the mask whenever it becomes damp or dirty. 
  • Store re-usable masks in a clean paper bag until you wear it again. 
  • Discard masks that cannot be washed in a lined garbage bin after use.

DO NOT'S

  • Do not wear masks with exhalation valves or vents.
  • Do not wear mask made of thin fabric or with openings such as lace, mesh or crochet.
  • Do not wear bandanas, scarves, neck warmers or neck gaiters to school. These cannot be put on and taken off easily following proper masking technique and are less effective at filtering respiratory droplets compared to a cloth mask. 
  • Don’t wear a loose mask. 
  • Don’t touch the mask while wearing it. 
  • Don’t remove the masks to talk to someone. 
  • Don’t hang the mask from your ears or neck (lanyards). The use of lanyards is not recommended as the masks inside surface may be exposed to contaminated respiratory droplets as the mask hangs. 
  • Don’t share masks. 
  • Don’t leave used masks within the reach of others. 
  • Don’t reuse masks that are damp, dirty or damaged.

 

Wearing a mask is not required at school, while:

  • eating snacks or lunch (students can remove masks once seated and remain seated while their mask is removed); and
  • participating in physical activity in health and physical education class (the Ministry of Education has instructed schools to hold these classes outdoors if possible).

 

Screen your child for COVID-19 using the school and child care screening. The results will tell you: 

  • if they should go to school or child care, 
  • what to do next (stay home, go for testing or talk with doctor), 
  • when they can return to school or child care, 
  • what everyone in your household (depending on vaccination status) should do.

If a child becomes sick while at school, the school will follow guidelines to ensure that the child is separated and cared for while waiting for their parent/guardian to pick them up. They must stay home and seek testing at a local assessment centre (do not use an at home testing/rapid antigen test kit), and/or seek medical attention if required.

Caring for a sick child

For tips about how to care for a sick child who needs to stay at home see this fact sheet.
Most children with COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and can recover at home with a caregiver.

If your child has any of the following symptoms call 911: 

  • having difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, can only speak in single words). 
  • confused or very sleepy. 
  • fainting or losing consciousness. 
  • complaining of chest pain or very bad stomach pain.

Page last updated: October 13, 2021

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