Supporting schools

Automated translation by Google akhbaar somali kuqoran
المعلومات المكتوبة باللغة العربية
简体中文资料

An illustration of two people wearing masks. On their left is written who can currently get the COVID-19? Vaccine? A button containing the word learn more.

 

Last revised on February 24, 2021.

On this page:

Information for parents : Child care and COVID-19

Overview

We recognize that this is a difficult time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the decision to send your child(ren) to school is not easy. Each family should assess their own individual situation especially if your child(ren), family and household members are at higher risk for serious outcomes due to the COVID-19 virus . You may also want to consider your child’s health condition, their learning needs, your family’s ability to find childcare and resources to assist in providing home schooling. Each family should choose what is best for them.

Keeping COVID-19 transmission low in the community is important to help prevent the introduction of the virus into schools. The primary goal is to make reopening of schools as safe as possible. Parents, OPH and school boards each have a role to play in making the return to school as safe as possible.

Back to top

COVID-19 Screening Tool for School or Child Care

The purpose of this screening tool is to help parents and guardians make decisions about whether their child can attend school/child care. This screening tool should be completed daily before attending school/child care for each individual child separately. No personal information is requested when completing this tool, which means that you and/or your child cannot be personally identified or linked to your responses. Using this tool is voluntary. It is recommended that you contact a healthcare provider if you have more questions about your child’s health. This tool is subject to change as further guidance from the Ministry of Health and evidence related to COVID-19 risks becomes available.

COVID-19 screening tool for school or child care (NEW UPDATES February 22, 2021)

 

COVID-19 symptoms in children
When assessing for symptoms, focus on whether they are new, worsening, or different from your child’s baseline health status or usual state. Symptoms associated with known chronic health conditions or related to other known causes/conditions should not be considered unless new, different or worsening. 

This chart does not replace the need to complete screening each day before school or child care. The screening tool acts as a decision guide to support parents and guardians to assess whether or not their child can attend school or child care. Please complete daily for each child separately.

 

Type Symptoms

COVID-19 symptoms

  • Symptoms most commonly association with COVID-19 infection
  • Children with one of the listed symptoms, should stay home, isolate and get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible
  • Fever (temperature 37.8 C/100 F or higher)
  • Chills
  • Cough (more than usual if chronic cough) including croup (barking cough, making a whistling noise when breathing) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, asthma, reactive airway)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea, out of breath, unable to breath deeply, wheeze, that is worse than usual if chronically short of breath) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, asthma)
  • Decrease or loss of smell or taste (new olfactory or taste disorder) not related to other knows causes or conditions (for example, nasal polyps, allergies, neurological disorders)
  • Sore throat (painful swallowing or difficulty swallowing) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, post nasal drip, gastroesophageal (acid) reflux);
  • Stuffy nose and/or runny nose (nasal congestion and/or rhinorrhea) not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, seasonal allergies, returning inside from the cold, chronic sinusitis unchanged from baseline, reactive airways)
  • Headache that is new or persistent, unusual, unexplained, or long-lasting not related to known causes or conditions (for example, tension-type headache, chronic migraines)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, not related to other known causes or conditions (transient vomiting due to anxiety in children, chronic vestibular dysfunction, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, side effect of medication)
  • Fatigue, lethargy, muscle aches or malaise (general feeling of being unwell, lack of energy, extreme tiredness, poor feeding in infants) that is unusual or unexplained, not related to other known causes or conditions (for example, depression, insomnia, thyroid disfunction, anemia)

 

 

Back to top

Important: COVID-19 Testing for Children

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) and the Ministry of Health are currently advising that individuals, including young children, who are showing even ONE symptom of COVID-19 should be tested. A more cautious approach has been adopted in response to the new variants of the COVID-19 virus that have been identified within Ontario. The new COVID-19 variants transmit more easily, therefore additional precautions are needed to prevent the spread within the community.  As well, testing centres have recently recorded a decrease in the number of children being tested. It is important to remember that a driving factor in keeping our community, child care and schools open is to lower COVID-19 rates in the community, which requires that individuals seek testing if symptomatic and self-isolate if they (or a household member) have symptoms. OPH will continue to assess the local situation closely through our Daily COVID Dashboard and will update testing guidance and protocols, as needed. It would also be important to note that symptomatic children must be excluded for 10 days if they are not tested.

Process when a person tests positive for COVID-19

Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) goal is to prevent further transmission of COVID-19 and to keep children and school staff safe. If someone tests positive for COVID-19 in a school, OPH will work in collaboration with the school to reduce the risk of COVID-19 by implementing some or all of the following measures:

  • Communicating regularly with the school
  • Reviewing and confirming important practices to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 including:  
    • Screening children and staff for exposure to or symptoms of COVID-19
    • Staying home when sick
    • Cohorting (grouping and separation) students and staff 
    • Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces 
    • Using personal protective equipment when appropriate (e.g., masking)
    • Ensuring proper hand hygiene
    • Posting signage of appropriate public health measures (e.g., hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene)
    • Maintaining physical distancing 
  • Doing a site visit to the school and provide further advice, when indicated 
  • Providing recommendations on testing, as per provincial guidelines 
  • Assessing whether school operations can continue and if any additional measures are needed  
  • Identifying people who may have been in contact with the person(s) who tested positive for COVID-19  
  • Contacting those affected directly to provide guidance  
  • If school operations were interrupted as part of outbreak management, determining when operations can safely resume 
  • Helping the school ensure important practices remain in place long term  

Back to top

School decision guides, safety plan checklist and sample letters to parents/guardians

School decision guides:

COVID-19 Public Health School Safety Plan Checklist

Sample letters to parents/guardians

For more information on ‘high-risk contacts’, contact tracing and important isolation information, please visit the School and child-care contact tracing page. If you or a household member have been identified as a high-risk contact, you will be asked to review the information.

