COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions






New / Updated

Question #

Last Updated



6, 9 & 10

August 10, 2020



13 – 16

August 10, 2020



18, 20, 24 - 29

August 10, 2020



31 – 34 & 37 – 38

August 10, 2020



41 – 44

August 10, 2020

New Guidance Regulations will be released on September 1st.




  1. How many students will be in the class?
    1. Classes will be made into cohorts. A cohort is defined as a group of children and the staff members assigned to them, who stay together throughout the duration of the program for minimum 7 days. Currently, the maximum cohort size for each room will consist of no more than 10 individuals permitted per room (including staff in the room). Cohort size may change as directed by the Ministry of Education, based on the impact of the pandemic in our region. Please refer to our COVID-19 Parent Guide for further details on cohorts.

 **NEW**  As of July 27th, the cohorts have been increased to 15 students / week. 


  1. How the classes will be split to accommodate the 10 max / room?
    1. Children will be split primarily by age. Some children may be placed in a cohort by family if the mixed age grouping allows for it.


  1. Can siblings attend?
    1. Yes, siblings are welcome to register for summer camp.


  1. Can we register or choose to return throughout the summer?
    1. Yes, we will be able to register returning students throughout the summer providing there is room in the cohort. If there is not a space available immediately, interested families will be contacted when one becomes available in accordance to our Access to Child Care Spaces and Prioritizing Families Policy.


  1. Does my child need to wear a mask when coming to the school?
    1. No, it is not recommended that children wear a mask at school. If a child becomes ill during the day a mask will be provided to them (if tolerated and over the age of 2 years) while they are awaiting to be picked up.

Parents that wish to send their child with a mask can do so and the staff will assist the child in proper procedures of wearing and taking their masks on and off as needed. 


  1. Will staff members need to wear a face covering / mask?
    1. Currently, staff members do not have to wear a mask at school while with their cohort. If a teacher is sitting with a child for a prolonged period (15 minutes or longer) they must wear a mask.

Staff member that are not apart to a class cohort must wear a mask if standing in the doorway or any classroom (as they cannot enter a classroom unless an emergency).

Staff will wear masks during the day, at the screening table, if standing near an entrance of a classroom or if passing a class in the hallway.

We have been informed that effective, September 1st, all staff members must wear a mask at all times. We will be getting more information on this rule change once the new guidelines are released on September 1st.  


  1. Are you willing to offer an online summer program for families who don’t want to physically send their children but would still like to participate in learning and interacting with teachers?
    1. During the summer months we will offer only in school programming.


  1. When will confirmation of September enrollment be confirmed with details?
    1. We are currently working on our September enrolment information for parents. Due to the office recently reopening we will be in contact with all families as soon as possible.


  1. Will tuition change to accommodate additional school expenses?
    1. There will be no additional fees or tuition increases due to COVID-19. However, funds in the budget may be reallocated to support additional costs associated with expenses due to COVID-19.


  1. I am COVID-19 in the region and how this may look in the fall. What are my options to defer my enrolment?
    1. Please contact the office and speak with Ms. Stacy regarding options for defer enrolment.




  1. What are the precautions in place in regard to cleaning and masks use?
    1. Please refer to our COVID-19 Parent Guide for complete details on the protocols we are implementing with respect to cleaning & disinfecting and PPE


  1. Will the school be sanitized regularly?
    1. Yes, Pathways will ensure enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures are taking place, in addition to, the regular, repeated cleaning and disinfection of high touch, multi-use work surfaces. All classrooms, washrooms and play areas will be cleaned a minimum of twice daily and between each cohort.
    2. Pathways has increased our custodial staff to allow for continuous cleaning and disinfecting throughout the day.


  1. How often will washrooms be sanitized and when will it occur?
    1. All washrooms are required to be cleaned and sanitized twice daily and when visibly soiled. In addition, only one cohort should access the washrooms at a time, and it is recommended that the facilities be cleaned between each use, particularly if different cohorts will be using the same washroom.

