Schools, Child Care and Camps During COVID-19

Vaccinating Children and Youth

The COVID-19 vaccine remains the single best protection against COVID-19 and variants

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Public Health measures in schools

Letter to Niagara parents from Dr. Hirji outlining the measures Niagara Region Public Health is advising schools to implement to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Screening for COVID-19 and managing symptoms

Learn about self-isolation requirements for schools and child care in Niagara.

Active screening is important for preventing COVID-19 in schools.

"Active screening" means that schools are responsible to ensure no individuals, such as students, staff and visitors, enter the facility unless it's confirmed that they have completed the screening and the result indicates that they are allowed to enter.

This is different from "passive screening", which is when individuals do their own screening and decide for themselves whether they may enter the facility or not.

The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health have updated the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool.

Some licensed child care centres and licensed home child care programs have adapted the screening tool for their own use.

General information

  • Face coverings / masks

    Requirements for students

    • Masking is required for students in kindergarten to grade 12 while indoors in school, including in hallways, during classes and on school vehicles. The decision to require students in kindergarten to wear masks was made by Niagara Region Public Health to help protect all members in the school community from the Omicron variant.
    • Schools are required to get medical documentation to support mask exemption requests. This can be completed by any regulated health care professional. Parents / guardians should follow their school's or school board's specific process on seeking these exemptions. Public Health supports reasonable accommodations be included in school policy, such as considerations of socioeconomic factors or other conditions of a particular family. Schools should develop appropriate guidance / protocols to facilitate approval of mask exemptions as Public Health doesn't provide forms or approve exemption requests.

    Recommendations for students

    • For best protection, it's recommended that students wear masks that fit flush to the face without gaps and have at least three layers. Parents / guardians can contact their child's school for this type of mask if they don't already have one.
    • With parental permission, it's highly recommended that masks be worn in children over the age of two years
    • It's recommended that masks be worn outdoors when physical distancing cannot be maintained

    Staff and visitors

    Staff and visitors are required to wear medical masks (surgical / procedural), including in hallways and during classes, in schools and licensed child care settings. Staff should wear the non-fit-tested N95 masks provided by the Ministry of Education.

    For more information:

  • Cohort notification and dismissals

    Dismissing a class or cohort after an exposure reduces the risk of further spread. For this reason, Niagara Region Public Health intends to continue dismissing cohorts where there is a test confirmed COVID-19 infection to stop the spread as soon as possible. While very disruptive when it happens, Niagara Region Public Health believes its benefits in health have outweighed the disruptions.

    Students with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be exempt from dismissal. Learn about self-isolation requirements for schools and child care in Niagara, including the duration of cohort dismissals.

    As of January 14, 2022, child care settings and children's camps are not required to report any positive COVID-19 cases. If a child care operator is aware of a positive COVID-19 case (rapid antigen or PCR) they should determine if an exposure occurred in the child care centre and provide the cohort dismissal letters if required.

Schools

Report COVID-19 Cases

School administration, support staff and parents / guardians can report COVID-19 cases to Public Health.

Report positive PCR and rapid antigen tests

COVID-19 Info-Line

Talk to a public health professional Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

  • By phone at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074, press 7
  • Chat online in 90 different languages with auto-translate

COVID-19 Info-Line wait times
Physicians and primary care providers
For vaccine information, call the Provincial Information Line at 1-888-999-6488

Contact

Child care centres and licensed home child care programs

Children's camps

Travel for students, private schools, post-secondary and international students

Students who travel

Unvaccinated children under the age of 12 are now exempt from federal quarantine if they travel in the company of someone who qualified for an exemption from quarantine based on vaccination status. However, they may not attend school or child care for 14 days after their arrival. The exception to this is that children may continue to attend school or child care if their international travel was solely due to a cross border custody arrangement.

For more information, visit COVID-19 vaccinated travellers entering Canada.

International students

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