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Toronto Public Health updates school screening tool for COVID-19

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Toronto Public Health updates school screening criteria for local schools' Coronavirus: Toronto Public Health updates school screening criteria for local schools
WATCH ABOVE: Officials in Toronto have announced updated screening guidelines for children. Shallima Maharaj reports. – Dec 4, 2020

Toronto Public Health has made some changes in their COVID-19 screening tool for schools, which now includes any student with one symptom must stay home, siblings included.

One new requirement is that if a student has even one coronavirus symptom they must stay home, self-isolate and get tested, Toronto Public Health said in a release issued Friday.

If the student lives with siblings in the same household, they also must all self-isolate, TPH added. TDSB and TCDSB representatives said screenings at both boards have been adjusted to reflect TPH guidance.

Read more: Toronto school with 26 COVID-19 cases temporarily closing as 3 teachers refuse work

Use of the new COVID-19 screening tool starts on Monday, Dec. 7.

The local public health unit said the updates were made based on outbreak investigations done in schools across Toronto.

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More specifically, if a child has one or more new or worsening COVID-19 symptom, parents will now be required to:

  • Keep their child home.
  • Keep siblings and other children home, even if they do not have symptoms.
  • Arrange for their child to get tested or contact their healthcare provider.
  • Without testing, the child must stay at home for 10 days.
  • Monitor the family for symptoms. Adults must stay home if they have one or more symptoms.

Read more: Coronavirus: Ontario government revises school, child care centre screening guidelines

A new pilot project by the Ontario government was launched in schools for voluntary COVID-19 testing of asymptomatic staff and students for the virus.

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Toronto Public Health said with that and the updated school screening tool it will support early identification of COVID-19 cases as Toronto is currently under lockdown and in the Grey Zone.

Thorncliffe Park PS in the city’s east end was part of the asymptomatic testing project last week and has since detected 26 cases among staff and students.

Click to play video: '3 teachers refuse work at Toronto school after 26 test positive for coronavirus' 3 teachers refuse work at Toronto school after 26 test positive for coronavirus
3 teachers refuse work at Toronto school after 26 test positive for coronavirus – Dec 3, 2020

“We know how important in-person school learning is for children and their development, and there are significant benefits to keeping schools open,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, associate medical officer of health for Toronto Public Health.

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“This new screening tool will provide staff, students and our overall community with additional layers of protection to help keep our schools open and our city safer as we as we continue living with COVID-19,” said Dubey.

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