Schools, child care centres and COVID-19
With schools and child care centres reopening their doors in a pandemic, the focus is on safety for children, students, and staff. Public Health Sudbury & Districts is working actively with school boards and childcare centers in our service area to ensure they have the public health supports they need for a healthy and successful return to school or child care.
What’s on this page?
All staff, students, children, and visitors must self-screen every day before attending school or child care. The questions in the COVID-19 school and child care screening tool (Government of Ontario) can help you decide if your child should or should not go to school or childcare today.
Outbreaks in schools and child care centres
Public Health posts information about outbreaks and potential exposure risks of COVID-19 including current outbreaks in schools and child care centers,
Visit our FAQ about Schools, child care centres and COVID-19 for more information about outbreaks in these settings.
Wearing masks in schools or child care centres
Face coverings, specifically non-medical masks, are one way to help keep your kids and others safe from COVID-19 at school/child care centre.
As of August 13, 2021, the Ministry of Education requires that students in Grades 1 to 12 are required to wear a properly fitted non-medical or cloth masks indoors in school, including the hallways and during classes, as well on school vehicles.
Masks may be temporarily removed indoors to consume food or drink, when a minimum distance of two metres maintained between cohorts and as much distancing as possible within a cohort.
Check with your child’s school, as additional policies may be implemented regarding the use of masks in the school setting.
Visit our FAQ about Schools, child care centres and COVID-19 for more information about mask wearing in these settings.
Eating and drinking in schools and child care centres
Whether your child is attending school in person or virtually, plan and prepare lunches ahead of time so they are well balanced with plenty of healthy good choices.
Learn more about food and healthy eat for children and youth.
Visit our FAQ about Schools, child care centres and COVID-19 for more information about eating and drinking in these settings.
Cohorting in schools and child care centres
Cohorting refers to keeping children together in smaller groups during the day and during related activities, limiting the exposure to other students and staff. This practice will help with contact tracing should that be necessary. Your child will be assigned to a specific cohort(s), and the cohort must stay together throughout the day. As much as possible, the mixing of cohorts should be avoided.
Elementary school students will be cohorted with their classmates and homeroom teacher(s), with limited contact with other subject teachers.
Visit our FAQ about Schools, child care centres and COVID-19 for more information about cohorting in these settings.
Public Health has developed various resources for schools, school boards, and parents to help them follow COVID-safe school protocols (Government of Ontario) and support the safe re-opening of child care centers (Government of Ontario).
- View our school resources.
- The Théâtre du Nouvel-Ontario, in collaboration with Public Health Sudbury & Districts, created an informative and entertaining video seriesabout COVID-19 and how to stay safe. The series, entitled “Gretchen en Quarantchaine”, is a great resource for children to help understand COVID-19 and the public health measures that have become a daily reality. Note: this video series is only available in French.
- Learn more about how to properly wear a mask or face covering. Watch students Simon and Seran demonstrate how to put on, take off, and store a mask at school.
Posters and handouts
The following posters can be used by schools to remind children and students about the importance of physical distancing, how to wear a mask and washing their hands.
- This document “What to do if a child is ill BEFORE going to school/child care centres” provides a step-by-step road map for principals, teachers and the broader school community on the steps schools should take if a student is ill before school/child care centre hours.
- This document “What to do: if a student is ill during school/child care centre hours” provides a step-by-step road map for principals, teachers and the broader school community on the steps schools should take if a student is ill during school hours.
- “What happens when: A positive COVID-19 case is identified in a school community” (258 KB) provides a step-by-step road map for principals, teachers, and the broader school community on the steps that are taken if a school student, staff or visitor tests positive for COVID-19. It also includes information regarding the declaration of an outbreak.
- Hand Washing Heroes (Government of Canada)
- Reduce the Spread of COVID-19: Hygiene for Kids (Government of Canada)
- How to put on, take off and properly wear a mask at school
For more frequently asked questions about schools, childcare centres and COVID-19.
For more detailed information on COVID-19 procedures in childcare centres visit our Child Care Centres and COVID-19 page.
This item was last modified on September 30, 2021