The Government of Ontario, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, has made the decision to move elementary and secondary schools to remote learning. Boards will make provisions for continued in-person support for students with special education needs who require additional support that cannot be accommodated through remote learning.
Last updated: April 26, 2021 at 7:30 p.m.
Download Toronto Public Health’s Guidance for Reopening Schools (JK to 12) (also available below and in French) and COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Schools JK to Grade 12 (also available below and in French).
The Planning Guide for Schools identifies issues and critical elements of emergency preparedness that organizations should consider in planning for a pandemic.
The Government of Ontario provides a daily update on COVID-19 cases reported in schools and child care centres.
Also read Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 testing information for school students and staff and follow-up instructions for school children, staff and visitors tested for COVID-19.
The following recommendations are intended to help JK to Grade 12 schools reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is based on provincial Ministry of Education guidelines. As each site will be different, it is ultimately the responsibility of every school to review their own policies, procedures and site-specific circumstances, and assess their ability to operate while ensuring that the appropriate infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures are implemented and maintained.
For publicly-funded schools (i.e. Toronto District School Board (TDSB),Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), CS Viamonde, and CS Mon Avenir, where there is a difference between this guidance document and your school board’s re-opening plan and internal policies and procedures, your school board’s plan should take precedence.
Updated information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.
The Ministry of Education has released a Guide to Re-opening Ontario’s Schools’. The guidance and requirements outlined in this document build on the guidance released by the Ministry on June 19, 2020, and will be re-evaluated regularly, and updated as needed, based on public health advice.
The current community spread of COVID-19 requires schools to prepare a range of delivery circumstances for the 2020-21 school year, including full re-opening with public health measures in place, voluntary learn-at-home options, and full remote delivery. There is also an adapted delivery model (i.e. small cohorts, in-class attending on alternate days) should public health conditions require them. Toronto English secondary school boards will open on an adaptive model (i.e. Toronto District School Board (TDSB), Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB)). Designated school boards will be given notice to move to conventional delivery when it is determined safe to do so. Non-publically funded schools should plan for reopening in the safest way possible.
Information changes frequently. Please visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 for updated information or call us at 416-338-7600.
Note: School-specific resources are available on our website at: toronto.ca/COVID19SchoolInfo
This is a checklist of required measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in JK to Grade 12 schools. It is intended as a companion Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Guidance for Re-opening Schools JK to Grade 12, and schools should review that document for more detailed information on how to keep schools safe.
For publically-funded schools (i.e. Toronto District School Board (TDSB),Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), CS Viamonde, and CS Mon Avenir, where there is a difference between this checklist and your school board’s re-opening plan and internal policies and procedures, your school board’s plan should take precedence.
Information changes frequently. Please visit our website at toronto.ca/COVID19 for updated information or call us at 416-338-7600.
Note: School-specific resources available are on our website: toronto.ca/COVID19SchoolInfo
Please fill out the COVID-19 School Reporting Notification Tool.
Download the Screening Questionnaire for School Students JK-12. Size 8.5 x 11 inches.
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Graduation is an important milestone in students’ lives. Considering COVID-19 continues to circulate in the community, schools will need to continue to be vigilant in maintaining public health measures when considering options for students who are graduating. As a result, graduation will look different this year.
The aim and purpose of this document is to assist individuals and businesses with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.
Below are some considerations for planning student graduations in JK-Grade 12 schools.
If gowns are used for graduation photography or ceremonies, it is recommended that:
At this time, Toronto Public Health does not recommend large assemblies/gatherings indoors or outdoors. Virtual options should be considered and are preferred. If the school choses to plan a small ceremony for graduating students it should be done only within their class cohort. If students are returning to school for the ceremony, the ceremony should be conducted with members of their original class cohort.
For more information on COVID-19 recommendations for schools, please see the Toronto Public Health Guidance for the Reopening of Schools JK-12.
Students can present with COVID-19 symptoms for many reasons. While schools are not asked to do a full assessment of each COVID-19 symptom a student may have, there are some considerations. To help you determine which COVID-19 symptoms may require COVID-19 testing, consider the following:
Does the student have one or more of the following new or worsening symptoms?
