Last updated: March 7, 2023

The information on this page is meant to support parents, caregivers and families in preventing the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 and Influenza, in our communities.

To prevent the spread of infections, it is important to stay home when sick.

Everyone has a role to play to reduce the spread of respiratory viruses. There are measures we can take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and those most vulnerable in our community. Each measure provides an added layer of protection.

Learn more about measures to protect yourself and others and other school health resources.

Download the Screening Poster and Questionnaire for Child Care, Day Camps and Schools. Also available in multiple languages.

To prevent the spread of infections, it is important to stay home when sick.

Complete the Toronto Public Health Child Care and School Screening Questionnaire or the Provincial School and Child Care Screening Tool for your child each day before attending child care or school.

Seek Testing for COVID-19 if Eligible/Available

  • COVID-19 testing and treatments are available to certain groups. If your child is at high risk of severe illness, speak to your child’s health care provider as soon as possible after symptoms develop.
  • Rapid antigen tests will be available to individuals in child care and school settings. Distribution of tests and directions for use will follow provincial testing guidance.
  • There are clinical ssessment Centres that are able to assess, test, and provide treatment options to individuals with COVID-19, flu and other respiratory symptoms. Some centres can also assess children. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 testing locations webpage.

There are many reasons children/students may have symptoms that are not related to COVID-19 or another respiratory infection. Examples include:

  • Cough related to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Shortness of breath related to asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure
  • Runny nose/nasal congestion related to seasonal allergies, being outside in cold weather, chronic sinusitis
  • Headache related to getting a vaccine in the last 48 hours, tension-type headaches, chronic migraines

Children/students who have a history of related or known causes of symptoms for conditions they already have can confirm that from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner, if needed, noting that the child has another condition that explains the child’s/student’s symptoms.

Children/students with a chronic health issue that is medically diagnosed and unrelated to COVID-19 should look for new, different or worsening symptoms. If the child/student has a chronic health condition and symptoms are getting worse, they should stay home and speak to a health care provider or seek medical attention.

What is a close contact?

A close contact is someone who is living with or exposed to someone who tested positive or has symptoms while that person was contagious. Someone is contagious from 48 hours before symptoms start or their test date (whichever came first), until they complete their self-isolation.

Your child is a close contact if:

  • Someone who lives with your child has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19


  • If your child:
    • Was within two meters from someone who has symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19 AND
    • Spent at least 15 minutes of time with them AND/OR multiple shorter lengths of time without consistent use of masking.

Notifying close contacts

In the community, it is the responsibility of the individual with COVID-19 symptoms or COVID-19 positive test to determine who their close contacts are and to notify them of their potential exposure.

Measures to take if your child was a close contact:

  • Your child may attend child care or school, as long as they do not have any symptoms. This also applies to your child’s household members.
  • For 10 days after your child’s last close contact with a person who has symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test:
    • Monitor for symptoms. If your child develops any symptoms, they are to stay home and follow instructions on the Child Care and School Screening Questionnaire.
    • Follow extra measures
      • Wear a well-fitted mask in all public settings (including schools/child care, unless <2 years of age);
      • Avoid non-essential activities where they need to take off their mask (e.g., dining out, playing a wind instrument, high contact sports where masks cannot be safely worn), with reasonable exceptions such as when eating in a shared space at school while maintaining as much distancing as possible;
      • Do not visit people or settings (e.g. hospitals, long-term care homes) at higher risk, including where there are seniors or those who are immunocompromised.
      • Follow this advice even if your child tests negative for COVID-19 or you did not do a test. These measures are an added layer of prevention against the spread of COVID-19 and respiratory viruses.

Learn more about what is a close contact in the community (also available in French).

Toronto Public Health (TPH) strongly recommends wearing a well-fitting, high quality mask in all indoor public settings, including in schools and childcare settings. Masking continues to be an important layer of protection to keep you, your loved ones, and the most vulnerable in our community safe.

Helping Your Child Wear a Mask at School/Child Care

  • Choose a high quality mask, e.g. 3+ layers of cloth, medical mask, or respirator.
  • Make sure the mask fits comfortably and covers their nose, mouth and chin.
  • Remind them to wear a mask indoors, and outdoors when it is hard to keep a distance.
  • Plan to send at least two high-quality masks with your child each day.
  • Send a bag for clean and dirty masks. Masks should be changed when dirty or wet.
  • Remind students not to share their masks with others.

Download this information as a PDF (available in French).

How to Wear a Mask at School/Child Care

  • Choose a high quality mask, e.g. 3+ layers of cloth, medical mask, or respirator.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
  • Make sure the mask fits over your nose, mouth and chin and is comfortable.
  • Remove your mask as soon as it gets wet or dirty. Avoid touching the outside of the mask.
  • Place the dirty cloth mask in a bag and clean your hands again. Put on a new, clean mask.
  • Do not leave the mask on your neck or forehead. Cover your nose. Do not share masks.

Download this information as a PDF (available in French).

Learn more about face masks and respirators, including qualities of a good mask.

Stay up-to-date with your vaccinations including a COVID-19 booster for the best protection against getting very sick from COVID-19. Everyone ages 6 months and over can get the COVID-19 and other vaccines at the same time.

Visit COVID-19: Vaccines for 6 Months to Under 5 Years Old to learn about COVID-19 vaccines for young children, vaccine safety and benefits and having a positive vaccine experience. Recordings of virtual information sessions for parents are also available. Learn about vaccine safety and benefits, specialized accommodations/clinics, and how to talk to your child about getting the vaccine.

Our COVID-19 vaccine resources (also available in French) can be shared so youth can learn about COVID-19 vaccines and find answers to common questions.

Visit School Immunization Program for information about accessing Meningococcal, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Hepatitis B vaccines, and Immunization for Preschoolers for information about childhood vaccines for infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.