Back to top

Roles

Ottawa Public Health’s Role

In accordance with provincial standards and guidance, OPH:

  • Supports school boards in their reopening plans and provides public health information.
  • Provides transmission infection prevention and control advice to schools for both in-school and transportation scenarios.
  • Manages follow up for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 cases and outbreaks, including providing guidance to schools on confirming and controlling outbreaks.
  • Supports testing and surveillance of the school population.
  • Provides ongoing support though a dedicated public health school nurse who will be assigned to an area of schools and can assist in responding to school specific inquiries.
  • Provides age-appropriate resources on COVID-19.
  • Provides mental wellness support, including the development of school resources and tools on topics like resiliency, positive coping skills, and reducing stress and anxiety.
  • Facilitates linkages to resources and community supports available for school staff, students and their families.

School Board’s Role

  • Develops and implements reopening plans following guidelines and recommendations from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Ottawa Public Health.
  • Communicates with the school community about COVID-19 prevention measures and how those who have tested positive for COVID 19 and outbreaks will be supported, in collaboration with OPH.
  • Support OPH, and other stakeholders as appropriate, with the identification and follow up of people with COVID-19, their contacts, and places experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19.
  • Ensures accurate records of staff and students’ attendance, as well up-to-date contact information for staff and students that can be accessed in a timely manner for investigations and communications.
  • Facilitates training of school staff with respect to outbreak prevention and control measures and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Role of Parent(s)/ Guardian(s):

  • Using the screening tool,  screen every child in your care every  morning. The tool will help you decide whether your child should go to school or childcare that day.
  • Have your child tested for COVID-19 based on recommendations of screening tool, health care provider or Ottawa Public Health (OPH)
  • Keep your child(dren) home while waiting for COVID-19 test results and/ or if they are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
  • Call the school as soon as possible if your child:
    • Has COVID-19 like symptoms and will not be attending school,
    • Tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-isolating, or
    • Is self-isolating because they are a close contact of a positive case
  • Provide the school with up-to-date contact information for each parent or guardian and emergency contacts
  • Inform the school of any medical conditions your child(ren) may have (provide appropriate documents to the school as needed) 
  • Ensure your child’s immunizations are up to date
  • Have a plan in place in the event your child cannot attend school for an extended period or is required to go home during the day
  • Read all communications from the school and OPH and check the Supporting schools during COVID web page regularly.
  • Contact the Ottawa Public Health Information Centre (OPHIC) at (613) 580-6744 if you have any questions about any letter or message received from OPH.
  •  Please note: Parents/guardians do NOT need to call OPH to inform them that a child is sick, has COVID-like symptoms, or has a negative COVID result. OPH will contact parents as needed. 

Useful links:

As we learn to live with COVID-19, we must continue to Be COVID Wise and recognize that all of us have a role to play when it comes to reducing the spread of the virus.

Back to top

Frequently asked questions

COVID-19 Testing and Results

Is screening and testing still important even if my child is only doing virtual learning? 

Yes. COVID-19 screening and testing must continue even if children are not attending school in person. Although children are participating in school virtually, the infection can spread between members of the household and then to others in the community. Members of the household may work or access services out of the house, and transmission in the home and community can occur as a result. This spread has resulted in added pressures on the health care system and could lead to the extension of the lockdown. Screening is important to make sure that if your child has symptoms, you take them to get tested.

Screeningtesting and self-isolation can decrease spread in the community.

Should I have my child tested for COVID-19 before they go back to school/child care?
Testing your child before returning to school/child care is generally not recommended if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, unless they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. OPH is currently recommending testing for people showing symptoms of COVID-19 or who are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Should teachers and school /child care staff be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work?

Teachers and staff do not need to be tested before returning to school/child care unless they have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Does my child need to have a negative COVID-19 test result or a doctor’s note in order to return to school/child care after recovering from COVID-19?

No. Children can return to school/child care if they have completed their 10 days of self-isolation, have no fever (without use of fever reducing medications) and their symptoms have been improving* for 24 hours (48 hrs if the symptoms were vomiting and/or diarrhea). Isolation may be extended beyond 10 days, if directed by OPH.

*NOTE: Mild symptoms like a runny nose do not have to be completely gone when your child returns to school/child care provided the mild symptom is improving and other symptoms have stopped.

Do Staff need to have a negative COVID-19 test result or a doctor’s note in order to return to work after recovering from COVID-19?
No. Staff can return to school/child care if they have completed their 10 days of self-isolation, have no fever (without use of fever reducing medications) and their symptoms have been improving for 24 hours*. Isolation may be extended beyond 10 days, if directed by OPH.
If someone in my child’s school or child care setting tests positive for COVID-19 do I need to get my child tested?
If someone from a school or child care setting tests positive for COVID-19 and your child is not considered a high-risk contact, you do not need to have your child tested or keep them home. Ottawa Public Health will reach out to parents directly if it is determined that their child is considered a high-risk contact and provide advice on if, and when testing is necessary.
What happens if someone in my child’s class/child care tests positive for COVID-19?
If someone in a school or child care setting tests positive for COVID-19 and your child is a close contact, an OPH case manager will contact you directly with information on how and when to get tested for COVID-19 and further actions to take. 

How will I find out if my child is positive or negative for COVID-19 after they have been tested?

When you bring your child in for testing at one of the COVID Assessment Centres or Care Clinics you will be given information on how to access their test results on a secure online portal, MyChart or Ontario Ministry portal. A lab will process the swab taken from your child and upload the test result to the online portal.

Public Health Ontario indicates that if someone has not received their results online within 4 days of being tested, they should contact their health care provider. It can take 2 to 5 days for lab results to be received, and timelines are dependent on the lab’s capacity. The status of your child’s test can be checked at any time online.

What happens if my child tests positive for COVID-19 and I have another child/children in the same school/child care or a different school/child care?

It is important to note that if your child is diagnosed with COVID-19, all their household contacts (for example siblings, parents/guardians, roommates) will have to self-isolate and will require close follow-up by a Public Health Nurse. Further guidance will be provided with regards to testing and self-isolation for all household contacts by OPH.
What happens if my child was ill and they test NEGATIVE for COVID-19?

If your child tests negative for COVID-19, they cannot return to school/child care until at least 24 hours after the symptoms have been improving* without fever-reducing medication, or 48 hours after vomiting or diarrhea has resolved. All household contacts can also end self-isolation.

