schools and covid-19

    Return to In-Person Learning

    (January 12, 2022) Ontario has announced return to school details

    News Release

    NEW! SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN AGES 5-11 CAN NOW WALK-IN TO RECEIVE A COVID-19 VACCINATION.

    Your child is sick, now what?

    You have symptoms and concerned you have COVID-19. Now what?

    You’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms. Now what?

    You've been identified as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or someone with COVID-19 symptoms and you work in a highest risk setting. Now what?

    Step One: Confirm if you need to isolate

    If you have , isolating will help stop the spread of the virus. This is particularly important to prevent the transmission of the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

    You must isolate if you:

    You may need to isolate if you were exposed to someone who has  or symptoms of .

    The  self-assessment tool can also tell you what to do next. Take it for yourself or on behalf of someone else and receive recommendations on what to do if you’ve been exposed.

    Take the self-assessment

     A) If you have symptoms of 

    If you have symptoms of , assume that you may have the virus and may be contagious.

    Symptoms include:

    • fever or chills
    • cough
    • shortness of breath
    • decreased or loss of taste or smell
    • two or more of:
      • runny nose or nasal congestion
      • headache
      • extreme fatigue
      • sore throat
      • muscle aches or joint pain
      • gastrointestinal symptoms (such as vomiting or diarrhea)

    If you have symptoms, you and anyone you live with must isolate for 5 days if you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years of age.

    You can end isolation after five days ONLY if your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed. If your symptoms are not in the list above, stay home until you feel better for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).

    If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, you and anyone you live with must isolate for 10 days.

    If you are work or live in a high risk-health care setting, includings hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings, you must notify your employer and isolate for 10 days from their your exposure or symptom onset, or from your date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven.

     B) If you’ve been exposed to someone with symptoms of or who has received a positive test result

    If you are fully vaccinated, have no symptoms, do not live with the positive case and are otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years of age

    • self-monitor for symptoms for 10 days after your last exposure
    • wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and follow all other public health measures if leaving home
    • do not visit any high-risk settings or people who may be at higher risk of illness (such as seniors) for 10 days after your last exposure

    If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised

    • isolate for 10 days after your last exposure, regardless of whether you have any symptoms
    If you live, work, attend, volunteer, or have been admitted in a high-risk setting such as:
    • hospitals and health care settings, including complex continuing care facilities and acute care facilities
    • congregate living settings, such as long-term care and retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings, and correctional institutions
    • First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities

    Notify them of the exposure and do not go there for 10 days from your last exposure, when the symptoms began, or when you were diagnosed. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven. If you live in a high-risk setting, you should isolate regardless of vaccination status.

    If you develop any symptoms, you and your household must isolate for five days from the onset of your symptoms if you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or if you are under 12 years of age. If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised you must isolate for 10 days since your symptoms began.

    If you live with someone who has symptoms of or has tested positive for the virus

    You must isolate for the same amount of time as the positive case, regardless of your vaccination status.

     C) If you have a positive test result

    Isolate

    If you test positive from a PCR test, rapid molecular test, or a rapid antigen test, you must isolate. If you tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you no longer need to book a PCR test to confirm your results.

    If you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years old, you must isolate for five days from when your symptoms began or from the date of your test, whichever came first. You can end isolation after five days if your symptoms are improved for at least 24 hours, and all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing, are followed.

    If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, you must isolate for 10 days after your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.

    The people you live with must also isolate at the same time as you, whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

    If you are work or live in a high risk-health care setting, including hospitals, long-term care, retirement homes, congregate living settings, you must notify your employer and isolate for 10 days from their your exposure or symptom onset, or from your date of diagnosis. To ensure sufficient staffing levels, workers in these settings will have the opportunity to return to work early on day seven of their isolation, with a negative PCR test, or two negative rapid antigen tests on day six and seven.

    Contact your doctor, health care provider, or Telehealth for more information and guidance.