If a student has any of the above new or worsening symptoms, not related to other know causes or conditions they already have, they should stay home and arrange to get tested.
Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Continuous or barking cough that is more than usual, or that makes a whistling noise when breathing. Not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, or other known conditions they already have.
Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply. Not related to asthma or other known respiratory conditions they already have.
Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders, or other known conditions they already have.
Unusual or extreme fatigue, muscle aches or lack of energy. Not related to depression, insomnia, thyroid dysfunction, sudden injury, or other known conditions they already have. Feeling generally unwell and unable to participate in activities of school.
Not related to seasonal allergies, being outside in cold weather, or other known conditions they already have. If the student is diagnosed with seasonal allergies, and the symptoms are worsening, consider testing.
Unusual, long-lasting. Not related to tension-type headaches, chronic migraines, not eating or computer use (i.e. gets better with food or glasses).
Painful swallowing. Not related to seasonal allergies, acid reflux, or other known conditions they already have.
Not related to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, menstrual cramps, or other known conditions they already have. A stomach ache on its own is not a COVID-19 symptom.
There are many reasons students may have symptoms that are not related to COVID-19, including seasonal allergies, asthma, etc. Students who have a history of related or know causes of symptoms for conditions they already have can seek an alternative diagnosis from a medical doctor or nurse practitioner. The alternative diagnosis will confirm that they do not have COVID-19, but another condition that explains the student’s symptoms.
If the student has a chronic health condition and symptoms are “worsening,” testing is recommended.
Parents can complete and submit a Back to School Confirmation Form to the school to confirm that the child is safe to return to school. Toronto Public Health does not recommend the use of doctor notes for return to school.
For more information, please review:
This document provides guidance for schools for the safe retrieval of personal belongings by parents, students and staff while schools remain closed for in-person learning. Strategies can be adapted to meet the needs of different school environments. It is recommended that schools consider mailing belongings or delaying the retrieval/drop off of items until schools re-open for in-person learning. Read Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Guidance Elementary and Secondary Schools for further guidance.
The aim and purpose of this document is to assist schools with information related to the Ontario Government’s reopening framework as well as Toronto Public Health requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It is important to know that breaches of some of these directions will constitute offences under provincial regulations or other public health legal requirements. While we aim to provide relevant and timely information, no guarantee can be given as to the accuracy or completeness of any information provided. This guidance is not intended to nor does it provide legal advice and should not be relied upon or treated as legal advice. Users seeking legal advice should consult with a qualified legal professional.
Current information about COVID-19 can be found in Toronto Public Health’s COVID-19 Fact Sheet.
Read Toronto Public Health’s guidance for student nutrition programs.
Below are links to resources that may be helpful for school administrators, parents/caregivers and students in JK to Grade 12. Please check the links often as the information is updated on a regular basis.
|Resource Type & Source||Resource Link||Target Audience|
|TPH COVID-19 Contact List for Schools:|
|Toronto Public Health||TPH COVID-19 Contact List for Schools||Staff and admin for JK-12 schools|
|COVID-19 School Re-opening Prevention Checklist:|
|Toronto Public Health||COVID-19 Prevention Checklist||Staff and admin for JK-12 schools|
|Fact Sheets/Information Sheets/Apps:|
|Toronto Public Health||COVID-19 Fact Sheet||Staff and admin for JK-12 schools|
|Toronto Public Health||COVID-19 School Decision Guide||Staff and admin for JK-12 schools|
|Toronto Public Health||Follow up Instructions for School Students, Staff & Visitors Tested for COVID-19||Staff and parents/ caregivers of students in elementary and secondary schools|
|Toronto Public Health||Know When to Self-Monitor, Self-Isolate or Send your Child to School||Staff and parents/ caregivers of students in elementary and secondary schools|
