School COVID-19 Resources for Parents

Promotion for School Reopening information for parents

School COVID-19 planning

Schools have the responsibility to protect staff and student health, safety and well-being and take measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Learn more about school COVID-19 plans.

Learn more about school COVID-19 plans

Maintaining public health measures such as staying home when you are sick, washing your hands, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 are important ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Screening and symptoms

All staff, students and visitors must self-screen every day before attending school

Individuals with COVID-19 symptoms (as identified in the screening tool) cannot attend school/ should follow the guidance provided in the screening tool. If your child has symptoms not compatible with COVID-19, you should follow directions provided by the screening tool.

The decision guides below can help you determine if a child should attend school:


Read more about:

  • Testing opetions in Hamilton
  • Self-collection PCR testing
  • Rapid antigen testing

Public health measures

To prevent the spread COVID-19 in schools, there are some important things we can do:

Hand hygiene (washing hands or using hand sanitizer) is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs. Children need to learn when and how to wash their hands properly. It is important to wash hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Teach children & youth about handwashing:

Children should be taught proper respiratory etiquette, i.e. to cough into their elbow or sleeve or to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze and to put used tissues in the garbage.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and have been approved for use in Canada for individuals age 5 and older. The vaccine reduces the risk of getting a COVID-19 infection and from getting very sick and being hospitalized due to COVID-19.

Local school COVID-19 vaccination rates appear to correlate with a community’s socioeconomic status, which are consistent with what is seen in Hamilton’s general population. COVID-19 vaccination rates — similar to vaccine coverage rates of required vaccines under the Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) — are not reflective of school performance; rather, are rooted in the social determinants of health which differ across school communities. Having access to COVID-19 vaccination rates of local schools will provide Hamilton Public Health Services and school board partners an important tool to support COVID-19 case, contact and outbreak management within schools.

Frequently Asked Questions


No, you do not need a note from your doctor or proof of a negative test before your child returns to school/ childcare. 

Close contacts

A close contact is typically someone who had a prolonged exposure in close proximity to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. What to do if your child has been notified that they are a close contact.

COVID-19 in school

It may be helpful to review the following with your child:

  • It is important to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines are available to those who are age 5 and older..
  • Stay at home if you are sick, even when a symptom is mild. Staying home helps prevent spreading your illness to others.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Wash hands after coughing and sneezing.
  • If you don’t feel well, tell someone.
  • Avoid touching your face. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Make sure immunizations are up to date.

Role of parents

You can create a family isolation plan to keep sick children away from vulnerable person(s) in your house and reduce contact with other social networks to lower risk. As well, you will be responsible to follow school protocols such as: 

Role of school board

Guided by the Ministry of Education and supported by public health, school boards have put in place infection prevention and control measures to support student and staff safety, such as:

  • screening to ensure sick children and staff do not attend school
  • prompt isolation of sick children and staff on premises with supervision
  • contacting parents/guardians of sick children for immediate pick up
  • enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures

School boards and public health will work together to monitor school absenteeism and intervene as necessary.

Role of public health

Hamilton Public Health Services has consulted with Hamilton schools and school boards throughout the pandemic. Hamilton Public Health Services supports the return to school following the directions and guidelines developed by the Ministry of Health and is committed to ongoing support of schools as they operate by:

  • consulting on infection prevention and control measures and policies
  • providing Public Health Nurses to work with schools
  • providing health-related COVID-19 information and resources
  • monitoring and tracking COVID-19 related absenteeism