*NOTE: Mild symptoms like a runny nose do not have to be completely gone when your child returns to school provided the mild symptom is improving and other symptoms have stopped.

What happens if my child is ill with COVID-like symptoms and I choose NOT to have them tested?

If your child is ill with symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 and you do NOT have them tested, the child must self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days and symptoms have been improving* for 24 hrs OR 48 hrs after vomiting or diarrhea have resolved, before returning to school/child care. ALL household contacts must self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days.

* NOTE: Mild symptoms like a runny nose do not have to be completely gone when your child returns to school provided the mild symptom is improving and other symptoms have stopped.

How fast is OPH able to investigate the possible transmission of COVID-19 to others in a school following a positive test result?

OPH initiates the investigation as soon as possible. The School Nurse contacts the school administration to ensure notification of the school and request information on the close contacts of person who tested positive for COVID-19. Information needed can include: class lists & seating charts, staff list, transportation lists & seating charts and before and after school child care lists.The Public Health Nurse will work with the school, staff member, or the parent/guardian of the student who tested positive for COVID-19, to find out where the individual may have acquired the infection. OPH will work with the school to determine which students and/or staff are high-risk contacts.

How will schools be informed if a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19?

An OPH School Nurse will contact the school as soon as OPH is made aware of a positive lab result to begin an investigation.

If the positive lab result is received by OPH after operating hours, OPH will reach out to the school the following day. The priority is always to ensure that any student or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 do not attend school the following day.

It is possible that a person who tests positive for COVID-19 receives their results on the online portal before being contacted by OPH. The school should be contacted immediately by parents/guardians or school staff member.

Will the identity of an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 be made public by the school or OPH?

No. All personal health information including identities are kept confidential as per the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act, 2004 to protect privacy, and prevent stigma or harassment of an individual.

How will OPH be informed if my child receives a positive COVID-19 test result?

When a swab tests positive for COVID-19, the test result and contact information of the individual are sent to OPH by the lab. Parents/Guardians will be receiving information from Ottawa Public Health through an email, letter or automated message to notify them that their child has received a positive test result. An OPH Staff will be assigned to work with the parent/guardian of the child to provide follow-up details.

Will OPH publicly report when there is only one positive case in a school/ child care?

No. OPH is required by the Ministry of Health to publicly report when an outbreak is declared. In a school or child care setting this represents two (2) cases that are linked. According to the Ministry to Education, schools and child care settings are required to report when schools or child care classes or groups are closed.

Parents/Guardians of a child in a school or child care setting that has had a case of COVID-19 will be notified directly if their child is a close contact of the individual or will be affected by a closure. Closures may happen in a class(es) or group(s), or entire facility; whether it is a school or child care setting.

What do I do if one of my children tests negative for COVID-19 despite having COVID-19-like symptoms, but then their school age sibling develops the same symptoms a few days later?  

If a sibling develops one or more symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should be tested, even if the child who first experienced symptoms tested negative.

Symptoms include:  

  • fever,  
  • chills,  
  • cough,  
  • shortness of breath and 
  • loss of taste or smell.  
  • sore throat,  
  • stuffy or runny nose,  
  • headache,  
  • nausea,  
  • vomiting,
  • diarrhea,
  • fatigue or,
  • muscle pain.   

Each member of your household will need to self-isolate until the test result is received.

After receiving a negative test result, all household members can stop isolation. If symptom was vomiting or diarrhea, child can only return to school or child care 48 hours after these symptoms have stopped

NOTE: Mild symptoms like a runny nose do not have to be completely gone when your child returns to school or child care, provided the mild symptom is improving and other symptoms have stopped. 

Symptoms / Children who are ill

What steps do I need to take if my child becomes ill with symptoms of COVID-19?
You must keep your child home from school and notify the school that your child is ill with symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19. We recommend that your child goes to a COVID-19 assessment centre or care clinic to get tested as soon as possible. Your child and household contacts (for example siblings, parents/guardians) are required to self-isolate and stay at home while awaiting test results. If the test is negative (shows your child does not have COVID-19) your child may return to school 24 hours after symptoms have been improving* without fever-reducing medication, or 48 hours after vomiting or diarrhea has resolved. All household contacts can also end self-isolation. If the test result is positive, follow the instructions from Ottawa Public Health. For more information contact Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 or refer to the COVID-19 Assessment Centre and Care Clinics Webpage.

What happens if my child becomes ill while at school or child care?

During the school day, if your child has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 your child will be separated from other children and supervised by a staff member. Parents/ guardians are contacted and asked to bring their child home. Siblings or other household members that also attend the school or child care are required to go home and self-isolate.  Ottawa Public Health recommends that the child be tested for COVID-19 at one of the assessment or care centres. 

Your child must remain in isolation while waiting for the results of COVID-19 testing and cannot attend school or child care in person. Siblings and other close contacts are also required to isolate while waiting for test results. For more information on self-isolation instructions visit the OPH website.

Can I send my child to school or childcare if they have seasonal allergies or another underlying health condition that explains their symptoms?  

The COVID-19 screening tool for school or childcare is a decision guide to see if it is appropriate for your child to attend school or child care. This screening tool should be completed daily before attending school/child care.Depending on the symptom, the tool will ask if there is an underlying or known cause. If there is a known cause for a symptom, families will need to communicate that to their school or child care and may be required to provide additional details. In some cases, you may be required to consult with your child’s physician. A health care provider may be able to assist in deciding whether symptoms are due to a reason other than COVID-19 (e.g., seasonal allergies, postnasal drip, etc.). It should be noted that having an underlying condition does not necessarily mean that your child does not also have COVID-19. 

Health care providers, and parents/guardians should look for differences in their child’s regular symptoms. 

Following an absence due to an underlying or known cause, parent(s) and /guardian(s) can fill out an “Attestation letter for return to school/child care following illness” and provide it to the school or child care, when a child has symptoms that are explained by a known cause.

My child attends school/child care and has a runny nose. What should I do? 

