December 15 2021
HAMILTON, ON – Effective today, Hamilton Public Health Services is recommending enhanced health and safety measures for local schools to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant of concern leading up to and following the holiday season when students return to in-person learning.
Recommended enhanced health and safety measures for local schools
With cases related to the highly-transmissible Omicron variant anticipated to rise in the coming days and weeks, and this new variant expected to quickly become dominant, Hamilton Public Health Services is recommending the following actions for school communities:
- Re-implement in-school validation of daily screening if it can be operationally implemented;
- Postpone or cancel any in-person staff meetings, social gatherings, holiday events for the duration of this week;
- All elementary aged students to stay within their respective cohort at recess for the duration of this week.
On reopening in January 2022, school boards should plan for the following:
- A continuation of daily screening validation beyond the first two weeks of school as already outlined by the Ontario Ministry of Education;
- Participation in high-contact extracurriculars to be limited to fully vaccinated students only.
Community members need to stay vigilant and follow the well-established public health measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and the Omicron variant of concern. Individuals must continue physical distancing, masking when required, limiting the size of social gatherings, and getting vaccinated if they’re born in 2016 or before. Any social gathering should be considered a higher risk, and community members should think carefully about those risks, and limit the number of events they attend. This is critical as we all are spending more time indoors as we enter the winter months and families across the city plan holiday activities
Hamilton healthcare partners are continuing to focus on its vaccination efforts for eligible residents aged five and older, and booster doses for people aged 50 and older. Children ages five to 11 years of age and individuals who are eligible for third or booster doses are required to book an appointment for their COVID-19 vaccination. Learn about available locations, hours of operation and how to book at www.hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine. Hamilton Public Health Services encourages residents to please check eligibility before booking an appointment. Most individuals must wait at least 168 days (or at least six months) after their second dose to receive a third/booster dose.
- With winter holidays approaching, the Ministry of Education has provided BTNX rapid antigen screening kits to students in publicly funded schools to use during the two-week break. The kits, which contain five tests, will enable students to complete voluntary screening at home prior to the return to in-person learning January 2022.
- Public Health Services’ COVID-19 Vaccine Hotline: 905-974-9848, option 7 or [email protected]
- Public Health Services’ COVID-19 Hotline: 905-974-9848 or [email protected]