COVID-19 Symptoms/Exposure Protocol
Students or staff with symptoms BEFORE the school day begins
Students or staff who show signs/symptoms of COVID-19 before the start of the school/work day should:
- Stay at home
- Seek medical advice, including the recommendation of testing for COVID-19 as appropriate or as advised by their medical provider
- In some circumstances, special efforts may be needed to facilitate access to COVID-19 testing to meet the needs of some staff or students/families
- Remain isolated and excluded from school until test results are received as per COVID-19 Class Order.
UPDATE! Effective February 18, 2021, the COVID-19 School Screening Tool was changed and now requires that students and staff with any new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, even those with only one (1) symptom, must stay home until:
- They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.; OR
- They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional.; OR
- It has been 10 days since their symptom onset, and they are feeling better.
Self-Isolation Requirements for Families in a Household
UPDATE! Effective February 18, 2021, the Ministry of Health requires that individuals living in the same household are now required to self-isolate when a family member has COVID-19 symptoms, even if the family member only has one (1) symptom.
The following isolation requirements now apply:
- All members in a household of a symptomatic individual are required to self-isolate until the individual:
- Receives a negative COVID-19 test result; OR
- Receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional.
- If someone in your household tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional:
- This individual must isolate (including from others in your household) for 10 days from the date of experiencing symptoms. AND
- All members of the same household must isolate for 14 days from their last date of exposure with the symptomatic family/household member.
Students or staff with symptoms DURING the school day
Staff are to monitor self and students for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 while at school, including before and after school care affiliated with the school.
- Students (and their siblings) will be immediately separated from others and supervised in a designated room/space. Parents/guardians will be contacted to pick up their children; this includes the child with symptom(s) and any siblings.
- Ill students should not take school or public transportation.
- Any staff or essential visitors with signs/symptoms of COVID-19 must go home immediately. If they cannot return home immediately, they must be isolated in a designated room/space until their departure.
- Any staff or essential visitors with sign/symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid using public transportation.
- In general, schools should not report all instances of ill individuals in the school setting to Halton Region Public Health as these are frequent occurrences and typically students have nonspecific symptoms.
- If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, Halton Region Public Health will notify the individual/parent(s) and the school.
- Each school and Board site will have a designated isolation area for staff/students/visitors who have signs/symptoms of COVID-19 and are waiting transportation home.
- It may be necessary to have more than one designated isolation area depending on the size of the school.
- Students in the isolation room will be supervised according to the regular school supervision protocols.
- Designated staff member providing care to a student, staff member or essential visitor with signs/symptoms of COVID-19 must wear PPE from the kit including a medical mask, eye protection, gloves and gown and maintain as much physical distance as possible. Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette should be practiced while the ill individual is waiting to be picked up. A medical mask is worn by the person with signs/symptoms of COVID-19 (if tolerated).
- Thorough cleaning and disinfection of the room/area and any items touched by the symptomatic individual must be completed upon their departure, if cleaning is delayed appropriate signage will be posted on the front door until cleaning and disinfection is complete.
In the event of a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, Halton Region Public Health will notify the school within 24 hours to provide further information on contact tracing and outbreak management. A letter will be provided to notify staff and parents/ guardians of the COVID-19 exposure.
Public Health will provide additional information and follow-up with individuals confirmed with COVID-19 and will find out who the individual’s close contacts are and contact them. In these cases, the Board or School will need to assist in providing contact information. Each school and or work location is responsible for maintaining daily contact and Visitor Protocol Forms for all essential visitors. Schools will maintain a record of classroom and bus seating plans and must ensure that all contact information is continually updated.
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 (including transportation and before or after school care).
For more information, see Appendix B – School Outbreak Management Halton Region Public Health Support for Schools with COVID-19 Case or Outbreak.