Currently, we are doing a routine cleaning and sanitizing each bathroom prior to opening, twice daily, between each cohort use and at the end of the day.


  1. How will children be able to access the washrooms independently and outside their scheduled washroom time?
    1. All classrooms will receive a scheduled washroom break so that the washroom can be cleaned between cohorts. Should a child require to use the washrooms outside their schedule time their will be a specific washroom set aside for single use in which will be cleaned in between students.

Handwashing will be supervised by classrooms teachers. Staff and children are required to wash their hands between every transition; therefore, children will be required to wash their hands in the washrooms and again when they return to the classroom. Hand sanitizer will be available when soap and water is not an option.


  1. Are the sanitizers used for the toys and activity spaces aerosol?
    1. No. We currently use a spray bottles with concentrated liquid. Are cleaning products are considered food safe and “low level hospital grade” and have been approved by the Public Health Department.


  1. Are you sanitizing the children?
    1. No. We are assisting children with frequent hand washing at each transition and if soap and water are not available in a space, we will offer hand sanitizer. We are not encouraging hand sanitizer for children under the age of 2 years.




  1. Would guests other than students/teachers be entering the school?
    1. There will be no non-essential visitors in the building, this includes volunteers or co-op students.

Approved visitors must complete a health screening prior to entry and daily records will be kept and made available for contact tracings purposes. These include:

  1. Ministry staff and other public officials (e.g. fire marshal, public health inspectors)
  2. Catering Service
  3. People providing supports for children with special needs
  4. Maintenance workers, contractors, etc.


  1. If a teacher is away will there be a supply teacher?
    1. Yes, there will be a supply teacher in place. Pathways must follow cohorting protocols with all staff and supply teachers. We will make every effort to designate supply teachers to a specific cohort. Supply teachers that have not worked with a cohort for 14 days can be allocated to a new cohort. Currently, the Ministry of Education has limited teaching staff to be assigned to work at only one school or childcare.  


  1. Will children still be able to go outside, gym, library (common places)?
    1. Yes, children will have access to the playground, gym, and library one cohort at a time. However, the children will not have direct access with the library shelves and books. Teachers will select books for children based on their interests, and their books will be used in their cohort classroom throughout the duration of the week.

In addition, once the cohort has left the space, it will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Indoor space will be cleaned floor to ceiling (which means to the highest point an adult can reach). In both indoor and outdoor spaces all structures and toys that may shared between cohorts will be cleaned and disinfected.


  1. Will students be kept in one classroom all day with the same teacher or are they permitted to still attend classes such as French, Music and Art with other teachers in their classrooms?
    1. Current mandates allow children to access common use areas with their cohort (see question 15 for more information). However, they are only able to access this space with their teacher assigned to their cohort. We are exploring ways to allow rotary subjects to take place in their classroom and we will have more information on how we can do so when the new guidance documents are released so September 1st.


  1. Would field trips occur?
    1. At this time, under the current mandates we will not be partaking in field trips.


  1. How will children interact throughout the day while regulations are in place? 
    1. Children will be able to interact freely within their cohort. Staff will set up activities and classroom spaces to promote physical distancing to the best of their ability. The ministry recognizes that physical distancing between children is difficult and encourages staff members to maintain a welcoming and caring environment for children. Please refer to our COVID-19 Parent Guide for further details on physical distancing.


  1. Will Pathways still be providing lunches?
    1. Yes, our catering program will continue to be available to all students.


  1. How will snack and lunch time work?
    1. Children will be eating in their classrooms. Teachers will be spreading children out around the room sitting around multiple tables to promote physical distancing.


  1. What will the napping arrange look like? Who is responsible for daily laundering of bedding?
    1. Under the current mandate, children will be napping in their classroom. Every effort will be made to physically distance the cots. In addition, cots will be placed so children are toe to toe or head to toe. Bedding will be laundered daily by our custodian team and cots will be disinfected daily and after each use.


