Hamilton Public Health Services introduces extra health and safety protections for local schools

This post, from September 3, has information on extra health and safety protections for local schools.

Hello Ward 8 Neighbours,

With COVID-19 cases and outbreaks increasing locally, and students heading back to school this week, Hamilton Public Health Services has recommended enhanced health and safety measures for all local elementary and secondary schools.

For more details, please continue reading below…

Hamilton Public Health Services introduces extra layer of health and safety protections for local schools

SEPTEMBER 3 2021

The full City of Hamilton release can be found here.

HAMILTON, ON – With COVID-19 cases and outbreaks increasing locally, and students heading back to school next week, Hamilton Public Health Services has recommended enhanced health and safety measures for all local elementary and secondary schools.

To ensure school communities have the tools and measures in place to help protect children and youth, education staff, and the broader community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant, Hamilton Public Health Services (HPHS), in collaboration with local schools and school boards, is recommending enhanced infection prevention and control measures including:

  • Confirmation of daily validation of a passed COVID-19 screen each morning. Parents and guardians can access the Province’s school and child care screening tool here.
  • Masking is strongly recommended for JK/SK students. Masking is strongly recommended for JK/SK students. All four English and French public school boards are moving forward with this recommendation.
  • Cohorting and distancing of students during recess
  • Non-essential visitors will not be permitted to enter schools

For additional information about how each school board is planning to implement Hamilton Public Health Services’ recommendations, please visit Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board’s website at http://www.hwdsb.on.ca/covid19, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board’s website at https://parents.hwcdsb.ca/covid19, Conseil scolaire Viamonde’s website at Guides de rentrée scolaire 2021-2022 and the Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir’s website at rentrée scolaire 2021-2022. Parents and guardians of private school students should review their respective school’s plan.

These recommendations are in addition to the Province’s guidelines and health and safety measures for all public and private schools.

Hamilton Public Health Services continues to support school communities with guidance on effective and proven infection prevention and control measures, provide Public Health nursing staff to work with schools, advise and support school administration on probable and confirmed cases of COVID-19. Hamilton Public Health Services will also be undertaking direct management of cases and contacts, and work with and direct school administration, should an outbreak occur, around enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures, whether additional testing or self-isolation is required for close contacts (e.g. staff/students) and determining if additional protocols are required to be put in place.

Starting this school year, fully vaccinated students considered a high-risk close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be able to return to class, once they’ve provided an attestation confirming:

  • They are fully vaccinated;
  • Are asymptomatic and have passed the daily COVID-19 screening tool;
  • Are not immunocompromised.

These students will be directed to be tested for COVID-19 immediately when notified they are a high-risk close contact, and again at day seven from their last exposure.

For those students not fully vaccinated and deemed a high-risk close contact, they should:  

  • Quarantine at home for 10 days and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Get tested right away;
  • If the test is positive – you will be contacted by Hamilton PHS to determine next steps;
  • If the test is negative, get retested on or after day seven of the isolation period. You are required to isolate for 10 days even if you test negative.

Fully vaccinated staff considered a high-risk close contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be able to return to class provided the following:

  • They are fully vaccinated;
  • Are asymptomatic;
  • Are not immunocompromised.

These staff will be directed to be tested for COVID-19 immediately when notified they are a high-risk close contact, and again at day seven from their last exposure.

For staff not fully vaccinated and deemed a high-risk close contact, they should:  

  • Quarantine at home for 10 days and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms;
  • Get tested right away;
  • If the test is positive – they will be contacted by Hamilton PHS to determine next steps;
  • If the test is negative, get retested on or after day seven of the isolation period. They are required to isolate for 10 days even if they test negative.

Increasing local vaccination coverage rates is another critical tool to provide strong protection for school communities from the spread of COVID-19 and the Delta variant. There are many locations in Hamilton for community members born in 2009 and earlier to get their first and second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, such as a large-scale clinic, primary care-led clinics, mobile pop-up clinics, school-based clinics and local pharmacies. Vaccines can be accessed both on a walk-in basis at many of these locations or by booking an appointment. Information regarding walk-in options, booking an appointment and frequently asked questions are available at hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact our office here.