If your child has a runny nose, you should keep them home and seek testing at one of the testing and assessment centres.  Other household members must stay home and isolate while waiting for test results.

To help you decide whether your child can attend school/child care, please use the COVID-19 Screening Tool for School or Child Care each day before school.   

If my child receives a vaccine(s) and experiences symptoms afterwards that are similar to COVID-19, do I need to get them tested?

Individuals who receive influenza immunization or other vaccinations, may experience adverse vaccine reactions that produce symptoms that are also symptoms of COVID-19, such as:  

  • fever and/or chills
  • feeling tired  
  • headache or body aches  
  • nausea  

If symptoms resolve within 24 hours of being vaccinated for influenza, or other vaccinations it is reasonable to manage these symptoms as a vaccination reaction, individuals can end self-isolation 24 hours after symptoms have improved. However, individuals should seek testing for COVID-19 as soon as possible if:  

  • symptom(s) develop more than 24 hours after vaccination 
  • symptom(s) persist for more than 24 hours after the first symptom onset 
  • the symptomatic individual has had close contact with a case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days  

or 

  • symptoms are judged by a healthcare provider to be severe and/or not in keeping with an influenza vaccination reaction 

Ottawa Public Health continues to recommend that anyone with symptom(s) of COVID-19 consult with a healthcare provider if they have questions or concerns.   

Do all household contacts (e.g., siblings) need to isolate while waiting for test results for a child with symptoms consistent with COVID-19?  

Yes. Your child must remain in isolation while waiting for their COVID-19 test results and cannot attend child care/school. Likewise, siblings and other household contacts of children with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 who have gone for testing are also required to isolate while waiting for the child’s test results.  

For more information on self-isolation instructions consult Tested, What Now?. 

What measures can I take to protect my household members when my child presents with COVID-19 symptoms or has received a positive COVID-19 lab result?  

If a child develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or has received a positive COVID-19 lab result, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends, when possible, to: 

  • limit contacts to one caregiver for the ill child
  • maintain a physical distance of 2 metres (6 feet)
  • increase hand hygiene
  • wear masks within the home.  

When discussing the particulars of the positive results, an OPH staff member will walk the parent/guardian/care giver through all the steps they can take in the home to decrease the risk of transmission.

If a parent/guardian has mild cold symptoms, such as a runny nose/sneezing, are children without any symptoms from that same household required to stay home and self-isolate?

Yes. In this situation, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) would recommend that the parent/guardian go for testing and that household contacts stay home until test results are available.  In general, OPH recommends using the screening tools available (for children: COVID-19 Screening Tool for School or Child Care and for adults: COVID-19 Screening Tool for Workplaces/Post-Secondary Institutions) and following guidance based on the information provided. 

For more information, consult Tested, What Now?.  

Contacts

What does being a “high risk contact” mean?

A high-risk contact is typically someone who had a prolonged exposure in close proximity to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. OPH identifies high-risk contacts through a detailed review of factors such as the individual’s symptoms, where they have been, and who they have interacted with. High-risk contacts are contacted directly by OPH and receive further guidance.

The following are examples of people who may be considered higher risk contacts:

  • A person who came within 2 metres (6 feet) of a person who has tested positive; the longer they were within 2 metres the higher the risk*
  • A person who lives within the same household or provides care to a person who has tested positive (e.g., bathing, feeding, or dressing)
  • A person with whom a person who has tested positive had close physical contact (e.g., shaking hands or hugging)
  • A person who may have been coughed or sneezed on by a person who has tested positive

Other factors may impact the risk of the exposure such as if the interaction occurred inside or outside, how long the interaction was and if personal protective equipment was worn (ie mask, gloves, etc). OPH will discuss these factors when speaking with people who have COVID-19 and their close contacts. 

*Please note: Interactions where people briefly come within 2 metres (6 feet) of each other, such as walking by someone in the hallway or on the street, are generally not considered close contacts/high-risk contacts.

Do close contacts (ie members of the same household) of a student, child or staff, who has been identified by OPH as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, need to self-isolate or be tested?

Household members of those identified as a high risk contact,  can only leave the home for essential reasons, as long as the child/staff who has been told they are a high-risk contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 does not have any symptoms. For example, if a student/staff is identified by Ottawa Public Health as a high-risk contact from school, child care, school bus etc, they need to self-isolate from others at home and get tested no earlier than 7 days after the last close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 positive individual (a negative test result still means the child or staff has to finish 14 days of self-isolation ). Household members of someone who has been deemed a high-risk contact (has had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19) and who is  without symptoms (asymptomatic),  must stay home except for essential reasons for the duration of the high-risk contact’s self-isolation period. Essential reasons include: attending work/school/childcare and essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions.

This is different from when the child/staff is symptomatic because they will have exposed others in the household and now the entire household self-isolates until the child/staff test results are received.  If the result is negative, the rest of the household can end their self-isolation.

My child was tested for COVID-19 because they were identified as a “High-risk contact”, what do I do now?

If your child has no symptoms but was tested for COVID-19 because they were identified as a high-risk contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, your child would need to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days. Siblings and other members within the same household of a high-risk contact who has no symptoms awaiting test results may return to school, work or child care; however, they should limit their activities to just  essential reasons for the duration of the high-risk contact’s self-isolation period. Essential reasons include: attending work/school/childcare and essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, all your child’s household contacts will have to self-isolate and will require close follow-up by Ottawa Public Health. Further guidance will be provided for testing, self-monitoring and self-isolation.

If your child tests negative for COVID-19 (and was identified as a High-risk contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19) your child would still need to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Regardless of the test result, if your child is identified as a high-risk contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and has no symptoms your child MUST self-isolate for 14 days

What does self-isolation mean for my child and the members of my household?

When your child has been identified as a high-risk contact, and not showing symptoms, they are considered category orange on the Tested What Now Handout: they must self-isolate at home, meaning they need to stay home for at least 14 days from the date of their exposure to the individual that tested positive. Children isolating are not to leave the home, unless to be tested for COVID-19 or for medical care. While at home, parents and caregivers are to monitor them for symptoms of COVID-19 each day. If the child is asymptomatic (no symptoms) they can do their normal activities within the home and be in contact with the family.  Household members of the high-risk contact must only leave the home for essential reasons for the duration of the high-risk contact’s self-isolation period. Essential reasons include: attending work/school/childcare and essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions.

