Board logo

Health and COVID-19 Screening

Changes to Daily COVID-19 Screening - IMPORTANT

It is important to note that for the 2021-22 school year, the questions and symptoms of the Provincial Screening Process have changed. Staff, parent/guardians, students, visitors and volunteers are encouraged to review the new screening information closely and remember to screen everyday before leaving for school.

Please do not use any print screening resources that may have been provided during the 2020-21 school year.

Link to the COVID-19 school and child care screening

Staff Screening and Self-Assessment

Each day, prior to attending work, all staff (including casual staff) are required to engage in a daily self-assessment through the Province of Ontario’s online COVID-19 School Screening self-assessment. Staff who are feeling unwell or identifying a concern based on the self-assessment, should not report to work. Visitors are also required to engage in the self-assessment prior to entering any board site.

If a staff member has identified a concern based on their self-screening assessment, the staff member will not be permitted to enter any Board facility and must contact their respective health unit or healthcare provider, for further guidance and instruction.

COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Self-Assessment

The Board will continue with our enhanced screening for all staff accessing any school or Board site.

Please review the detailed procedures in the Enhanced COVID-19 Screening (Staff) document to ensure you are familiar with and understand the requirements.

  • The requirement to complete the enhanced screening is effective immediately and until further notice and applies to all staff. Confirmation is required each day you access a school or Board site (even for 5 minutes).
  • The enhanced screening should be completed prior to entering a school or Board site; however, it can be completed immediately upon entering a school or Board site once at your computer.
  • If you are working from home (including those working at virtual schools), please indicate so. If you have to go into a school or Board site, you are required to validate completion of the screening that day.
  • Principals/Supervisors will be following up with anyone at the school or Board site who has not indicated completion of the COVID-19 School Screening (see the detailed procedures). Principals will also receive an email around 9:30 a.m. providing a list of staff who have not completed the validation.
  • Staff, on a long-term leave or sick leave, are not required to complete the validation and these individuals will not show up on the outstanding list, as long as their absence is properly inputted into Smart Find.
  • Staff who have not completed the validation will receive notification around 8:45 a.m. as a reminder.

Staff COVID-19 Screening Attestation

Once staff have completed the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening, they must provide an attestation. This can be done via the the BHNHub. (Internal use only)

Staff screening attestations are kept for a period of no longer than 3 days (as per public health and record retention guidelines).

Student Screening and Self-Assessment

Parents/guardians (and students 18+) must complete the Government of Ontario's online COVID-19 school screening tool for each child prior to them attending school each day. If your child or anyone in your household is ill, stay home and follow the guidance in the screening tool.

Secondary Attestation

Secondary students will continue to attest successful completion of self-assessment as part of their attendance process.

When a Student is Sick at School

What is the process when a child is sick (exhibiting even one COVID-19 symptom) at school?

It is important that parents/guardians/and staff understand what takes place when a student exhibits even one COVID-19 symptom while at school. As a reminder, every student is to complete the Provincial School and Child Care screening process before leaving for school. The following process was established by Public Health Ontario and will be updated as new directives arrive.

As of 20210904, symptoms (referred to in the screening process) for students/child care participants include:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough or barking cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease of loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea

If a student reports they are experiencing (or it is brought to a staff member's attention) any COVID-19 symptom, the following process takes place:

  1. The symptomatic student is immediately dismissed from school, along with all unvaccinated siblings (from any BHNCDSB school) AND;
  2. All unvaccinated members living in the same household as the symptomatic student are required to self-isolate and;
  3. All vaccinated members living in the same household as the symptomatic student, who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, are required to self-isolate.

Symptomatic student and all unvaccinated siblings (regardless of school location) may not return to school until ONE of the following three options has occurred:

  • Symptomatic student has received a negative COVID-19 test result AND;
    • Has not had a fever (without using medications) and;
    • It has been at least 24 hours since symptoms improved (or 48 hrs if nausea/vomiting/diarrhea) and;
    • Has not been in close physical contact with someone who currently has COVID-19.

OR

  • Symptomatic student has received an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider AND;
    • Has not had a fever (without using medications) and;
    • It has been at least 24 hours since symptoms improved (or 48 hrs if nausea/vomiting/diarrhea).

OR

  • It has been 10 days since symptoms started for the symptomatic student AND they are feeling better AND;
    • Has not had a fever (without using medications) and;
    • It has been at least 24 hours since symptoms improved (or 48 hrs if nausea/vomiting/diarrhea) and;
    • Has not been in close physical contact with someone who currently has COVID-19.
    • As well, all unvaccinated members living in the same household must also self-isolate for 10 days from last contact with symptomatic individual.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 at my child’s school?

If someone in your child’s class, bus, school, or before/aftercare program tests positive for COVID-19, Public Health will intervene. Public Health will assess the situation and determine next steps which could include self-isolating for 14 days regardless of vaccination status.

If there is​ a need for students to self-isolate, can they join an online learning class or course(s)?

There is only one point during the year where students may enter/exit our virtual school. Students who are self-isolating, related to COVID-19, will be provided content via their D2L classroom account. Should students be instructed to self-isolate, their teachers will be in contact with them/their family regarding continued learning opportunities.

My child has woken up not feeling well, what do I do? OR My child has been sent home from school with symptoms, what do I do?

If you notice that your child has new or worsening symptoms, or if your child has been sent home from school due to symptoms, what you do depends on the symptom and how usual they are for your child.

What happens if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

Local health units will provide public health guidance and direction to those affected and will be responsible for contact tracing. Any student or staff member determined to be a close contact of a confirmed case will be contacted by the appropriate health unit to inform them of their exposure and outline next steps. If you, or your child, is not contacted by the appropriate health unit, they have not been considered a close contact.

