Toronto Public Health has updated its COVID-19 school screening tool to further prevent opportunities for virus spread.
On Friday, the public health unit said students who have one symptom of the virus must stay home, self-isolate, and get tested. If they live with siblings in the same household, they all must self-isolate.
“The changes made to the tool were based on our findings from COVID-19 case and outbreak investigations in schools in Toronto,” the release said.
As part of the updated guidance, if a child has one or more new or worsening COVID-19 symptoms, parents will now be required to do the following:
- Keep their child home.
- Keep siblings and other children home, even if they do not have symptoms.
- Arrange for the child to get tested or contact their healthcare provider.
- Without testing, the child must stay at home for 10 days.
- Monitor the family for symptoms. Adults must stay home if they have one or more symptoms.
The enhancements were made after evaluating schools, which included the new COVID-19 testing pilot of asymptomatic individuals in schools.
“Taken together, this has confirmed that the enhancements made to the school screening tool will support the earlier identification of COVID-19 cases in school,” the health unit said.
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TPH added they have been working closely with the school boards to support implementation of the updated screening tool starting Monday, December 7.
“We know how important in-person school learning is for children and their development, and there are significant benefits to keeping schools open. This is why one of the main objectives that are part of ensuring the health and safety of our community is helping to make sure to the greatest extent as possible that our schools remain open for in-person learning as much as it is safely possible to do so,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health of TPH, in a statement.
“This new screening tool will provide staff, students and our overall community with additional layers of protection to help keep our schools open and our city safer as we continue living with COVID-19.”
In the city, Thorncliffe Park Public School has now closed, as there have been 26 positive cases confirmed as a result of a pilot program of asymptomatic testing.
To date, eight schools have closed in the province with 5,266 reported cases since classes began in September.