|Public Health Ontario||You were tested for COVID-19: What you should know||Staff and admin for JK-12 schools|
|Government of Canada||COVID Alert app||Staff and students in secondary schools|
|Hand Hygiene/Respiratory Etiquette:|
|Toronto Public Health||Clean Hands Kit resource package||Students grades 4-6|
|Health Canada (video)||Hand washing heroes||Students grades JK-3|
|Health Canada (video)||Coughing and sneezing hygiene for kids||Students grades JK-3|
|City of Toronto (video)||Proper use of a cloth face mask||Staff and students in secondary schools|
|City of Toronto||How to wear a mask at school|
|City of Toronto||Helping children wear masks|
|City of Toronto (video)||5 Things to remember about face masks and coverings|
|Toronto Public Health||How to safely wear a cloth mask or face covering|
|Toronto Public Health||Do’s and don’t’s of wearing a mask|
|City of Toronto||Physical Distancing||Staff and admin in elementary and secondary schools to use as needed|
|City of Toronto||Protect Yourself|
|City of Toronto||Cover your Cough|
|City of Toronto||Water Filling Station|
|Toronto Public Health||Wash your Hands|
|Toronto Public Health||How the Virus can Spread|
|Toronto Public Health||Hand Washing Poster|
|Toronto Public Health||Hand Sanitizing Poster|
|Toronto Public Health||Cover Your Cough Poster|
|Toronto Public Health||3 Steps for Self-Protection Infographic|
|Toronto Public Health and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment||Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse & TPH’s Dr. Vinita Dubey on staying healthy in unprecedented times (video)||Students and staff in elementary and secondary schools|
|Toronto Public Health and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment||Toronto Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman & TPH’s Dr. Vinita Dubey on why we need to watch our distance (video)|
|Toronto Public Health and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment||Toronto FC Captain Michael Bradley & TPH’s Dr. Vinita Dubey on wearing your mask at school (video)|
|Toronto Public Health and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment||Toronto Argos PSA on why we need to stay home to keep our city safe (video)|
|Toronto Public Health||Screening Questionnaire for Schools||Students and staff in elementary and secondary schools|
|Toronto Public Health||Screening Poster for Schools|
|Toronto Public Health||Screening Questionnaire for School Staff and Visitors|
|Toronto Public Health||Screening Poster for School Staff and Visitors|
|Toronto Public Health||COVID-19 Mental Health Resources||Students and staff in elementary and secondary schools|
|Toronto Public Health||Taking Care of Your Mental Health and Well-Being (infographic)|
|Toronto Public Health||Feelings of Stress and Anxiety are Normal during COVID-19 (infographic)|
|Government of Ontario||Mental Health, Wellness and Addictions Support|
|School Mental Health Ontario||School Mental Health Ontario|
|Parents and Families:|
|City of Toronto (video)||Helping your child wear a mask at school||Parents/caregivers of students in elementary and secondary schools|
|Toronto Public Health||COVID-19 School Protocol|
|Toronto Public Health||How to Self-Monitor if Someone at School Tests Positive for COVID-19|
|Toronto Public Health||What to Do if Your Child Has COVID-19 Symptoms|
|Toronto Public Health||What Parents Need to Know if Someone at School Tests Positive for COVID-19 (infographic)|
|Toronto Public Health||Who is a Close Contact at School (infographic) (also available in multiple languages)|
|Toronto Public Health||Talking to Kids About Going Back to School (infographic)|
|Toronto Public Health||Preparing Your Child for School (infographic)|
|Toronto Public Health||10 Ways to Greet from 6 Feet (infographic)|
|School Mental Health Ontario||COVID-19-Parents and Families|
|Children’s Mental Health Ontario||COVID-19 Resources|
|Sick Kids||About Kids Health-COVID-19|
TPH has established a team of liaison public health nurses to provide COVID-19 and mental health and well-being support to schools as they reopen
Read Toronto Public Health’s school information for parents and caregivers, including tips on how to prepare for school during COVID-19 and what parents need to know if there is a case of COVID-19 at school.
We all need to wear masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. It is important to find a mask that fits well and allows you to breathe easily.
When wearing a mask, some children may occasionally breathe through their mouth, leading to dry mouth. Encourage frequent mask breaks throughout the day.
Call Toronto Public Health at 416-338-7600 if you do not have dental coverage, or if you need emergency dental care. Information about dental clinics in Toronto is also available online here.