Family members of children who are high-risk contacts will need to start self-isolation (and may only leave the home for medical care) if their child develops symptoms, and the child who has developed symptoms should be tested for COVID-19. If the child develops symptoms, their risk category moves from Orange to Red on the Tested What Now Handout. They should wear a mask, be separated from other family members if possible and be tested for COVID-19 immediately, even if they have previously tested negative. Family members are required to self-isolate while awaiting the test results of the symptomatic child. If the results are negative, the child must continue their 14-day isolation period and household members may leave the home for essential reasons only (as listed above).  

Please note that schools may be asking your child to isolate for reasons other than being a high-risk contact, for example due to outbreak investigation or outbreak management. In these situations, the instructions for self-isolation and duration of self-isolation may be different than for high-risk contacts. 

Why do children with symptoms of COVID-19 (with or without a positive test result) have to self-isolate for 10 days, but their contacts have to isolate for 14 days?

Research has shown that the COVID-19 virus can have an incubation period of up to 14 days, meaning that anytime within the 14 days after exposure to the virus a person can be contagious (spread the virus) and can develop symptoms. But once a person has symptoms of the COVID-19 virus the period in which they can be contagious (spread the virus) is 10 days.

I received notice that my child was exposed to COVID-19 on a school bus, but they did not take the school bus that day. What should I do? 

If you received notice that your child is a high-risk contact but know your child did not take the bus on that day, please contact your child’s school.

OPH works with the school and bus company to collect cohort (groups of students) information for students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and their high-risk contacts.

Bus attendance lists are not live, meaning, if your child doesn’t take the bus on a certain day, the school and OPH will not know. Bus lists include all students who take that bus but do not include which days a student takes the bus. 

If you received notice that your child is a high-risk contact but know your child did not take the bus on the day contact occurred, please call the school and notify them. If the investigation shows that your child was in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 somewhere else, your child may still be considered a high-risk contact.

My child has been identified as a high-risk contact. Why is their isolation period being extended? 

When a student is identified as a high-risk contact, they are required to isolate for 14 days following contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. It is possible that some people will be asked to isolate for up to 20 days or longer depending on their situation.

The following situations are examples of when an isolation period may be extended past the standard 14-days   

  • Exposure to other individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. For example, if after investigating it is discovered that a student had an initial exposure in the classroom and then another exposure in a different setting, such as the bus or sports practice, the isolation period would be extended to reflect the most recent exposure.  

  • Extension of a class or cohort (grouping of students) closure following an outbreak investigation. If an outbreak is declared in a class or cohort and the timeline for the class or cohort closure is extended after further investigation, the isolation period for a child in that class or cohort would also be extended. 

  • The student becomes symptomatic and goes for testing. The isolation date may need to be extended while waiting for a test result 

  • A positive test result:. If a child who was initially identified as a high-risk contact  tests positive for COVID-19, their new isolation period would begin on the day of symptom onset or, if the child has no symptoms, the day a positive test result is received.  

  • Severe COVID-19 illness or immunocompromised: .If a child is suffering from severe COVID-19 illness or is severely immunocompromised, the self- isolation period would extend to 20 days. 

Note: because the incubation period for COVID-19 can be up to 14 days, a negative test result does not end your isolation period early. Please stay in isolation at home until discharged by OPH). 

My child has been isolating because they were identified as a high-risk contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19. When can my child return to school/child care?

In most cases, a high-risk contact can return to school or child care after their isolation period ends. Parents will receive an automated message from their school or child care setting saying when their child can return. For more information please visit OPH’s self-isolation page.  

My child has been identified as a high-risk contact and I share custody of them with their other parent/guardian. Can my child come to my home during my agreed upon time if they are isolating with another parent?  

High-risk contacts should self-isolate in one household for the duration of their self-isolation period. High-risk contacts, and anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, are to self-isolate and not leave the home in which isolation began. If the child moves locations while self-isolating, there is an increased risk of exposing the other parent/household members to the virus.

If you live in the same household as someone who has been deemed a high-risk contact (has had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19) and who is  without symptoms (asymptomatic), you must stay home except for essential reasons for the duration of the high-risk contact’s self-isolation period. Essential reasons include: attending work/school/childcare and essential errands such as groceries, attending medical appointments or picking up prescriptions.

Why does OPH only notify one of the parents when the parents are not living together? 

OPH gathers contact information for communications from your child's school. Please ensure your school has the most up-to-date contact information, including for all legal guardians who that would like to receive notifications and communications from OPH. 

Outbreak

What is considered an outbreak in a school or child care setting?
An outbreak would be declared in a school or child care setting once it has been determined that there are two positive cases with an epidemiological link (e.g. these children could have become infected with COVID-19 at school either from each other or a common source). Each case will need to be assessed and it would need to be determined that transmission occurred in the school before confirming it as an outbreak since it is possible that children could have been infected outside the school or child care setting. 
What happens when there is an outbreak in a school or child care setting?
Once an outbreak in a school or child care setting is confirmed, OPH would reach out to parents of close contacts to let them know and help them with the next steps which include staying home, monitoring for symptoms and present for testing when it’s appropriate. OPH would continue to investigate to determine any other close contacts and monitor the situation until an outbreak can be declared over. Including if a class or group and or the entire school or child care setting would need to be closed.
Are schools and child care allowed to remain open while in outbreak?
Yes, it is possible for a school or child care setting to remain open during an outbreak. The ability for the school or child care setting to remain open will depend on how many cohorts (groups of students) are affected. This decision will be made in consultation with the school or child care setting, school board and OPH.
When an outbreak is declared in a school or child care setting, an investigation will take place to determine which cohorts are affected and parents will be notified of next steps. Some cohorts may need to be in self-isolation at home until a date determined by OPH.
When does OPH contact others impacted at the school or child care about the outbreak?

