Going to school during COVID-19
We’re working with school boards to help keep everyone safe.
We’ll provide up-to-date information to families and school staff. Learn more about school board plans, tips for staying safe, and what to do if there’s a case of COVID-19 at school.
Screen for COVID-19 daily
Before leaving for school each day, students and staff should screen for COVID-19 symptoms using the COVID-19 school screening tool. Look for symptoms that are new, worsening, or different than usual for your child.
Screening instructions have recently changed about when to stay at home or go to school based on the types of symptoms a child is showing. Read through the screening tool questions and instructions carefully for next steps.
Learn about what to do if a student or staff does not pass the screening tool.
School boards are required to increase health and safety measures in schools as outlined by the Ministry. Private schools are encouraged to adopt the measures as well.
We recommend that students and staff practice the Core Four actions that are key to preventing the spread of COVID-19. This means:
- Maintaining 2-metres of physical distance.
- Wearing a mask where mandatory or where physical distancing is difficult.
- Practicing good hand hygiene.
- Getting tested if you think you have COVID-19. While waiting for test results, stay home and self-isolate.
If there’s a person with COVID-19 at your child's school, Peel Public Health will work with the school to conduct contact tracing and case management.
Case counts and exposures in schools and other settings are increasing in Peel. Because of this, Peel Public Health will dismiss classes if a student or school staff in the class is positive for COVID-19, to minimize the risk of spread.
- When the school receives a positive COVID-19 result from someone in the school, the school community will be notified.
- Meanwhile, the class and other affected cohorts (for example bus, before and after school program etc.) will be dismissed and instructed to self-isolate. Parents and caregivers of students in the dismissed class will receive instructions on how to self-isolate and care for their household.
- After Peel Public Health completes our investigation, more information will be provided on the need for testing and when the class can safely return to school.
Based on each situation, there will be additional infection prevention measures, including cleaning and sanitization of the exposed areas.
For more details about what will happen if there’s a COVID-19 outbreak at a school, check the Ministry’s Operational Guidance: COVID-19 management in schools.
If you have symptoms of COVID-19 and did not pass the daily school screening:
- Contact the school to let them know about this result.
- Self-isolate at home and do not leave except to get tested or for a medical emergency.
- Visit an assessment centre to get tested. If you believe your symptoms are due to a cause other than COVID-19 such as, a pre-existing or alternate medical condition, contact your primary health care provider for assessment.
- While waiting for your test result, you and your household members (siblings, parents etc.) must remain in self-isolation until your test results come back.
If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and did not pass the daily school screening:
- Contact the school to let them know about this result.
- Self-isolate at home at home for 14 days. Do not leave except to get tested or for a medical emergency.
If you were exposed to a person who has or may have COVID-19:
- Self-isolate for 14 days from your last known exposure to a person who has COVID-19.
- Visit an assessment centre to get tested and monitor for symptoms while you self-isolate.
- If you test negative and later have symptoms, you should get re-tested.
If you travelled outside of Canada:
- Self-isolate for 14 days from the date you returned to Canada as outlined in the federal quarantine order.
- Monitor for symptoms and get tested if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.
Caregivers should follow the caregiver self-isolation guidelines to prevent infection and stop the spread to other members of the household.
Medical notes or documented proof of negative tests are not required for students, staff or visitors to return to school in person after testing for COVID-19.
Check your children every day for COVID-19 symptoms using the COVID-19 school screening tool.
Students must stay home from school if they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been in contact with someone who has or may have COVID-19, or have travelled outside Canada within 14 days.
If the student has symptoms, their household contacts (e.g., siblings, parents) must also self-isolate until the student’s test results come back.
If you’re unsure, it’s always best to take extra care and stay home.
Have a plan in case your child is showing symptoms and must stay home or be picked up from school.
Students will need to be picked up as soon as possible from school if they’re sick and be brought to an assessment centre to be tested.
Ensure your child has a non-medical or cloth mask to wear to school.
It may be helpful to pack an extra mask for your child each day. Your child will then be able to change their mask if it becomes dirty or damp. Masks can be stored in a dry, clean paper bag or container during lunch and break times. Store clean masks separately from dirty masks.
Learn more about how to choose, wear and clean or dispose of a mask.
Students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask inside the school, including in hallways and during classes, and on the bus. Peel Public Health has recommended to school boards to consider requiring masks for students from Grades 1 to 3 while in school, and also strongly recommends the wearing of masks by kindergarten students while in school.
Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks will apply. For example, those who have trouble breathing or are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons. Explain to your child that some people are not able to wear masks, and to show kindness in these situations. Mask policies may vary, check your school’s policy for details.
Peel District School Board
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
Conseil scolaire Viamonde
Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir
Access our dashboard for information on COVID-19 cases in Peel - school outbreaks.
- Ontario's COVID-19: reopening schools
What to expect as schools open
- Guide to Reopening Ontario’s Schools
From the Ministry of Education
- Federal guidance for school bus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic
Learn about requirements for school busses
- COVID-19: Protecting yourself and others
Up-to-date information on COVID-19
- COVID-19 Core Four sign
Display the Core Four sign in your school or home
- COVID-19 related posters
Print and post COVID-19 posters in your school
Peel Public Health is working with school boards on the safe reopening of schools in Peel. The following letters are being shared in the community.
- Elementary and secondary school reopening parents and guardians – English
- Elementary and secondary school reopening parents and guardians – French
- Private school reopening parents and guardians
- University and college reopening students
- Decision-making resource for elementary and secondary schools – English
- Decision-making resource for elementary and secondary schools – French