Important Update to COVID Screening Criteria and Household Isolation Requirements
Feb. 19, 2021,
The following letter has been sent to all families in the Board. It provides important updates regarding changes to the school and child care COVID screening criteria and new isolation requirements for household members.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
The purpose of this communication is to provide you with important updates regarding changes to the school and child care COVID screening criteria and new isolation requirements for household members.
These updates impact all students, staff and families in our Board and represent a significant change in process in response to COVID-19 variants of concern.
Provincial school and child care screener
The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health has directed that a single-symptom screening criteria be applied province-wide. As such, the government has made changes to the COVID-19 school and child care screening criteria, which are now in effect.
This includes new provincial direction that staff, students and children with any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19 must stay home until:
- They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
- They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or
- It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.
These changes have been made to the school and child care screening tool. We continue to ask all students and staff to use the tool to complete the daily self-assessment for symptoms before arriving at school/work. Staff or students that fail the self-assessment must stay at home and follow the directions provided by the tool.
Isolation requirement for household contacts of symptomatic individuals
In response to COVID-19 variants of concern, Public Health will now direct all household contacts of symptomatic individuals to quarantine.
This is a significant change in process and means that any asymptomatic student that has symptomatic household members (ie. siblings, parents/guardians) will fail the school and child care screening tool and cannot attend school.
All asymptomatic household contacts of symptomatic individuals are required to quarantine until the symptomatic household member:
- receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or
- receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional.
If the symptomatic individual tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional, the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from household members) for 10 days from symptom onset, and all household contacts must isolate until 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.
The measures outlined in this communication build on other health and safety measures in place in our schools to ensure the safety of children, their families and our staff.
Thank you again for your ongoing efforts as we continue to ensure the safety of students and staff in this unprecedented school year.
Director of Education