Public Health will provide guidance in respect to individuals who are fully/partially/or not vaccinated.

What is a “close contact of a confirmed case?”

A close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case is an individual who has been within six feet for more than 15 minutes with some who: has symptoms (in the period from two days before symptom onset until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation), or has tested positive for COVID-19, but has not had any symptoms (in the two days before the date of specimen collection until they meet criteria for discontinuing home isolation).

Public Health will provide guidance in respect to individuals who are fully/partially/or not vaccinated.

I received notice from my child’s school about a COVID-19 case in our school community. If my child has been identified as a close contact, when will I hear from the local health unit regarding next steps?

If your child has been identified as a close contact to a confirmed case of COVID-19, you will be contacted by the local health unit (Brant County or Haldimand-Norfolk). The local health unit will outline next steps, which may include instructions to seek testing.

The Ministry of Health mandates public health units to be in contact with known close contacts within 24-48 hours of being made aware of them. The local health unit may not be aware of all close contacts at the time BHNCDSB families receive the initial notice from the school about a COVID-19 case. The local health unit needs time to conduct their investigation. This investigation includes gathering all known close contacts to the initial case.

The local health unit will determine the extent of all students/staff exposures, based on activities within the classroom/cohorts as well as the broader school (i.e., transportation, child care and before/after school programs). This assessment and management is based on the provincial School Outbreak Management Guidance from the Ministry of Health.

If someone at my child’s school tests positive for COVID-19, does my child need to be tested?

If your child has been identified as a close contact to a confirmed case, you will be contacted by the appropriate local health unit. The health unit will outline next steps, which may include instructions to seek testing.

If you have not been contacted by your local public health unit, your child has not been identified as a close contact of the individual who has tested positive, and therefore testing is not required. If despite this, you remain concerned about your child’s exposure, you are free to seek assessment from your healthcare provider.

My child takes a bus with someone who I heard tested positive for COVID-19. What do I do?

Logs and seating plans for student transportation services are kept assisting health units in contact tracing. Any student or staff member, determined to be a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, will be contacted by the appropriate health unit to inform them of their exposure and outline next steps. This close contact determination includes the time of transportation to and from school. For students below 18 years of age, a parent or guardian will be contacted in place of the student.

I was contacted by Public Health and told my child has to self-isolate, but he/she wasn’t on the bus that day. Do I still need to keep him/her home?

Until you are able to make contact with the school and discuss the situation, families need to keep their children home. If your child no longer takes the bus, please contact stsbhn.ca to have them removed from the bus manifest to avoid a similar situation in the future.

I was told someone in my child’s school tested positive for COVID-19. Is extra cleaning taking place in my school?

BHNCDSB follows prescribed and thorough cleaning protocols. All high-touch areas of the school and classrooms are attended to multiple times each day and the school is thoroughly cleaned each night. Authorized products that kill the COVID-19 virus are utilized and are an effective method of sanitizing.

If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, how long do they stay away from school and who tells them it is safe to go back?

Any student or staff member testing positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by the local public health unit from the jurisdiction in which they reside. The public health unit will direct the individual on their isolation period (generally 14 days). When the public health unit has deemed the case resolved the individual will be able to return to school.

No additional testing is required following the 14-day isolation period. Local health units do not need to provide written or verbal clearance for an affected student or staff member to return to school after they have satisfied the above requirements. To enter schools, all students and staff must be able to pass Ontario's COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool (updated: October 2, 2020).

I heard someone at my school has COVID-19. Who tested positive? Why won’t you tell me?

BHNCDSB and the local public health unit have a duty, under the Personal Health Information and Protection Act, to protect the privacy of patients, including those who have tested positive for COVID-19. While the identities of those who test positive for COVID-19 can not be disclosed, any student or staff member determined to be a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case will be contacted by the appropriate local health unit to inform them of their exposure and outline next steps. For students below 18 years of age, a parent or guardian will be contacted in place of the student.

I know someone has COVID-19, but they’re still going to class at my child’s school. Who do I tell?

Please call the appropriate local health unit and school to report non-compliance of isolation orders.

My doctor said my child needs to be tested for COVID-19. What do I do?

Contact your local health Unit or physician to arrange for testing. Your child needs to isolate while waiting for direction from their health care provider and/or while waiting for test results. If your child has been tested for COVID-19, you can see your results online.

Outbreaks and Closures - What do they mean?

Closing a cohort - When there is a positive COVID-19 case connected to a school, public health may decide to close a cohort (send the class and all individuals connected to the class home) for a period of time determined by public health.

Outbreak - An outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection in the school. When an outbreak is declared, one or more cohorts connected to the two or more cases may be closed (sent home) for a period of time determined by public health.

Closing a school - Under the order of public health or at the recommendation of the Board, a school may be closed to students. In this situation, students will move to asynchronous or synchronous learning. All Before/After School Child Care programs are also closed.

I don’t have a family doctor, or my family doctor is not able to see me.

Please use a walk-in clinic or call Telehealth Ontario: Toll-free: 1-866-797-0000 or Toll-free TTY: 1-866-797-0007.

Where do I go for COVID-19 cases at school updates?

If a BHNCDSB student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the COVID-19 Reporting section of the Board's website is updated. Visit the reporting page to find your child's school and see how many cases were reported to BHNCDSB by public health on a specific date.

Additionally, the Brant County Health Unit and the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit will also provide daily updates on their respective sites for school outbreak statistics.

More information for BHNCDSB families residing in Brant or Brantford

Visit the Brant County Health Unit’s website or call 519-753-4937 and press 1. 

More information for BHNCDSB families residing in Haldimand or Norfolk

Visit the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit’s website or call 519-426-6170, ext. 9999.