Upon learning that someone has tested positive for COVID-19, OPH will contact the school or child care setting to send an initial letter to the entire school and/or child care population to:

  • Advise them that someone in the school or child care setting has tested positive for COVID-19,
  • Inform them that an investigation has started
  • Explain that OPH will be in touch with high-risk contacts.

After OPH conducts its investigation and has determined who are high-risk contacts, they will reach out to families by phone, email or through automated messaging used for contact tracing.

When an outbreak is declared at a school or child care setting, are all students and staff members considered potential contacts?
No. Each situation will be different. An OPH investigation will take place to determine which cohorts (groups of children or students) are affected in the school or child care setting. OPH will also determine if a student had contact with other children or staff members during transportation to/from the school or in Extended Day Programs (EDP) at the school.

Masks

How can I encourage my child to wear a mask? 

Encourage your child to wear a mask by doing the following:

  • Explain why
    • Children watch, listen and learn. Explaining the importance of mask wearing in simple terms can help them understand why wearing a mask is important. Allow them to ask questions and express their feelings. You may want to start by reading how to help children cope with stressful public events to give you some guidance.
  • Give choices
    • Consider letting children of all ages choose their mask pattern and/or colour. Kids like to feel independent and be given choices. If you are able, include your child in selecting a mask of their choice.
  • Include masks in imaginative play
    • Children have amazing imaginations. Include a few masks in their playtime and see what they come up with. Having masks present in their environment will help them become more comfortable to the look and feel of masks.
  • Set an example
    • When heading out in public be a role model. Show your children how you put on your mask and explain why you are doing it – to protect those around you

For more info visit: Kids and Masks: Tips from an Expert

How can I safely label my child’s mask for school? (cloth, non-medial masks)

OPH recommends:

  • Adding a small label or written name (in permanent marker) at the very edge of the mask.
  • Iron-on labels or written name (in permanent marker) is preferred over sewing labels into the mask. Sewing stitches into a mask may alter the effectiveness of the mask.

Masks should continue to fit securely and cover the nose, mouth, and surrounding face without gapping. Cloth masks should be washed the end of each day, after it is worn at school or childcare

We recommend against putting a label near the middle of the mask as this can affect how well the mask will filter. Please note, it is unknown how labeling may affect how well the mask works.

Where should my child put their mask when they take it off to eat or drink?

Your child should store their cloth or disposable mask in a clean closeable bag or plastic container until ready to use again the same day provided the mask is not damaged, damp or dirty. Your child should take the following steps to properly store their mask:

  • Ensure it is safe to remove the mask (i.e. maintain physical distance of 2m from others);
  • Perform hand hygiene (i.e. clean hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) before and after taking off the mask;
  • Remove the mask from his/her face using the ties or ear loops, and avoid touching the cloth portion of the mask;
  • Fold it in half, so that the outer surface is inwards (so that the contaminated outer surface is not contacting anything during storage);
  • Place it in a clean, closeable bag or plastic container until ready to use it again the same day; and
  • Teach children not to leave a mask that has absorbed moisture from their breath in a non-breathable bag or container for more than an hour or so.

Parents and guardians should practice this with young children before school/child care starts so that children can safely remove their mask and put it away properly until ready to use again. (Students should be sent to school /child care with a closable bag or plastic container that is labelled with their name.)

Can lanyards be used to store masks, while they are not in use?

No. To prevent masks from becoming contaminated when not in use, the mask should be stored in a clean, closable bag or plastic container until ready to use again that same day.

OPH does not recommend the use of lanyards as the mask’s inside surface may be exposed to contaminated respiratory droplets as the mask hangs by the lanyard from the neck.

Can my child wear their mask all day?
  • Yes. Both cloth and disposable masks can be worn all day, for one day, as long as they do not become damaged, damp or dirty. It is important to properly store both cloth and disposable masks to prevent contamination when not being worn.
  • At the end of a full day’s wear or if the disposable mask has become damp, dirty or damaged, it is best to throw it out. Prolonged or repeated daily use of the same disposable mask may not provide enough protection even it if looks clean and not damaged.
  • Discard used disposable masks in a garbage bin lined with a plastic bag.

Children should be shown how to properly take care of their masks. Here are some things parents and caregivers can teach them:

  • How to remove their mask using the ties or ear loops when they are safely able to do so
  • How to wash their hands using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after removing their mask.
  • How to properly store masks.
  • How to avoid touching the cloth or fabric portion of their masks while placing it in a clean, closeable bag or plastic container until ready to use it again the same day. 
  • Teach children not to share masks.
What if my child loses their mask or doesn’t have one for school? 

Students should speak to school staff to get a mask if they do not have one; forgot it at home, lost it or it became dirty, damaged or damp on the way to school.

Parents should try to ensure their child is provided with 2-3 clean masks each day.

Students in grades 1-12 will be required to wear a mask, and children in Kindergarten are encouraged to wear masks if possible.

Can my child use a face shield instead of a mask?

No. A face shield is not a substitute for wearing a face mask, as it does not filter respiratory (breathing and talking) droplets. 

A face shield may provide some protection from the droplets from another person; however, these droplets may still be breathed in around the shield. As well, droplets from the person wearing the shield may escape around the sides of the face shield, which provides less protection to others. If you choose to wear a face shield, we recommend wearing it with a properly fitted mask. It could be considered a better option than no mask, but it is NOT a replacement for a mask.

For more information about masks please visit our mask page.

Should children and teachers wear a mask in outdoor settings?

Yes. Children, teachers and child care staff should wear a mask in outdoor settings whenever a physical distance of two or more metres cannot be maintained.

Current evidence tells us that the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus in outdoor settings is much lower than in indoor settings. Physical distancing is easier to maintain and there is much greater air circulation when outdoors. This reduced risk is because people are less likely to be exposed to infectious respiratory droplets (from coughing, sneezing, shouting, singing, talking, breathing).

Although outdoor settings may reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the risk is not eliminated. Masks help to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in outdoor settings where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain (such as at a bus stop).

Please refer to your school board or child care providers plans regarding other mask wearing details at school.

