City of Toronto continues to support in-person learning for students and education staff

Following this week’s provincial announcements, Team Toronto and Toronto Public Health (TPH) continue to support schools and school boards, as students return to in-person learning on Monday, January 17. In-person learning is essential for the mental and physical well-being of students.

TPH is supporting schools by providing guidance for public health measures to protect students and staff, such as daily screening for symptoms by students and staff, cohorting, physical distancing, and wearing a high quality, well-fitted mask, based on updated provincial guidance PDF. TPH also continues to recommend infection prevention and control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 within school settings.

Following the provincial announcements, TPH’s roles changed in relation to schools in the areas of liaison, vaccine education, vaccine clinics and case, contact and outbreak management, as outlined below.


  • Fall 2021 Provincial Guidance:
    • Provided recommendations, education and advice on infection prevention, control and measures to prevent and mitigate COVID-19 transmission
    • Supported and provided resources to schools, Directors of Education and School Board members
  • Winter 2022 Provincial Guidance:
    • Continue previous activities

Vaccine Education

  • Fall 2021 Provincial Guidance:
    • Provided vaccine education to school communities through webinars and resources shared with parents and guardians, school communities and education staff.
    • Promoted school-based vaccine clinics and other vaccination opportunities.
  • Winter 2022 Provincial Guidance:
    • Continue and enhance previous activities

Vaccine Clinics

  • Fall 2021 Provincial Guidance:
    • Delivered mobile school-based vaccine clinics for school communities with a focus on 12- to 17-year-old students and their families
  • Winter 2022 Provincial Guidance:
    • Continue and enhance previous activities, including expanded focus to students between five and 17 years old, and their families

Case, Contact and Outbreak Management

  • Fall 2021 Provincial Guidance:
    • Investigated COVID-19 cases, conducted contact and outbreak management
    • Provided recommendation for cohort or school dismissal based on risk assessment and investigation
  • Winter 2022 Provincial Guidance:
    • Support and provide guidance to schools and school boards if the absenteeism rate in a school rises to 30 per cent above their baseline.
    • TPH’s ability to conduct case and contact management depends on testing eligibility and access set by the provincial government. As testing becomes more readily available and eligibility is expanded by the provincial government, TPH will adjust its response accordingly.

TPH will continue to meet with school boards and provide public health guidance to keep the school environment as safe as possible. We are working with school boards on how best to implement the new provincial direction on cohort dismissals and school closures. More information will be shared on this in the days to come.

The updated provincial guidance for testing, case and contact and outbreak management is available here PDF

In keeping with provincial guidance, TPH has updated its school and child care screening tool. TPH continues to recommend that all students and staff complete the screening tool before heading to school. If someone in the household has symptoms of COVID-19, everyone in the home, regardless of vaccination status, is required to stay home and self-isolate. Ensuring students and staff do not come to school with symptoms continues to be an important measure to limit COVID-19 in schools. TPH’s screening tool is consistent with provincial guidance and is available here PDF

Vaccination has been scientifically proven to reduce serious outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization, intubation and death. Team Toronto continues to work hard to ensure COVID-19 vaccines remain accessible to all, and continues to prioritize vaccinations for education workers and students.

Team Toronto held two supplementary City-run immunization clinics specifically for education workers this past Sunday to provide first, second and third doses. In total, more than 1,100 vaccines were administered to education workers at these clinics. Team Toronto is hosting two more City-run immunization clinics with appointments specifically for education workers on Sunday, January 16. School boards are working closely with the City to schedule employees for vaccination appointments.

Team Toronto and TPH also continue to administer vaccines at school-based clinics for students, their families and education workers. Since November 1, Team Toronto has held more than 250 school vaccination clinics across the city. TPH continues to redeploy staff to host additional school-based clinics for students, families and education workers in areas where vaccination uptake needs to be increased.

These efforts continue to build on the vaccination campaign over the last several months, where vaccines have been made available to Toronto residents through a variety of options and locations.

Toronto residents, including education workers, students and families, can also get their first, second and third doses at the five City-run immunization clinics, hospital partner clinics, 525 pharmacies, pop-up and mobile clinics and participating primary care offices. More information on where to get vaccinated is available here

To date, more than 100,000 children in Toronto (47 per cent) between the ages of five and 11 years old have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Approximately 92 per cent of Toronto residents aged 12 to 17 years have initiated their vaccination series with at least one dose, with 88 per cent having received two doses.

Given the rapid of spread of the Omicron variant in the community, TPH is urging residents to limit their close contacts and interactions to household members, when not at school or work. Keep a six-foot distance from those outside your household and continue to wear a well-fitted, high-quality mask when indoors and when physical distancing is not possible. Those who have symptoms are advised to stay at home and self-isolate for the required time.


“As a parent, I acknowledge that it has been an incredibly difficult time for students, their families and educational staff over the past two years of the pandemic. We continue to do everything we can to support schools, school boards and our provincial counterparts in safely reopening schools for in-person learning, recognizing the benefits for mental and physical well-being of children and youth. We will continue to provide guidance to schools and school boards, and focus on vaccine education while prioritizing vaccination opportunities for education staff, students and their families.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

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