Ministry Revises Covid-19 Screener

Ministry Revises Covid-19 Screening Tool
Posted on 02/23/2021
Covid-19 Update

Last week, the Ministry of Education released details on several new initiatives intended to build upon existing public health and safety measures to keep schools open and safe. Since that time, school boards have been putting plans in place to execute these new measures.

This is a lot of new information. Please ensure you review it carefully.

First, the province has released a new version of the COVID-19 School & Child Care Screening Tool. The revised tool includes changes to stay-at-home requirements for those with symptoms and isolation requirements for household contacts of those with symptoms. A printable/downloadable version from KFL&A Public health is also available.

Effective immediately:

1. Students and staff with any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19, even those with only one symptom, must stay home until:

  • They receive a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or
  • It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better.

2. Students and staff are now required to stay home from school or child care if anyone in their household has new or worsening symptoms of COVID-19, and has been recommended for isolation and testing. All asymptomatic household contacts of those with symptoms are required to quarantine until the symptomatic household member:

  • receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or

  •  receives an alternative diagnosis by a health-care professional

If the symptomatic individual tests positive for COVID-19, or is not tested, and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health-care professional, the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from household members) for 10 days from symptom onset. All household contacts must isolate until 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual (a total of 24 days if the symptomatic individual is not able to effectively self isolate from other members of the household).

Secondary students (Grades 9 to 12) attending in-person learning must continue to confirm they have passed COVID-19 screening using the LDSB COVID-19 Daily Screening Confirmation Form before attending school each day.

Secondly, the Ministry of Education has directed school boards to offer voluntary asymptomatic testing to students and staff. We are currently working with Ministry officials and KFL&A Public Health on finalizing details for Limestone. We will share more information once it is available.

Finally, although there is currently low to no Variants of Concern (VOC) circulating in the KFL&A Region, KFL&A Public Health has a robust plan to manage potential cases in schools. Because VOCs could spread more easily than typical COVID-19 cases, more proactive isolation and contact tracing measures may be required if a VOC is suspected in a school environment. Limestone and KFL&A Public Health will advise school communities when more aggressive action is needed.

The new Ministry directives regarding COVID-19 screening may impact student and staff absenteeism. The board will make every effort to continue in-person learning but situations may arise where classrooms (or entire schools) may need to pivot to remote learning for a designated period of time. We hope this is not required.

We must continue to work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and ensure public health guidelines are met to keep our schools safe and open.