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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 several times. Staff, parent/guardians, students, visitors and volunteers are encouraged to review the new screening information closely available through Ontario.ca/COVID19 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. Follow the screening tool carefully and the guidance it provides based on your responses.

Secondary and Elementary Student Attestation

Secondary students will continue to attest successful completion of self-assessment as part of their attendance process and all elementary students will also be required to verify a successful completion of their daily screening via the Daily On-Site COVID-19 Confirmation. Students in grades 7 to 8 will do this verbally during attendance at the start of the day and parents of students in K to 6 will be required to fill out the daily screening form (with link) and send to school with their child(ren)..

When a Student is Sick at School

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

As of January 12, 2022, students should isolate if they have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decrease or loss of taste or smell
  • Students should isolate if they have two or more of the following symptoms:
  • Runny nose or nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Where a student has only one of the following symptoms, or a different symptom (e.g., pink eye), the individual should isolate until symptoms are improving for at least 24 hours (or 48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea are present), and household members are not required to isolate. Those symptoms include:

  • Runny nose/nasal congestion
  • Headache
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle aches/joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (i.e., vomiting or diarrhea)

If a student reports they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms as laid out above, the following process takes place:

  • The symptomatic student is directed to take a rapid test and may be sent home and;
  • The symptomatic student, and their family members, are still expected to isolate if: 1) a household member either tests positive using a PCR test or rapid test OR 2) assumes they have COVID-19 using the province’s school screening tool.
  •  Students or staff who are exposed to COVID-19 at school, should monitor symptoms but do not need to self-isolate and;
  • All vaccinated members living in the same household as the symptomatic student, who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, are required to self-isolate.

Students may leave isolation if they meet the following criteria:

  • Students 11 years of age or younger (born in 2010 or later) may return to school 5 days after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Students 12 years of age or older (born in 2009 or earlier) who are fully vaccinated may return to school 5 days after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Students 12 years of age or older (born in 2009 or earlier) who are partially vaccinate or unvaccinated must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days before returning to school after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Immunocompromised and high-risk individuals (regardless of age or vaccination status) must also isolate for 10 days.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

If a student shows symptoms of COVID-19 at school, the student will be asked to take a rapid test and may be sent home to isolate based on their symptoms and/or the test results. Classes and cohorts will no longer be dismissed due to close contacts, but will be asked to self monitor for symptoms.  

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?

The symptomatic student, and their family members, are expected to isolate if the child is sent home if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Fully vaccinated students must isolate for 5 days. Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or immunocompromised students must isolate for 10 days.

What happens if a student receives a positive rapid test result?

Public Health will provide guidance in respect to individuals who are fully/partially/or not vaccinated. The student may be sent home, especially if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19. The student, and their family members, are expected to isolate. Fully vaccinated students must isolate for 5 days. Unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or immunocompromised students must isolate for 10 days.

What is a “close contact"?

A close contact is an individual who has been within six feet for more than 15 minutes with some who: has symptoms of COVID-19 (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). Please note classes and cohorts will no longer be dismissed if there are close contacts, but will be asked to self monitor for symptoms.

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

No, you are not required to get a test for your child. Please monitor your child’s symptoms closely and use the provincial screening tool daily to assess your child before they attend school. Please note classes and cohorts will no longer be dismissed if there are close contacts, but all those impacted will be asked to self monitor for symptoms.

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

Please monitor your child’s symptoms closely and use the provincial screening tool daily to assess your child before they attend school. Please note classes and cohorts will no longer be dismissed if there are close contacts, but all those impacted will be asked to self monitor for symptoms.

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 is sent home due to having COVID-19 symptoms or a positive result through a rapid test, how long do they stay away from school and who tells them it is safe to go back?

Students may leave isolation if they meet the following criteria:

  • Students 11 years of age or younger (born in 2010 or later) may return to school 5 days after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Students 12 years of age or older (born in 2009 or earlier) who are fully vaccinated may return to school 5 days after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Students 12 years of age or older (born in 2009 or earlier) who are partially vaccinate or unvaccinated must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days before returning to school after a positive test or the first onset of symptoms if symptoms have been improving for 24 hours (48 hours if symptoms such as vomiting, or diarrhea are present);
  • Immunocompromised and high-risk individuals (regardless of age or vaccination status) must also isolate for 10 days.

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 has symptoms? 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 are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for COVID-19. While the identities can not be disclosed, we are committed to notifying parents of illness-related cases at their child’s school. Please continue to monitor your child’s symptoms closely and use the provincial screening tool daily to assess your child before they attend school.

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?

Please follow the guidance of your 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.

Will you report outbreaks or school closures?

At this time, the board will be reporting illness-related absences on our website and notifying parents. We will also be reporting if 30% or more of our absences are related to illness to the province as required.

Classes and cohorts will no longer be dismissed in the event of a close contact. Please continue to monitor your child’s symptoms closely and use the provincial screening tool daily to assess your child before they attend school.

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 updates on illness-related absences at my child’s school?

If a BHNCDSB student is absent due to illness, the COVID-19 Reporting section of the Board's website will be updated. Visit the reporting page to find your child's school and see how many absences were reported to BHNCDSB on a specific date.

Additionally, the Brant County Health Unit and the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit will also provide daily updates on any schools that exceed the 30% illness-related absence threshold.

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.