Going to school during COVID-19
How to stay safe while attending school
COVID-19 vaccines for children
Peel Public Health recommends that all eligible children receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccinating children and youth will not only help to protect them from severe COVID-19 outcomes, but will also protect those around them, including vulnerable populations and people who cannot receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Get details about COVID-19 vaccines for children including information on safety, where to get the vaccine, eligibility, providing consent, and how to prepare for their appointment.
Caregiver webinar on the management of COVID-19 in child care and school settings
On January 17, 2022, Peel Public Health hosted a webinar for caregivers and the school community on the management of COVID-19 in child care and school settings.
Additional topics included Omicron in children and the COVID-19 vaccine for children.
The webinar speakers were:
- Dr. Lawrence Loh, Medical Officer of Health
- Dr. Alia Sunderji, Pediatric Emergency Physician, Hospital for Sick Children
- Dr. Rachita Gurtu, Family Physician, COVID-19 Vaccination Co-Lead
- Dr. Monica Hau, Associate Medical Officer of Health
If you missed the webinar, you can access the recording to learn more.
Daily screening is an Ontario government requirement. You must screen your child before they leave for school each day.
Refer to the Ontario COVID School Screening tool for more information.
Peel Public Health strongly recommends that school boards and schools conduct daily on-site confirmation of student, staff, and visitor self-screening results. This practice will be required during periods of increased risk (e.g., after a COVID-19 exposure or during an outbreak).
If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, refer to instructions and next steps for individuals with symptoms.
If your child has been exposed to someone with COVID-19, refer to instructions and next steps for close contacts.
If you or your child are required to self isolate and cannot safely self-isolate at home, free isolation hotels are available in Peel. Our COVID-19 Voluntary Isolation Housing program provides a hotel quality room that’s private and safe. For more information call Region of Peel Human Services at 905-281-1269, or get more details.
If you have questions about your specific situation, call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700. (In Caledon call 905-584-2216.) Our call centre is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Schools in Peel must follow the guidance outlined by the Ontario government for the 2021-2022 school year. Additional local recommendations for schools in Peel have also been developed in consultation with our local school board partners. Refer to prevention measures in schools to learn more.
Parents and guardians can help keep their children safe in school by following these measures.
Ensure your child has a well-fitted, high-quality mask to wear to school.
Students in Grades 1 to 12 are required to wear masks inside the school, including in hallways and during classes, and on the bus. Peel Public Health strongly recommends that school boards and private schools require students in kindergarten (JK and SK) to wear masks while attending school in-person and while on a school bus.
Masks may be temporarily removed indoors, with physical distancing precautions, during breaks when students are eating or drinking. Students are not required to wear masks outdoors, but physical distancing should be encouraged as much as possible. Masking outdoors should be maintained where physical distancing cannot be maintained between cohorts (e.g., during entry or when exiting the school). Refer to your school’s policy for details on masks.
- 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 how to choose, wear and clean or dispose of a mask.
Reasonable exceptions on the requirement to wear masks apply (e.g., those who have trouble breathing or cannot to wear a mask for medical reasons). Explain to your child that some people cannot wear masks, and to show kindness in these situations.
Hand hygiene is an important protective measure. Talk to your child about frequent hand hygiene and the safe use of hand sanitizers.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available or if hands are not visibly dirty.
- Allow hand sanitizer to dry before eating or drinking.
- Never eat or drink hand sanitizers. Even small amounts can be dangerous or fatal.
- Always supervise your child when they use hand sanitizer.
- Store hand sanitizer in a safe place that’s out of the reach of children.
- Avoid products packaged in containers that look like food or beverage containers to avoid possible confusion.
- COVID-19: Interim Guidance for Schools and Child Care: Omicron Surge
From the Ministry of Health
- Canada’s guidance for school bus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic
Requirements for school busses
Mental health supports and resources
For local programs and supports refer to:
- COVID-19 Response in Peel: Mental Health and Wellbeing Supports
- Kids Help Phone – Resources Around Me
For more information and resources refer to:
- Student Mental Health Ontario – Resource Hub
- Children Mental Health Ontario – Back to School Toolkit
- COVID-19 Youth Mental Health Resource Hub
- Be There for your children
- Anxiety Canada – My Anxiety Plan for children and youth
School board plans and case data
Peel District School Board
- Reopening plan for the 2021/22 school year
Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board
- Back to school protocols for the 2021/22 school year
Conseil scolaire Viamonde
- Reopening plan for the 2021/22 school year
Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir
- Back to school information for the 2020/21 school year
- Symptoms of COVID-19
- Close contacts – including what to do if you’ve been exposed to a person with COVID-19
- Self-isolation – including when and how to self-isolate
- Caring for your child if they have COVID-19 – including when hospital care is needed
- Mask use and how to help your child wear a mask correctly