    If you develop severe symptoms requiring medical attention, such as shortness of breath or chest pain, please call 911 and inform them that you may have .

    Step Two: Get tested for  if you are eligible

    To ensure that resources are available to focus on high-risk settings, protecting our most vulnerable Ontarians and helping to keep critical infrastructure services running, publicly funded PCR testing is available to individuals that meet at least one of the criteria below.

    If you have tested positive on a rapid antigen test, you don’t need a PCR test to confirm the result.

    If you have  symptoms

    You are eligible for PCR testing if you have at least one  symptom and you are:

    • a hospitalized patient
    • a patient in an emergency department, at the discretion of the treating clinician
    • a patient-facing health care worker
    • a staff member, volunteer, resident, inpatient, essential care provider, or visitor in a hospital or congregate living setting (including long-term care, retirement homes, First Nation elder care lodges, group homes, shelters, hospices, temporary foreign worker settings and correctional institutions)
    • an outpatient being considered for  treatment
    • underhoused or homeless
    • someone who has been exposed, or a close contact of someone exposed, to a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high risk setting, including a hospital, long-term care, retirement home, other congregate living setting or institution, or other settings as directed by the local public health unit
    • an elementary or secondary student or education staff who has received a PCR self-collection kit, if available through your school

    If you do not have symptoms

    If you do not have symptoms, you are eligible for PCR testing if you:

    • are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community or are travelling into these communities for work
    • are unvaccinated and being admitted or transferred to or from a hospital or congregate living setting
    • are someone who has been exposed, or a close contact of someone exposed, to a confirmed or suspected outbreak in a high risk setting, including a hospital, long-term care, retirement home, other congregate living setting or institution, or other settings as directed by CK Public Health
    • have written prior approval for out-of-country medical services from the General Manager of OHIP or are a caregiver for someone who does
    • are in a hospital, long-term care, retirement home or other congregate living setting, as directed by public health units, provincial guidance or other directives

    If you are eligible for a test, find a testing location near you.

    If you are not eligible for a test but have symptoms of , assume that you have and isolate with your household for five days if you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy or are under 12 years old. If you are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised, isolate for 10 days. If you were exposed to someone with covid 19, follow the guidance outlined above.

    Rapid antigen testing

    Rapid antigen testing may be used for routine, repeated screening of people with no symptoms to identify and prevent cases of  in hospitals, long-term care and retirement homes, and other high-risk settings as an added layer of safety. Rapid antigen testing may also be used to test people with symptoms to find out the likelihood that their symptoms are related to .

    If you or someone you live with gets a positive result on a rapid antigen test, you no longer need to book a PCR test to confirm your results. If you are fully vaccinated and otherwise healthy, or are under 12 years old, isolate for five days starting when the symptoms began or from the date of the test, whichever came first. Those who are not fully vaccinated or are immunocompromised must isolate for 10 days.

    A positive result:

    • is a good indication that you have 
    • does not need to be confirmed by a PCR test
    • does not need to be reported to a public health unit unless otherwise directed by public health

    A negative result:

    • on a single test cannot rule out  infection by itself
    • if you have symptoms, should be followed by a second test 24 to 48 hours later if available. If your second test taken within 48 hours of your first negative result is also negative, this most likely means you do not have 

    If you feel unwell but do not have symptoms of , you and your household should isolate until your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if the symptoms affect the digestive system).

    Step Three: Inform your close contacts of their exposure

    If you have symptoms of  or have tested positive on a  test, tell your close contacts that they have been exposed.

    A close contact is anyone you were less than two metres away from for at least 15 minutes, or multiple shorter lengths of time, without personal protective equipment in the 48 hours before your symptoms began or your positive test result, whichever came first.

    Informing your contact will help stop the spread of the virus. Give them the link to this webpage,  so they can protect themselves and their contacts. Your close contacts should follow the advice for being exposed to someone who has tested positive for .

    Supports if you need to isolate

    Resources

      For more information: