How are schools going to deal with COVID-19 cases during the 2021-2022 school year?Updated January 10
Schools are currently closed for 2 weeks, starting January 5 to January 17, 2022. Check for:
- Updates about school closures: www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-keeping-schools-safe
- Updates about what to do if exposed to COVID-19: www.covid-19.ontario.ca/exposed
Or, contact your local public health unit to get the most up-to-date information for your area.
Screening for COVID-19 symptoms
Every day before going to school, students have to screen for COVID-19 symptoms.
They or their parents can use the Ontario government's online screening tool. Schools may offer other ways to screen, such as using a paper form.
Students with COVID-19 symptoms
If a student has COVID-19 symptoms, they must not go to school for at least 5 days. They can return to school after 5 days if their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. They must follow all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing.
Students without any COVID-19 symptoms must stay home if they have a sibling who has symptoms.
Students who are exposed to COVID-19
Students exposed to COVID-19 have to follow different rules based on their age and whether they've received an approved COVID-19 vaccine.
In Ontario, children 5 and older can get the COVID-19 vaccine.
If students are fully vaccinated or under the age of 12
A student is fully vaccinated if they had their second dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days ago.
If a fully-vaccinated student knows they were exposed to COVID-19 and they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms, they can continue attending school. They must follow all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing.
If a fully-vaccinated student knows they were exposed to COVID-19 and they have COVID-19 symptoms, they must not go to school for at least 5 days. They can return to school after 5 days if their symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours. They must follow all public health and safety measures, such as masking and physical distancing.
If students are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated
A student is partially vaccinated if:
- they had one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, or
- their second dose was less than 14 days ago.
If an unvaccinated or partially vaccinated student knows they were exposed to COVID-19, they must not go to school. They must isolate for 10 days.
Principal’s powers and responsibilities
A school principal can stop any student from coming to school if they think the student might have COVID-19.
Principals must do what they can to make sure other students don't get COVID-19 or any other infectious disease. This means they can send a student home if they think that student would put other students' health at risk.
Role of the Medical Officer of Health
Principals must also follow the orders of the Medical Officer of Health in their area. Each public health unit in Ontario has its own Medical Officer of Health who can make orders about how to deal with very infectious diseases like COVID-19.
In some situations, a Medical Officer of Health may decide to send students home even if they're vaccinated and don't have any symptoms.
The Medical Officer of Health may also send an entire school home. For example, this might happen if there's an outbreak in many classes.
Or, they may send students home from just one class. For example, this might happen if a student gets COVID-19 and many of their classmates are not vaccinated.
Contact your local public health unit for any specific questions about COVID-19 orders in your area.
Medical information and student information are usually kept private. But the law is different for COVID-19.
School principals must tell the Medical Officer of Health about any students who they believe have COVID-19.
Schools must also share information with public health units to help them identify any students who may have been exposed to COVID-19. This includes attendance records, class lists, seating charts, school bus lists, and contact information for parents.
The principal should tell staff, students, and parents if there's a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the school. But they should not give the name of the person who tested positive.
Anyone who thinks that their privacy has been violated can complain to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.