In-person learning is essential for the mental and physical wellbeing of students and Toronto Public Health (TPH) is working closely with local schools to continue supporting a safe as possible return to school. As part of this effort, TPH is completing case and contact management for COVID-19 cases to help keep staff, students, and the community as safe as possible, as we continue living with COVID-19.
Now that in-person learning has resumed, TPH is closely monitoring all COVID-19 activity in school settings. As of 10 a.m. today, the following schools have public health investigations underway where TPH will connect with all close contacts:
COVID-19 and the more infectious Delta variant continue to circulate in Toronto. It is not unexpected to have cases related to the school setting, even during the first week of school, as cases in school settings often reflect what is happening in the broader community.
In keeping with provincial guidance, several public health measures are in place in schools to protect students and staff including masking, and cohorting students. TPH also continues to recommend frequent hand washing, cleaning protocols, and for staff and students to complete TPH’s screening questionnaire or the provincial school screening tool each day and for schools to confirm the completion of the screen. The Ontario Ministry of Education has also announced a vaccination policy for school staff.
TPH’s screening questionnaire is available here
The provincial school screening tool is available here
TPH staff follow up with each COVID-19 positive case in the city. Case and contact management is, at its core, about investigation. Data gathered through this process helps public health determine where a person may have gotten infected, how the virus is spreading in the community, and how it can be contained.
TPH completes an investigation for all laboratory confirmed cases related to schools. Principals are recommended to follow TPH’s COVID-19 Decision Guide for Principals to Dismiss Cohorts to Self-isolate, which explains when to dismiss affected cohorts, while allowing those who are fully vaccinated to continue to attend school as long as they have no symptoms. The Guide is available here
TPH declares an outbreak if there are two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in students and/or staff in a school with an epidemiological link within 14 days. This means that there is at least one case that could have reasonably acquired their infection in school, which includes transportation and before and after school care.
Active school outbreaks are posted on TPH’s Active Outbreaks dashboard, under the “Schools” tab. The dashboard is updated five times per week, from Monday to Friday, except on statutory holidays. TPH will also share school cohort dismissal and outbreaks via Twitter at 5 p.m., from Monday to Friday.
“It is not unexpected that we’ve started to see COVID-19 cases in our school settings as we continue living with this virus. Vaccination continues to be our best defense against this virus. It provides protection for those receiving the vaccine and for others around them. This is why we continue to remind everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as they are able if they have not yet done so.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health
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Media contact: Toronto Public Health Media Relations, email@example.com