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COVID-19 School and Child Care Information for Parents

Breadcrumbs
 

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

As of March 21, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health lifted some COVID-19 health and safety measures. For more information, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Education COVID-19: health and safety measures at schools (external link).

Schools and child care operators are no longer required to notify families of positive cases or if an individual is absent due to symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Reporting a case of COVID-19 to Public Health:

  • There is no requirement for parent(s), guardians and/or principals/child care operators to report a positive PCR/RAT test result to Halton Region Public Health.
  • The Ministry of Education requires schools to report school absenteeism rates of 30 per cent or more above baseline to their local Public Health Unit.
  • Childcare operators can contact Halton Region Public Health when absenteeism rates rise to a defined level of 30 per cent or more above baseline.

Updated testing and case and contact management for schools and child care:

  • Testing and case and contact management have shifted to focus on highest risk settings such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and congregate living settings.
  • Halton Region Public Health will not be dismissing cohorts
  • Individuals who have come in contact with a case only at school/childcare, are NOT generally considered close contacts. However, specific individuals in school or childcare settings may be identified by the case as close contacts based on their prolonged, unprotected, close interactions with the case either in or outside of the setting.
  • Any dismissals or closures of a school or childcare setting will be contingent on operational requirements determined by the school board, school, and/or child care operator.
  • The Province has updated its guidance on self-isolation, self-monitoring, symptoms and COVID-19 testing. To get the latest information on what to do if you were exposed to COVID-19 and how to protect yourself and others, please visit ontario.ca/exposed (external link).
  • Though daily on-site confirmation of screening for all students and staff will no longer be required, staff and students should continue to self-screen every day before attending school/child care using the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool (external link).

Child care for non-school aged children:

As of March 21, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health lifted some COVID-19 health and safety measures. For more information, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Education COVID-19: health and safety measures for childcare (external link).

For information on what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms, had an exposure to COVID-19 or have tested positive:

Halton Region COVID-19 Vaccination Program

As other public health measures are gradually lifted, getting vaccinated is the best defense against COVID-19 and an important way to reduce the spread.

Halton Region is no longer accepting appointments at its COVID-19 clinics and our online booking system is not available. All of our clinics are now walk-in only for all doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

All Halton residents 5 years of age or older can get their COVID-19 vaccine. Find out where to get vaccinated.

For more information on:

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.

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.

  • Your child must stay home if they have COVID-19 symptoms or are waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms.
  • Anyone who is sick or has any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in this screening tool, should stay home and seek assessment from their health care provider if needed.
  • Complete the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool (external link). The screening tool provides next steps for the individual and household contacts, including when it is safe to return to school or child care.
  • Individuals you have come into contact with only at school/childcare, with all public health measures in place, are NOT generally considered close contacts. However, specific individuals in school or child care settings may be identified by the case as close contacts based on their prolonged, unprotected, close interactions with the case either in or outside of the setting.
  • Please visit Halton’s COVID-19 Information and Guidance webpage for more information on what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms.

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.

Your child should stay home from school/child care if they are feeling unwell.

Complete the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool (external link). The screening tool provides next steps for the individual and household contacts, including when it is safe to return to school or child care.

Anyone who is sick or has any symptoms of illness, including those not listed in the Ontario COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool (external link), should stay home until their symptoms are improving for 24 hours (or 48 hours if gastrointestinal symptoms), to limit the spread of other illnesses and may seek assessment from a health care provider.

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 implementation of infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures at schools; and
  • conducts surveillance of student/staff absenteeism specific to COVID-19.

Learn more

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