  1. Children will be socially distance while eating and sleeping, does this mean 6 feet from their classmates?
    1. No, we will do our best to spread the children out as far as possible during eating and sleeping times. Children will be spread out be the teacher classroom teacher as far as they can with the furnishings in the classroom and using furnishings as barriers when possible.  


  1. Are children allowed to share toys?
    1. Children in the same cohort will be able to share toys in the classroom and on the playground. Each class will have their own outside tote of toys. All toys in the classrooms will be cleaned twice daily, when noticeably soiled, and immediately after being mouthed. This includes their playground toys. Any that is used by more than more cohort will be cleaned between each cohort.


  1. If the toddlers need to be wrapped in a blanket before being touched how do you account for bathroom assistance, getting on coats and boots etc?
    1. Teachers are required to drape a blanket over their clothes prior picking up a child or embracing them. If a teacher is assisting a child in the bathroom, applying sunscreen, helping with coats, etc., they are required to hand wash before, after and in between each child they assist.   


  1. If a child falls and cut themselves what happens? Would parents be called to pick their child up to administer first aid?
    1. No. Teachers can provide first aid to all children. We recommend that our staff wear gloves and hand wash before and after administering any first aid.



  1. Will there be daily health screenings?
    1. Yes, each family will require to complete the posted pre-screen posted at the entrance prior to being admitted to the building.

Families will be admitted one family at a time for staff to conduct a Health screening and temperature check of each child before being accepted for the day.

If a family or staff member answers yes to any one of the questions on the pre-screen of Health screen, entry into the building will not be permitted.

The process will take up to 5 minutes / family. Please account for wait times in daily and pick up times. Please refer to our COVID-19 Parent Guide for further details on our screening process.


  1. Will there be one than one screening station? Will families be given a time slot for drop off?
    1. Pathways will open additional screening stations at peak drop-off and pick-up times. We kindly ask for your patience as we adjust to screening a larger student population (from summer camp). At this time families will not be given a time slots. Families will need to line up for entry.


  1. How can we help make the screening process quicker?
    1. Pathways will open additional screening stations at peak drop-off and pick-up times. We kindly ask for your patience as we adjust to screening a larger student population (from summer camp).  We will do our best to keep the line moving as quickly as possible. However, this will depend on the family’s preparedness prior to reaching the screening station.  We encourage all families to prepare their children for a quick drop-off with hugs and kisses that will take place at the door.


  1. Will you switch to online health screenings?
    1. Currently, we are mandated to receive a signature on the health screen and take temperatures, prior to entry. Therefore, at this time we will not be doing online screening.


  1. How will drop off look in the winter months if daily health screenings are still required?
    1. We are exploring options for drop-off in the winter months. We are going to wait to see how the drop off works in the fall and then determine if changes need to be made to accommodate the winter months.


  1. Will parents be allowed in the building?
    1. Children will be transitioned to the classrooms by a staff unless the child requires additional supports while transitioning from parent to staff member. Parents will not be able to go past screening area, unless approved by administration. 


  1. Do staff members require health screening?
    1. Yes, all staff members are required to complete a daily health screen and temperature check. Staff will be given priority entrance to ensure they are ready to accept children in classrooms at their scheduled time


  1. Children get runny noses and coughs throughout the year. I am worried that my child will be off a significant amount of time during this school year due to the health screening symptoms?
    1. Many of the symptoms listed on the health screen are also list on our Handout: How long must my child stay home when sick. Therefore, regardless of COVID-19 your child would not be able to attend school or childcare pre-COVID-19 with these symptoms. In previous years, children would be required to stay home until symptom free for 24 hours. The only major change is that children must be cleared to return to school/ childcare by their family doctor. Discretion will be used at times for children that are teething, experiencing allergies (if previously known to the school), etc.


