Return to School/Child Care Protocols During COVID-19

The criteria required for a student or staff to return to school/child care following an illness or absence is dependant on a number of factors. This guidance does not apply to high-risk contacts (HRC).

If the child/staff does not get tested for COVID-19

Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3
If a child/staff member has symptoms related to other known causes or conditions (e.g., shortness of breath related to asthma, nausea related to anxiety) they can return to school/childcare when:
  • They feel well enough for daily activities.
Household members do not need to isolate.

If a child/staff has symptoms as outlined in the screening tool and chooses not to get tested, they can return to school/childcare when:

  • They have isolated for 10 days from symptom onset (despite vaccination status); AND
  • No fever, and symptoms improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms); AND
  • Must be able to pass screening tool

Household members who are NOT fully vaccinated* must isolate for 10 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual
who was not tested (and be able to pass screening tool) before returning to school/ childcare.

If a health care provider (HCP) has diagnosed the symptomatic child/staff with a condition that isn’t related to COVID-19,
they can return to school/ childcare:

  • No fever, and symptoms improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms)

Household members who are NOT fully vaccinated* can stop isolation and return to school/childcare
once HCP has provided alternative diagnosis and are able to pass the screening tool.

If the child/staff tests negative for COVID-19

Symptomatic child/staff may return to school if all the following are met:

  • Test results are negative for COVID-19; AND
  • No fever, and symptoms improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours for gastrointestinal symptoms); AND
  • Must be able to pass screening tool

Note: proof of negative test result not required.

Household members who are NOT fully vaccinated* must remain home while symptomatic person is awaiting test results. Once the person with symptoms gets a negative COVID-19 test result, household members may return to work/school/ childcare as long as they pass the screening tool.

If the child/staff tests positive for COVID-19

Symptomatic child/staff who tests positive for COVID-19 must follow directions from Public Health (i.e. self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset and symptoms improving for 24 hours (and no fever).

Household members who are NOT fully vaccinated*must self-isolate for 10 days from last exposure/contact with
individual who tested positive.

Symptomatic fully vaccinated* members are required to isolate until they receive a negative result.

All household members, including fully vaccinated ones, are recommended to go for a COVID-19 test as advised by Public Health.

Note: If a child lives in more than one household and was in both households in the 48 hrs. prior to symptom onset or while experiencing symptoms, then both households must isolate while waiting for test results*.

* Household members who are fully vaccinated and have no symptoms are not required to self-isolate unless otherwise directed by the local public health unit. A person is fully vaccinated when it has been 14 days or more after receiving their second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series or their first dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine series.

Eastern Ontatio Health Unit / Bureau de santé de l'Ontario