covid 19 virus

Schools & Child Care:
Public Health Information for Families

Last Reviewed/Updated: 9:32 a.m., October 15, 2021

New Resources:


Youth (12 -17) Vaccine Information

Vaccines are safe, effective and the best way to stay protected from COVID-19. They are an important tool to help to stop the spread of the virus and allow students and families to safely resume normal activities.


NEW Daily Screening Requirements

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.

You must screen your child for symptoms every day before they can go to school/child care. Use the provincial COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening tool.  Follow the directions provided by the screening tool.

You must stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are waiting for test results after experiencing symptoms (not related to a COVID-19 vaccine, as noted below).

Everyone in your household (unless they are fully vaccinated) must also stay home until you get a negative COVID-19 test result, or you are cleared by public health, or you are diagnosed with another illness.

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects

You can go to school/child care if you or anyone in your household got 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

Follow these instructions if your child does not pass the screening tool:

Click to learn more about…

Schools
Child Care
Tips for Safe End of School Year Celebrations
Questions & Answers
Additional Information
Peterborough Public Health’s Role
School Board’s Role
Public Health Measures
Reopening Guidance Documents
School Boards and Covid-19
Other COVID-19 Resources for Children


For Schools:

All public and private schools will return to full-time in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year with health and safety measures in place. Remote learning will continue to be an option for students and families. Learn about the 2021-2022 school year COVID-19 health and safety measures to support a safe return to in-person learning for students and staff.

Peterborough Public Health (PPH) is working closely with local school boards and surrounding local public health units to implement provincial standards and guidance to support the safe reopening of schools. Keeping COVID-19 transmission low at the community level will be key to preventing the introduction of the virus into schools.  The primary goal is to make the return to school as safe as possible, balancing the risk of COVID-19 transmission with reducing other harms to the well-being of students, families and staff.

For specific questions about returning to school please be sure to refer to the Ministry website and your child’s school board website:

For information about how schools and public health will deal with students/staff who become ill, visit the Operational Guidance: COVID-19 Management in Schools document.

Visit Ontario’s dedicated webpage to learn about coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Ontario schools and what happens if an outbreak is confirmed at your school. Cases are updated on Tuesdays  and include the total number of cases reported from Friday afternoon to Monday afternoon.

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For Child Care:

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Questions & Answers

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Additional Information

Reopening Guidance Documents
School Boards and COVID-19
Other COVID-19 Resources for Children
KFL&A Video: What’s the difference between people gathering and students in a classroom?

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Peterborough Public Health’s Role

  • Support School Boards in their reopening plans and provide public health information to support the implementation of provincial standards and guidance to help ensure healthy school environments
  • Provide infection prevention and control advice for both in-school and transportation scenarios.
  • Investigate and manage COVID-19 cases and outbreaks, including providing guidance to schools on confirming and controlling outbreaks.
  • Support testing as required and surveillance of the school population.
  • Provide ongoing support through dedicated Public Health School Nurses who can assist in responding to school specific inquiries and support schools in a comprehensive way. This may include regular consultation and visits to the schools as required.
  • Provide age-appropriate resources on COVID-19.
  • Continue to offer comprehensive school health programming such as immunization, student nutrition, physical literacy, substance prevention and other public health screening/programming to keep students healthy

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School Board’s Role

  • Develop and implement reopening plans following guidelines and recommendations from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Peterborough Public Health (PPH).
  • Communicate with the school community about COVID-19 prevention measures and how cases and outbreaks will be handled, in collaboration with PPH, prior to the start of school and ongoing throughout the year.
  • Support PPH, and other stakeholders as appropriate, with the investigation of cases, contacts, and outbreaks.
  • Ensure accurate and up-to-date attendance and contact information of staff and students, which can be accessed in a timely manner for investigations and communications.
  • Facilitate training of school staff with respect to outbreak prevention and control measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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Public Health Measures

Public health measures to help reduce risks of COVID-19 infection transmission include students and staff members staying home when sick or feeling unwell, frequent hand washing and/or hand sanitizing before and after entering the school and classrooms, increased cleaning of surfaces at schools and on buses, avoiding sharing personal items, maintaining a physical distance of two metres from others  and keeping students in cohorts (groups). The guide to reopening Ontario schools has more details on these and other strategies, informed by public health advice and jurisdictional research, to ensure schools are healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff.

Here are some important key messages for parents and guardians to review with their child before schools starts:

  • All students and staff members must self-screen at home each day before coming to school. Any person who is displaying any of the symptoms listed in the self-assessment will need to remain at home AND get tested.
  • Everyone must stay at home when they are sick or feel unwell, even when symptoms are mild. Staying home helps prevent the spread of illness to others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer  to clean away germs.
  • Students in Grades 1 to 12 are required to wear properly fitted non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including in hallways and during classes, as well as on school vehicles. Students are not required to wear masks outdoors, but distancing should be encouraged between cohorts as much as possible. Students in kindergarten are encouraged but not required to wear non-medical or cloth masks in indoor spaces, as well as on school vehicles.
  • Ensure that personal belongings are clearly labeled (e.g. masks, water bottles, lunch containers), and do not share food with other students and staff.
  • Practice ‘no touch’ greetings with your friends and teachers at school. Let’s share a wave and not our germs.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm, not your hands! Throw the tissue away, and wash your hands right away.
  • If you don’t feel well, tell someone.
  • Avoid touching your face. Germs easily spread from your hands to your mask or face.
  • Bring your own water bottle from home to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • When not wearing a mask, physical distancing is especially important to keep you and the friends around you healthy.
  • Make sure your immunizations are all up to date.

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Reopening Guidance Documents

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School Boards and Covid-19

Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Peterborough Victoria Northumberland & Clarington Catholic District School Board

Conseil Scolaire Catholique MonAvenir

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Other COVID-19 Resources for Children

Check out these kid-friendly resources to help prepare for back to school:

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Questions & Answers

Coming soon.

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