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What if?: How schools, students and teachers will respond to different COVID-19 scenarios

A child or staff member needs to stay home and isolate because they are sick

  • This will be the most common situation, many of these people will be tested for COVID-19 when seen in clinic.
  • Public Health will assess the risk to others in each situation.
  • Most times, after a child's symptoms are evaluated clinically, the child's siblings will be able to continue in school.
  • Depending on the child's care needs, one parent may need to isolate with them as they wait for the test results.
  • Most of these cases will not be COVID-19, they will return to school when cleared by Public Health or by a health professional at their clinic.

Family members (parents, siblings) and household contacts may sometimes need to isolate as well

  • This will be based on Public Health's risk assessment, which considers the particular symptoms of the sick person, and to whom they may have been exposured, or where they've travelled.
  • Public Health staff will contact you directly if your household is affected.

If there is a case of COVID-19 in your child's class

  • Classmates and other close contacts will need to isolate for 14 days in most circumstances.
  • Public Health will identify all of the at-risk contacts. If your household is affected, you will be contacted and given advice about isolation, testing, and when your isolation can end. Sometimes other classes, or even the whole school may be asked to temporarily isolate for a couple of days until the contact tracing can be completed.
  • Less commonly, an entire class may also be asked to isolate temporarily, if there is a sick person in the class who is judged by Public Health to have a higher risk to develop COVID-19, and if there could be long wait for the test result.

The school may need to close

  • If there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your child's school.
  • The school will close temporarily, while Public Health investigates and will advise on who is considered an at risk contact, who should isolate and who should be tested .
  • All students and staff may be asked to isolate as a precaution while the investigation is underway.
  • Public Health will advise community-level measures to contain the outbreak, and on when the school can reopen.

November 26, 2020

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