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Updated COVID-19 school screening tools will reduce unnecessary absences and support safe return to school

Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/September 21, 2020 – Today, Algonquin Lakeshore Catholic District School Board, Hastings Prince Edward School Board, and Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) has shared updated COVID-19 screening protocols with school communities, to support safe and healthy school environments in our region. In response to the new online school screening tool that was launched by the province on September 14, 2020 HPEPH has updated local:

Key updates include:

  • More detailed symptom screening (see printable screening tool for complete list)
  • Permission for asymptomatic housemates or siblings of symptomatic students/staff to continue to attend school while monitoring for symptoms – as long as the symptomatic individual is seeking testing/waiting for test results.
  • Permission for students/staff who have received a negative COVID-19 test result to return to school 24 hours after symptoms have started to improve.
  • Requirements for 14 days of isolation for students/staff who choose not to be tested, as well as siblings/housemates, unless all of the following apply:
    • a health-care provider has diagnosed the student/staff with another illness, AND
    • the student/staff does not have a fever (without using medication), AND
    • it has been at least 24 hours since symptoms started (48 hours if symptoms included vomiting and diarrhea)

HPEPH strongly recommends that an individual with any COVID-19 symptom, and no known alternative diagnosis, be tested for COVID-19. It’s important to note that the diagnosis of another infection does not exclude the possibility of also being infected with COVID-19. Being tested will reduce the risk of unknowingly spreading COVID-19.

We all have a role to play to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and all residents are asked to do their part to keep everyone – especially those who are at greater risk of illness – safe and healthy. Following public health guidelines both in and out of school will help keep everyone safe. Preventing the spread of COVID-19 in schools will help protect the community, and preventing the spread in the community will help protect those in schools. Families and caregivers are asked to remain diligent about screening their children daily, and encourage students to let an adult know if they are feeling unwell.

For additional information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca/back-to-school-planning-parents. If you have questions that are not answered on our website, please contact our COVID-19 information line by dialing 613-966-5500 or 1-800-267-2803. The COVID-19 information line operates Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

Media Contacts

Emily Tubbs
etubbs@hpeph.ca

Maureen Hyland
mhyland@hpeph.ca

 About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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COVID-19 VACCINES IN HPEPH

Appointments for individuals 5+ can be booked through the provincial vaccine booking site, or by calling 1-833-943-3900 from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week.  

Due to limited supply, HPEPH will initially be prioritizing available bivalent vaccine for residents and workers at identified highest-risk facilities.  Some HPEPH vaccination clinics MAY offer the bivalent vaccine, as availability allows. Vaccine clinics in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties will continue to offer monovalent vaccines (the same mRNA vaccines given as the primary series) for all eligible individuals until a steady supply of the bivalent vaccine is available.

Visit the HPEPH vaccine booking web page for details.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Symptoms or exposure? Visit www.ontario.ca/exposed for the most up to date information about what to do.

For the most up to date information on current provincial restrictions, visit https://covid-19.ontario.ca/public-health-measures.

The Ministry of Health has launched a new toll-free line as an additional resource to help answer questions from the public regarding evolving COVID-19 testing and isolation guidance. The line can be reached at 1-888-777-0730, and is available from 8 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week.