Elementary and secondary schools in Niagara return to online learning on April 19
All four school boards in Niagara provide information on confirmed cases and school closure status. Learn what happens if a COVID-19 case is confirmed at your child’s school.
Niagara Region Public Health recommends active screening every day before entering the school, whether you're a student, parent / guardian, school staff member or visitor. See the Ontario government screening tool.
If anyone fails the screening questions, or refuses to answer, they should NOT enter the building. They should return home to self-isolate.
Adults experiencing even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should always contact their health care provider for an assessment or contact the Niagara Health COVID-19 Assessment Centre to book a testing appointment. The next steps for children depend on what kind of symptoms they have. Review symptoms in children and find out what steps you should take depending on the symptom.
Schools are responsible for reporting suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases in their school.
For more information, school administrators, principals and teachers can email the school health program.
To learn about prevention and protection measures specific to your child's school, visit the school board's website:
Download and print guidance for cleaning and disinfection.
Products that provide both cleaning and disinfection action are preferable due to ease of use. For example, hydrogen peroxide products. Only use cleaning and disinfectant products that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). Check the expiry date of the agents before use. These should be used according to the manufacturer's instructions.
A program for cleaning and disinfecting schools should be developed, including reviews of:
High touch surfaces
Cleaning plus disinfection at least twice daily is suggested at a minimum. However, more frequent cleaning and disinfection may be necessary, depending on the frequency of use and extent of soilage.
Examples of high touch surfaces include washrooms (toilet fixtures, faucets), eating areas (tables, sinks, countertops), doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, touch screens, push buttons, handrails, computers, photocopiers and sports equipment.
Routine cleaning of surfaces on playgrounds, including high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal requires soap and water, but not disinfectant. Cleaning of wooden surfaces isn't recommended.
Use of shared objects, such as gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys and games, should be limited when possible, or the objects should be cleaned between each use.
Where an individual is suspected of having COVID-19 at school:
Guidance on face coverings in schools comes from the Ministry of Education.
Students in Grades 4 to 12 are required to wear non-medical or cloth face coverings in school, including in hallways and during classes. Outdoor times like recess can be used as opportunities to provide students with breaks from wearing face coverings within their small groups.
Students in Kindergarten to Grade 3 will be encouraged, but not required, to wear face coverings in indoor spaces.
Students are encouraged to practise wearing face coverings and learn what type of face covering is most comfortable for them. Students may wear their own non-medical face covering, and non-medical face coverings can be made available for students.
Teachers and staff
Medical masks and eye protection (such as face shield) will be provided for all teachers and other staff of school boards. All school-based staff will be required to wear masks, with reasonable exceptions for medical conditions.
School-based staff who are regularly in close contact with students will be provided with all appropriate personal protective equipment.
The Ontario government will provide personal protective equipment and cleaning products to school boards and will work closely to ensure appropriate supply and delivery.
Where necessary, such as in leading classes with students who are deaf or hard of hearing, masks with clear sections may be appropriate.
How to properly use a face covering
A face shield is not a replacement for a face covering / mask. Face shields are intended to be worn in addition to a face covering / mask. A face covering / mask creates a complete or near-complete barrier on the sides of the wearer's face. A face shield is open on the sides, which allows some small particles and aerosols to enter.
To learn more about face coverings and how to properly wear, fit, remove and clean your non-medical face covering visit:
For Niagara specific back-to-school transportation information and guidelines, visit Niagara Student Transportation Services and your child’s school board website.
When possible, choose walking and cycling to school as often as possible. Active transportation and private transportation by parents and caregivers will ease pressure on bussing demands. Walking and cycling to school can give your child many benefits such as increased readiness to learn, decreased levels of stress and increased levels of happiness on the journey to school.
If you need to drive, consider a safe drop-off location away from the school and let your child walk the last five minutes. This will allow them to enjoy the benefits of physical activity and help you avoid congestion around your school.
As physical distancing may not always be possible, students are encouraged to use face coverings on buses. Confirm details about requirements for face covering on busses through Niagara Student Transportation Services.
Niagara Student Transportation Services and your school boards are considering the following measures as required by the Ministry of Education:
Municipalities are working on measures to support your child's journey to school, such as face coverings for crossing guards. For details, visit your municipality’s website.
Parenting is hard and can be even more stressful during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's important to focus on what is within our control and lean into the supports we have available. Visit Niagara Parents for more information.
All travellers arriving from outside Canada:
Niagara Region Public Health doesn't have a direct role enforcing quarantine orders, but can provide support and information as needed.
Get more information for travellers without symptoms of COVID-19 returning to Canada. For questions or concerns about the emergency orders, email firstname.lastname@example.org.