Parents of students who attend Peel District School Board (PDSB) schools in Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon should note that changes have been made to COVID-19 screening and protocols in public education facilities across the region.
In a letter written to families, Dr. Lawrence Loh, the Medical Officer of Health with Peel Public Health, outlined some changes that are being made in accordance with new rules passed down by the province.
Loh’s letter says that starting today (Oct. 5), any confirmed positive COVID-19 case in a class or cohort (as well as on any school bus or in a before/after school program or extra-curricular activity) will require all students and the teacher in the affected class to go home immediately.
“Please have a plan for your child to be picked up during the school day in these situations,” Loh’s letter reads.
In the event of a positive test result in a class or cohort, students and staff must self-isolate at home while Peel Public Health investigates the case. Other students (including siblings of the isolated cohort) and staff may continue to attend school if they do not have symptoms.
“If our investigation reveals that testing is needed, we will provide you with further information on testing and when you can safely return to school. If students or staff develop any symptoms, testing is strongly recommended,” Loh writes.
“If the investigation reveals low risk of spread, you will be informed when the class or cohort may return to school.”
As for what symptoms parents should look out for when deciding to send their child or children to school, Loh says that students experiencing a fever, cough, shortness of breath or loss of taste or smell should be tested for COVID-19.
If a student has a sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, headache, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or muscle aches, he or she must stay at home for at least 24 hours from when the symptoms started. If the symptom is improving, the student may return when they feel well enough.
If the student develops two of these symptoms, or one symptom persists or worsens, he or she should be tested for COVID-19.
“If you’re unsure if you should be tested for COVID-19, speak to your health care provider. If your health care provider recommends testing and the student does not get tested, the student must self-isolate for ten days at home from the start of their symptoms,” Loh writes.
“Students with symptoms who are tested for COVID-19 and their household members must isolate at home while waiting for the test result.”
If the test is negative, students and staff may return to school if all of the following apply:
- they do not have a fever (without using medication)
- it has been at least 24 hours since their symptoms started improving
- they were not in close contact with someone who currently has COVID-19
For information on where to book a testing appointment in Peel region, click here.
Loh’s letter says that everyone in a household must stay home if anyone has any COVID-19 symptoms where testing is recommended by the COVID-19 screening tool or a health care provider. If the ill person tests negative, everyone else in the household can resume their normal activities.
“We recognize these steps may be very disruptive to you and your family. We can stop the spread of COVID-19, but only if we all work together,” Loh writes.
“Thank you for helping keep your family and school community safer.”