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COVID-19 School and Child Care Information

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Halton Region Public Health is working closely with local school boards and private schools to implement provincial standards for operating schools safely during COVID-19. Public Health provides up-to-date guidance and support to protect students, families, school staff and visitors to schools during the pandemic. Each school board and private school creates their own school reopening plans based on Ministry and Public Health guidance.

Current situation

Youth COVID-19 Vaccination Program

Individuals five years of age and older (born in 2016 or earlier and turning five in 2021) who live, work or attend school in Halton are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.

For more information related to children aged five to 11 years, including frequently asked questions, visit halton.ca/COVIDvaccines4kids.

For information about Halton Region Community Vaccination Clinics, including transportation options, accessibility, accommodation and language supports available please visit Halton’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics webpage.

Appointments for youth are also available at participating pharmacies and primary care offices offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Appointments must be booked through the pharmacy or primary care office. Visit covid-19.ontario.ca (external link) for more information on participating pharmacy locations.

COVID-19 vaccines are only provided if informed consent is received from the person to be vaccinated, including those 12 to 17 years of age, and as long as the individual has the capacity to make this decision. This means that they understand:

  • what vaccination involves;
  • why it is being recommended; and
  • the risks and benefits of accepting or refusing to be vaccinated.

As a part of informed consent, anyone receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should be informed of the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis (external PDF), and advised to seek medical attention if they develop symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, or the feeling of a rapid or abnormal heart rhythm.

Out of an abundance of caution, the Province has issued a recommendation of the use of the Pfizer vaccine (external link) as opposed to Moderna, for individuals aged 18 to 24 years old.  Should individuals aged 18 to 24 wish to receive Moderna, they may continue to do so with informed consent. The province will continue using the Pfizer vaccine for youth ages 12 to 17 (including those turning 12 in 2021).

To help youth and families make an informed decision, the Province has developed a number of resources based on expert medical advice and scientific information:

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 in schools and child care

Note: Please consult first with your childcare operator for their center specific policies and procedures, guidance and for any additional child care related questions.

Families are to use the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening (external link) (online tool) every day of the week, including weekends. Parents and caregivers can complete the tool on behalf of a student/child.

The screening tool cannot diagnose you. Use the screening tool every day, including weekends, to help you decide if you should or should not go to school/child care.

The screening tool provides next steps for the individual and household contacts; including when it is safe to return to school or child care.

Complete the online Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening (external link) screening tool every day of the week, including weekends. Follow the direction provided from the results. Parents and caregivers can complete the tool on behalf of a student.

Get a COVID-19 test (not a rapid antigen test) if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or are a contact of a known COVID-19 case.

You must self-isolate if you have COVID-19 symptoms (external PDF) (not related to other known causes or existing conditions they already have), even if only one symptom, or are waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms (not related to a COVID-19 vaccine, as noted below).

Anyone who is sick or has any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in the screening tool (e.g. runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, headache, pink eye, decreased/lack of appetite etc.), should stay home and seek assessment from their health care provider if needed.

If an individual is symptomatic (with any symptom) and gets tested for COVID-19, they (and their unvaccinated household members) should isolate pending test results.

Please note: An individual can attend school/child care if they or anyone in their household received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 48 hours and is experiencing any of these symptoms that are mild and only began after vaccination:

  • headache
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain

A child with symptoms of COVID-19 will be immediately separated from others and supervised in a designated room.

The parent/guardian of the child will be contacted to pick them up immediately and will be advised to complete the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening (external link) (PDF’s are available for download) and have the ill individual follow the direction provided from the results of the above screening.

A child should stay home from school/child care if they are feeling unwell with symptoms not listed on the tool (e.g. runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, headache, pink eye, decreased/lack of appetite etc.) until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours. It is recommended to seek assessment from a health care provider if needed.

If an individual is symptomatic (with any symptom) and gets tested for COVID-19, they (and their unvaccinated household members) should isolate pending test results.

Complete the online Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening (external link) screening tool every day of the week, including weekends. Follow the direction provided from the results. The screening tool will provide direction for your symptomatic child and household members.

Children must self-isolate if they have COVID-19 symptoms (external PDF) or are waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms.

If household members have no symptoms and are fully vaccinated or have tested positive for COVID-19 in Canada in the last 90 days and have been cleared, they are not required to self-isolate.

If household members are not fully vaccinated or have not tested positive for COVID-19 in Canada in the last 90 days and have been cleared, they are required to self-isolate until the student showing symptoms tests negative, is cleared by Public Health, or is diagnosed with another illness.

Anyone who is sick or has any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in the screening tool (e.g. runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, abdominal pain, headache, pink eye, decreased/lack of appetite etc.), should stay home and seek assessment from their health care provider if needed.

If an individual is symptomatic (with any symptom) and gets tested for COVID-19, they (and their unvaccinated household members) should isolate pending test results.

Please note: An individual can attend school/child care if they or anyone in their household received a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 48 hours and is experiencing any of these symptoms that are mild and only began after vaccination:

  • headache
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • muscle aches
  • joint pain

Complete the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening tool (external link). The tool will provide direction about when an individual can return back to school or child care after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

Educational materials for parents

Halton Region School Board plans

School board reopening plans describe how they will protect the health and safety of students, families, school staff and visitors to schools. Plans are informed by the Ministry of Education’s COVID-19: Health and Safety Measures at Schools (external link) and Halton Region Public Health’s guidance. To find details about your local school board is planning for reopening, please visit their website:

For private schools, refer to the school’s website.

How Halton Region Public Health is supporting schools

Halton Region Public Health:

  • provides recommendations and resources to help school boards and private schools develop policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of staff, students, parents/guardians and visitors;
  • supports training and educational opportunities for school staff regarding infection prevention and control practices;
  • develops processes and protocols for managing sick students and staff at school;
  • develops guidance around managing a confirmed case of COVID-19 and an outbreak at school;
  • ensures schools have child-friendly resources that support healthy behaviours in the school setting;
  • supports infection prevention and control (IPAC) with schools; and
  • conducts surveillance of student/staff absenteeism specific to COVID-19.

Learn more

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