  1. Are the children expected to receive COVID tests to prove they are not COVID positive?
    1. To attend school children are only required to complete the health screening. If a child is not attending school due to illness or sent home due to exhibiting symptoms; a child will need to be cleared by their family doctor to return to school. If the family doctor recommends your child for COVID-19 testing, parents have the choose of taking their child for testing or staying home to isolate for 14 days before returning to school.




  1. What will the policies and procedures for cold symptoms, headache, runny nose, etc?
    1. Pathways Staff, parents /guardians, and children must not attend / arrive at the building if they are sick, even if symptoms resemble a mild cold. These symptoms include but are not limited to:
      1. fever,
      2. cough,
      3. shortness of breath,
      4. sore throat,
      5. runny nose,
      6. nasal congestion,
      7. headache, and
      8. a general feeling of being unwell.

Students will be monitored for atypical symptoms and signs of COVID-19. (For more information, please see the symptoms outlined in the ‘COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms’ on the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 website.)

If a child or staff member exhibits any of the above symptoms or becomes sick while in class, they will be isolated and family members contacted for pick-up.

Return date will depend on recommendations from the Niagara Regional Public Health and/ or family physician.


  1. If a child or staff member is sick or not feeling well, will they be sent home immediately or if they wait for parent where will that waiting take place?
    1. Yes, children not feeling well or exhibiting any symptoms from our pre-screen list will be sent home immediately, as well as their siblings if in the school. While the children are waiting to be picked up, they will be isolated in another room with a staff member. Should this not be able to occur do to staffing, the sick child will be isolated to a spot in the classroom 6 feet from the rest of the cohort.


  1. What exactly does it look like when a child is isolated in another room while they are waiting for their parents to pick them up?
    1. Children will be brought to an available room. Depending to the degree of illness children will be provided a cot to lie down (if needed) or a staff member could be reading them a story or provide a few activities to play with while waiting for pick up. A staff member will remain with them and comfort them until pickup. Children will be offered a disposable mask to wear (if tolerated and above the age of 2 years)


  1. What is the protocol to be able to return to school in case of illness? Would siblings of a sick child also be required to stay home for the full duration?
    1. If a child is sent home sick from Pathways:  Pathways will be given the current protocol / instructions from our Public Health School Nurse what needs to take place for each student to return to school.  The current protocol has been:
      1. Contact your family doctor regarding your symptoms and get medical clearance to return. Student must be symptom free for 24 hours prior to returning, or
      2. Stay home to self-isolate for 14 days.
    2. If you are staying/ keeping your child home due to illness or fatigue: Pathways has been given the direction from Public Health that if a student stays home because they are feeling under the weather or fatigued, they will be required to follow the same protocol as if they were sent home from school. This is especially important if they have more than one symptom.  The current protocol has been:
      1. Contact your family doctor regarding your symptoms and get medical clearance to return. Student must be symptom free for 24 hours prior to returning, or
      2. Stay home to self-isolate for 14 days.
    3. Sibling / family member requirements
      1. Under the current mandate a student can not attend school or child care if a sibling or family member (within the same household) is sick or has been sent home due to illness, until the sick individual has been medically cleared to return to work or school or the family is in self-isolation for 14 days.  


  1. What happens if a teacher needs to be isolated due to a family member contacting COVID-19?
    1. When Pathways is made aware of any family member of any staff or student that received a positive COVID-19 test result, Pathways will follow the direction of Public Health which could result in that staff or student self isolating or receives a negative test result prior to returning. Please Note: Public Health will provide Pathways with the direction that needs to be followed for any situation regarding the health of an individual and symptoms related to COVID-19.


  1. If a child in our cohort test positive are all the children in the cohort requires to quarantine or provide a negative test result?
    1. If any member of our Pathways community including (students, staff or a parent / guardian of a student)  has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or a suspected case (exhibiting 2 symptoms and the individual has been tested), or has indicated they will be tested for COVID-19, we are obligated to report this to the Ministry or Education and Public Health and follow all directions that are given from both agencies.



Last Updated: August 10, 2020