Can my child use a ‘neck gaiter’, scarf or balaclavas in the place of a face mask, on cold days? 

OPH does not recommend ‘neck gaiters’, scarves, or balaclavas as an equivalent to, or substitute for a face covering or mask. Most of these outerwear accessories are made up of single-layer, loose, coarsely woven, or knitted materials and, are less effective at filtering respiratory droplets compared to a cloth mask with 2 or more layers. These clothing items also do not cover the nose and mouth areas well enough to be effective. Visit our Masks page, for more information on masks and face coverings, and to learn why choosing a mask with 3 layers is more effective

General

Is it safe for my child to take the school bus/van?

The back-to-school bussing plans - outlined by your local transportation company and directed by the Ministry of Education - include measures such as extra cleaning and disinfecting, personal protective equipment for students and drivers, and assigned seating.

The priority for transportation services is to create an environment where students can feel safe and prevent the transmission of the virus as much as possible. If your child is returning to school/child care, take some time to consider the best transportation option for your child. Active forms of travel (for example, walking and cycling) and private transportation by parents and caregivers are encouraged where possible to ease pressure on transportation demand.

Please refer to your school board, child care provider and transportation company for what your child requires in order to safely attend school/child care and travel between home and school/child care.

Should children change their clothes when they get home?

No. Students returning from school/child care do not need to change their clothing when they get home. When students come home, it is recommended that they wash their hands with soap and water.

What should students and staff do upon arriving home from school/child care?
  • Wash their hands. Hand hygiene is one of the most important things we can do to limit the transmission of COVID-19. When students and/ or staff come home, it is recommended that they wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Cloth (non-medical) masks should be washed daily.
  • Disposable masks should be discarded in a lined garbage bin.
  • Items taken daily to school/child care such as water bottles, mugs and lunch containers, should also be washed.
Why are physical distancing recommendations for schools different than for other public places?

OPH recommends that physical distancing of at least 2 metres be maintained between individuals in all settings including schools

The following are an explanation of other opinions expressed by other agencies: 

  • The SickKids Hospital, recommends a one-metre separation and notes that the protection from one metre of separation may approach the benefits of a two metre separation (provided individuals are asymptomatic and adequate symptom screening practices are in place). Research has found that there is additional protection for greater distances up to and beyond two metres.
  • The America Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) indicates that physical distancing of 2 metres or more is still the best approach to protecting children from COVID-19. Research, however, has found that avoiding close contact and spacing desks at least one metre apart may have similar benefits of physical distancing (at least 2 metres apart) if students wear cloth masks and do not have symptoms of illness. The greater the number of children in the classroom, the greater the risk of COVID-19 introduction into that cohort (group) of students. In addition, efforts should be made to reduce the number of students in classrooms and to maintain cohorting (grouping) of students/classrooms. 
Are children in my child’s cohort at school considered part of my social circle?

No. The contacts your child will have at school/child care will be different than the close contacts in your household or social circle. 

OPH wants parents to know that it’s just as important now as ever to take extra precautions at home, even if your child/children are having more close contacts at school. 

Even though some children may see each other at school/child care it doesn't make gatherings with school/child care friends outside of classes a good idea. Close contact is where the risk is highest, so limiting the number of close contacts as much as possible is important. The greater the number of contacts, the longer the potential chain of COVID-19 transmission will be. OPH strongly recommends prioritizing your household members and any essential supports such as childcare. 

For the most up to date recommendations visit our Social Wise page. 

Now that my child is wearing hats, mitts and other cold weather items to and from school or child care, what is the best way to take care of these items, and limit the transmission of COVID-19? 

If your child were sick and tested positive for COVID-19, then the items should be washed according to their labels using hot water or disinfectants suitable for the material. Also, disinfect the laundry containers (laundry basket, or bag) that held any items worn during the time your child was in isolation.

To limit the spread of COVID-19, and other viruses, it is important to continue to wash hands regularly, as it is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Also, remind children not to touch their eyes, nose, mouth or mask with unwashed hands. Hands should be washed with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub, after coming in from outside and removing outdoor items. 

If my family is self-isolating at home, can we visit parks and playgrounds? 

No. If your household is isolating, you cannot leave your place of isolation, even if there are members of the household that do not have symptoms. The only exception is to get medical care.Do not leave to go for a walk, or to the playground, etc. Stay in a private place like your yard or balcony if you go outside for fresh air. For more information visit the OPH webpage on self-isolation instructions 

Should my family be limiting the number of contacts that we have during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Yes. If possible, families should limit their contacts to those in their home, except for people that are essential for support or childcare 

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in our community, it is important to be COVIDWise. This includes wearing a mask, isolating when you have symptoms, staying a distance of at least 2 metres (6 feet) from those outside of your household, and exercising proper hand hygiene.  

Are children less susceptible than adults to COVID-19? 

No, children are not less susceptible to COVID-19 than adults, but generally experience less severe illness.  

Transmission of COVID-19 in children is not fully understood and the universal precautions of physical distancing, hand hygiene, and masking need to be maintained. 

Back to top

Information for parents and students

Here are some important key messages for parents and guardians to review with their child before schools starts:

  • Stay at home when you are sick, even when symptoms are mild. Staying home helps prevent transmitting an illness to others.
  • Ensure that personal belongings and food are not shared with students and staff. 
  • Practice ‘no touch’ greetings with your friends and teachers at school. Let’s share a wave and not our germs.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your upper arm, not your hands! Throw the tissue away and wash your hands right away.
  • If you don’t feel well, tell someone.
  • Avoid touching your face. We can easily spread germs from our hands to our mask or face.
  • Bring your own water bottle from home to stay hydrated throughout the day.
  • When not wearing a mask, physical distancing is especially important to keep you and the friends around you healthy.
  • Reach out for help if you need it. It’s ok NOT to be ok. Check out some of our Mental wellness supports.
  • Make sure your immunizations are all up to date.
Packing healthy and safe lunches – what’s new during COVID-19? 
Packing healthy and safe food and snacks is an important part of return to school planning for your child. Children who eat well can focus longer and are ready to learn at school and eating well and staying hydrated is important to help fight off illness.

