COVID-19: health and safety measures at schools
Read the health and safety rules and guidelines for all schools in Ontario. These rules are in place to support safe in-person learning for students and staff.
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How summer school is operating
As of August 3, 2021, publicly funded and private schools can offer in-person learning for summer school, in addition to remote learning courses. Contact your school board to learn if summer learning opportunities are available in your community.
Students, teachers and staff attending in-person summer learning must check for symptoms of covid 19 everyday before going to school.
Child care centres and licensed home-based child care services are open and must follow all of the health and safety measures.
Everyone who enters the child care premises must complete the mandatory daily screening for covid 19 symptoms.
Camps that operate over the summer can open if they follow the safety guidelines for covid 19 (PDF).
Health and safety protections at schools
Schools offering in-person summer learning are taking a variety of steps to keep a healthy and safe environment.
Tools and support
- signs to reinforce self-screening for symptoms of illness, hand hygiene, physical distancing and one-way foot traffic in hallways and bathrooms
- hand sanitizer at key locations throughout the school
- changes to how people enter and exit the school
- changes to how students use playgrounds and school grounds
Schools and school boards are also being supported by up to 625 new nurses in public health units to facilitate public health and preventive measures, including screening, testing, tracing and mitigation strategies.
- train students on appropriate hand hygiene
- schedule breaks for students to wash their hands
- have hand sanitizer available at key locations throughout the school
Grades 1 to 12
Students in Grades 1 to 12 must wear non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, on school transportation and outdoors during recess where students cannot maintain physical distancing.
There are reasonable exceptions to wearing a mask.
Teachers and staff
We are providing medical masks and eye protection, such as face shields, for all teachers and other school board staff.
All staff in schools supporting in-person learning must wear masks, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions.
School staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
Learn more about face coverings, including exceptions and how to properly fit, wear, remove and clean your non-medical face mask.
Non-essential visitors, including parents, are not allowed in schools.
Only essential visitors are allowed to enter schools. Essential visitors include people who:
- ensure school safety, such as through inspections by the fire marshal’s office or by public health
- provide school-based health services to students
Schools must keep records of:
- classes or cohorts
- seating charts
- bus cohorts
- daily essential visitors who are approved to enter the school
Schools will provide these records to public health for contact tracing.
Read the guide to reopening Ontario schools.
Mandatory self-screening for students, teachers and staff
Students, teachers and school staff attending summer school in-person need to check for symptoms of covid 19 every day before going to school.
You can screen your child or yourself by taking the covid 19 school and child care screening. The results will tell you:
- if you should go to school or stay home
- what to do next
You can download, print, or email your results.
Enhanced on-site screening
Schools will conduct daily on-site confirmation of self-screening for secondary students, staff and visitors before entering school or at the start of the school day.
If someone becomes ill at school
If anyone becomes ill at a school, they will:
- be immediately separated from others, in a separate room if possible, until they can go home
- be provided with a medical mask
- continue to be supervised according to the school’s usual policy
- be asked to maintain physical distancing
- be unable to take school or public transportation
We will report on covid 19 cases at Ontario schools starting in August.
If your child becomes ill at school
If your child becomes ill at school, they must go home.
The school will contact you and you’ll need to arrange for them to get home, in a way that does not include public transportation. We encourage you to have a plan for this ahead of time.
If your child becomes ill at school, you should consult their health care provider. They may recommend your child get tested for covid 19. If you or your child are tested for covid 19, it’s easy to get the results.
After negative test results
Students who test negative for covid 19, or who are diagnosed by a health care provider as having something else, can return to school when:
- they have been free of fever for 24 hours
- other symptoms are improving
You do not need a doctor’s note or proof of a negative test result for your child to return to school.
After positive test results
Students who test positive for covid 19 must isolate for 10 days and cannot return to school until the local public health unit advises that it’s safe. Learn how to self-isolate and care for someone with covid 19.
Students who feel well enough can do remote learning from home. Contact your school or school board to learn about remote learning.
If a COVID-19 case is confirmed at your school
The local public health unit will determine what happens if a covid 19 case is confirmed at your school.
Check for notices on the school or board website
School boards and schools will post a notice on their website if a student or staff member tests positive for covid 19. Search for a covid 19 advisory section on their website.
No personal information will be posted.
Working with public health
Schools are working with public health units to help them identify who has been in close contact with a person who tested positive for covid 19.
This means that a school may provide the public health unit with your child’s name and other information about their class or child care cohort.
Schools will provide information in accordance with all applicable legislation, including the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
If there is risk of exposure
The public health unit will assess risk of exposure. Those at high risk will need to isolate for 14 days.
If your child was in close contact with a person who tested positive, the public health unit will tell you that your child must isolate for 14 days. They’ll also tell you if your child or family need to get tested for covid 19.
If your child is feeling well enough, the school will give them remote learning activities they can do at home during their 14-day isolation period.
Not everyone may have been exposed
The public health unit may determine that your child has not been in close contact with a person who tested positive for covid 19.
The public health unit will advise you to monitor your child for symptoms.
Declaring an outbreak
An outbreak may be declared by the local public health unit when:
- within a 14-day period, there are two or more laboratory-confirmed covid 19 cases in students, staff or other visitors with an epidemiological link
- at least one case could have been infected in the school (including on a school bus or in before or after school care)
What your local public health unit will do
The local public health unit is responsible for:
- determining if an outbreak exists
- declaring an outbreak
- providing direction on how to control the outbreak in collaboration with the school and other relevant partners, such as before and after school programs
- identifying who to test, in alignment with the province’s broader testing strategy
- determining who is at high-risk of infection and needs to self-isolate
- declaring when an outbreak is over