Today, Toronto Public Health (TPH) updated their COVID-19 school screening tool to further prevent opportunities for virus spread. The updated screening tool includes a new requirement that if a student has even one COVID-19 symptom, they must stay home, self-isolate and get tested; and if they live with siblings in the same household, they must all self-isolate. The changes made to the tool were based on our findings from COVID-19 case and outbreak investigations in schools in Toronto.
As part of the updated guidance, if a child has one or more new, or worsening COVID-19 symptoms, parents will now be required to:
- Keep their child home.
- Keep siblings and other children home, even if they do not have symptoms.
- Arrange for the child to get tested or contact their healthcare provider.
- Without testing, the child must stay at home for 10 days.
- Monitor the family for symptoms. Adults must stay home if they have one or more symptoms.
The updated school screening tool will provide a further layer of protection to better prevent potential virus spread. This is especially important given that Toronto is currently in lockdown under the Provincial Grey Zone. TPH has been working closely with the school boards to support implementation of the updated screening tool starting Monday, December 7. We continue to collaborate with the Province and our school partners to help keep our community safe.
Given current COVID-19 transmission in Toronto, it is more important than ever for residents to follow steps for self-protection, including:
- Stay home except for essential trips, such as work, school, or healthcare visits.
- Stay home if you are ill, even if symptoms are minor.
- Limit gatherings in your home to the people you live with. If you live alone, you may include one person from outside your household.
- Go out for fresh air and exercise only with the people you live with.
- Check in with vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours virtually or by phone.
- Download the COVID Alert App to be notified if you were close to someone who is contagious with COVID-19. Washing hands often and staying home when sick, even if symptoms are mild.
"We know how important in-person school learning is for children and their development, and there are significant benefits to keeping schools open. This is why one of the main objectives that are part of ensuring the health and safety of our community is helping to make sure to the greatest extent as possible that our schools remain open for in-person learning as much as it is safely possible to do so. This new screening tool will provide staff, students and our overall community with additional layers of protection to help keep our schools open and our city safer as we as we continue living with COVID-19."
- Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health