Here are some things to keep in mind if your child is returning to classroom learning:

At Home:

  • Wash hands before and after preparing and handling food.
  • Wash and disinfect surfaces before and after preparing and packing food.
  • Use an insulated bag with a freezer pack or thermos to keep food cool. Chill milk or freeze drinking water to help keep food cool.
  • Pack food choices that are ready to eat and do not need to be reheated.
  • Check with your school if you should avoid packing peanut butter or foods containing peanuts in your child's lunch.
  • Use a wide mouth thermos to keep hot food hot. Pre-heat thermos with hot water before filling.
  • Wash all vegetables and fruit under cool, running water before use.
  • Pack food that your child can eat without the help from others.
  • If using a reusable lunch bag or container, make sure to wash them daily with hot, soapy water.
  • Label containers, bottles, lunch bags and reusable utensils with your child’s name.
  • Do not reuse plastic bags – they can hold bacteria.

At School:

  • There will be no access to appliances like microwaves, toasters or kettles at school.
  • New practices will be put in place regarding access to water fountains. Students should bring a full reusable water bottle labelled with their name that can be refilled throughout the day.
  • Some schools may not have cafeteria food services or lunch programs (pizza, sub day, etc.) at this time.
  • There may be new policies or protocols in place about leaving school during lunch or recess to purchase food.
  • Students may have to pack and bring home all garbage and waste.

Help your child understand they will need to:

  • Wash their hands before and after eating.
  • Remain at their own desk while eating.
  • Safely remove their mask and store it in a clean bag until ready to reuse.
  • Avoid placing food directly on their desk. Instead use an open lunch bag or place food on a clean surface such as a paper towel/cloth napkin.
  • Keep food, drinks, straws, containers or utensils to themselves (no sharing).

Healthy Eating Tips:

  • Use the Eat Well Plate to help build meals that follow Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Choose whole grains, vegetables and fruit and protein foods.
  • Include vegetables or fruit for every meal and snack.
  • Plan and prepare snacks and meals ahead of time to help limit use of processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
  • Choose water as the drink of choice.
  • Involve your kids with choosing and preparing food.

Helpful links:

Outdoor Learning

This year, the return to school may mean your child is spending more time outside, as some classes are making their way to the school yard for learning. There are things we need to think about to make sure everyone is prepared for safe outdoor learning.  

For example: 

  • The weather: sun safety, cold weather, rain and snow 

  • The risk for tick and mosquito bites 

  • Safe play  

  • Mask use if physical distancing is difficult  

Visit our Parenting in Ottawa pages for Child Safety and Youth Safety considerations including, sun safety, staying safe during hot weather, Winter Safety, protecting your family from mosquito and tick bites, walking and cycling safety as well as playground safety.  

To learn some more about nature, you can visit the City of Ottawa’s Learning about nature page. 

Check with your child’s teacher or school for more about what needs to be sent to school with your child to be prepared for outdoor learning.  

Ensuring a safe return to school means we all have to be COVID Wise to protect ourselves and others from the transmission of COVID-19. If we all take precautions at home and in the community, we have fewer opportunities for the virus to be present in our schools. Here are some important things we need to do to reduce the transmission and take care of our health:

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs. Children need to be taught when and how to wash their hands properly. It is important for everyone to wash their hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.

Back to top

Masks

Wearing a cloth (non-medical) mask indoors helps to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and helps protect the people around you. When you wear a mask, you are helping to protect other people. When other people wear a mask, they are helping to protect you. Students in grades 1-12 are required to wear a mask in indoor spaces and outdoor spaces where physical distancing cannot be maintained. Visit our Masks page for additional information on how to wear a cloth (non-medical) mask and store them safely when not in use. Frequently asked questions about masks and children.   

Physical distancing

Physical distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people outside your social circle and household that you interact with and ensuring that whenever possible the people you interact with remain more than 2 metres (6 feet) away. This will help to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The Sick Kids Guidance Document and the American Academy of Pediatrics acknowledge that a minimum of 1 metre distance is beneficial in a school setting when other infection prevention protocols are in place. OPH recommends that physical distancing of at least 2 metres be maintained between individuals in all settings including schools

Physical distancing helps limit the transmission of the virus when used with the other public health measures such as hand washing, wearing a mask and staying home when sick. Please refer to your school board’s reopening plan for physical distancing considerations at your school.

Back to top

School reopening plans

Please refer to your school board for their school reopening plans.

Back to top

Mental wellness supports

Take care of yourself. It’s ok to NOT be ok. Please know that help is available, and we encourage you to reach out for support when you need it.

Mental health resources for school staff

Mental Health and Substance Use Services and Resources

Back to top

Resources for school staff

Ottawa Public Health:

  • COVID-19 Screening tool for schools/child care - Hard Copy (coming soon)
    • This tool is meant to be shared with households who do not have access to a web version and need a hard copy in order to complete COVID-19 screening. This tool does not replace the electronic tool on the web page.
    • Schools and or child-care centres may print this tool and share with households who need it.

Posters:

School Mental Health Ontario

How to wear a mask at school

It is important to wash/sanitize your hands before putting on your mask, before removing your mask, and after removing your mask.

Back to top

Other Resources:

Organization Resources
Best Start

Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS)

Caring for kids
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
CHU Sainte-Justine
Government of Canada
Healthy Literacy Project
Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies
Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child & Youth Mental Health
Ottawa Public Health
Ottawa Public Library
Reaching In...Reaching Out
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

Back to top

COVID-19 Update

Contact Information

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 telephone line

  • Monday to Friday, from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Weekends, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Translation is available in multiple languages
  • Telephone: 613-580-6744 follow the prompts to the COVID-19 telephone line
  • TTY: 613-580-9656

Emergency Services

  • If you are in distress (e.g., significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to the Assessment Centre or a COVID-19 Care clinic. Go to the nearest Emergency Department or call 9-1-1.

See someone not respecting COVID-19 rules?

How to access help during COVID-19

  • 211 Ontario can help you find financial and social support during COVID-19
  • Telephone: 2-1-1

Related Information

 

 

Contact Us