COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions



  1. Does my child need to wear a mask when coming to the school?
    • Children in Grades 1 and up are required to wear a mask at school.
    • As of January 2022, NRPH is requiring students in Junior and Senior Kindergarten classes to wear a mask while at school.
    • Younger students have the option to wear a mask. 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.
    • 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.
    • For Mask Exceptions: Families with children in Junior Kindergarten & up must provide a letter from their health care practitioner.
  1. Will staff members need to wear a face covering / mask?
    • Yes, all staff, visitors and students on educational placement are required to wear medical masks (e.g., surgical/ procedural) or N95 mask, while inside the building and on property, including in hallways and staff rooms (unless eating – but time with masks off should be limited and physical distance should be maintained).
    • Eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles) is
      • required for individuals working in close contact with children who are not wearing face protection (children younger than Junior Kindergarten).
      • not required for individuals working with children who wear face protection (children Junior Kindergarten and above).
    • Masking and eye protection are required outdoors (i.e., outdoor play) if a distancing can not be maintained. Physical distancing is strongly encouraged between groups.
  1. When is my child able to return to school after travelling internationally?


  1. Does Pathways Academy have a Vaccination Policy?
    • Yes, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has directed all licensed child care programs and schools (private & public) to develop, implement and ensure compliance with a COVID-19 immunization disclosure policy.
  1. What are the details of COVID-19 Immunization Disclosure Policy?
    • Purpose: The purpose of this policy is to outline organizational expectations with regards to COVID-19 immunization disclosure.
    • Policy:
      • The Immunization Disclosure Policy will apply to the following groups of individuals, except where the individual works remotely and the individual’s work does not involve in-person interactions:
        • Employees of Pathways;
        • Volunteers;
        • Students on an educational placement;
        • Any licensee who regularly interacts with children, staff or providers;
        • Any person who provides child care or other services to a child who is attending Pathways (e.g., special needs resourcing consultant)
      • All individuals covered by this policy must provide one of the following:
        • Proof of all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization.
        • Written proof of a medical reason, provided by either a physician or nurse practitioner that sets out:
          • that the person cannot be vaccinated against COVID-19; and
          • the effective time period for the medical reason (i.e., permanent or time- limited).
        • Proof that the individual has completed an educational session approved by Pathways Academy.
    • Testing Requirements
      • In accordance with the instructions issued by the CMOH, schools and child care programs must require that individuals who are not fully vaccinated submit to regular rapid antigen testing.
      • Individuals subject to the testing requirements of the policy who are not fully vaccinated must regularly complete an antigen point of care testing for COVID-19 and demonstrate a negative result, three times per week (which can change based on the element of risk in the region or school community as determined by Niagara Region Public Health Department); and provide written verification of the negative test result
    • Confidentiality Statement
      • As per s. 77 of O. Reg 137/15 made under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, Pathways is required to report such statistical information to the Ministry of Education as may be required. No identifying information will be provided to the ministry in relation to this policy; all statistical information will be provided in aggregate form.
    • Confidentiality Within the Organization
      • The vaccine status of any staff, student, volunteer or essential visitor is private and confidential. In an effort to deter discriminating behaviour towards any person, we are asking that the topic of COVID-19 vaccination not be discussed with co-workers, students or families at Pathways. Pathways will not provide identifying information regarding vaccination status and therefore ask that this does not become a topic of conversation in adherence to the confidentiality requirements set in place by the Ministry and legislation.


    1. What are the precautions in place in regard to cleaning and masks use?
      • 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?
      • 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.
      • 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?
      • 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?
      • 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. Would guests other than students/teachers be entering the school?
      • At this time 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.

    1. How will children interact throughout the day while regulations are in place? 
      • 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 Guidefor further details on physical distancing.

    1. What will the napping arrange look like? Who is responsible for daily laundering of bedding?
      • 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?
      • 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 by the 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?
      • Children in the same cohort will be able to share toys in the classroom and on the playground. 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. Will there be daily health screenings?
      • Families complete their daily health screening prior to arrival using the provided screening app.
      • The screening app will provide families with a QR code that will be scanned prior to the children entering.
      • If a family or staff member fails the daily screening, entry into the building will not be permitted and we ask that you contact the office for guidance.
      • Please account for wait times during drop off and pick up. Please refer to our COVID-19 Parent Guidefor further details on our screening process.

    1. Will there be more than one screening station? Will families be given a time slot for drop off?
      • Pathways will open additional screening stations if required. The use of the screening app has allowed for a quick drop off.

    1. Will parents be allowed in the building?
      • 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 and they are able to pass the daily health screen.

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


    1. I am required to self isolate; how do I determine when my self isolation begins and ends?
      • The following is considered Day 0 by the NRPH:
        • The date or your rapid or PCR test,
        • the onset of symptoms or
        • last day in close contact of a confirmed case or symptomatic household member
      • For Vaccinated Individuals or Children 11 years old or younger: Your self-isolate period will last for five days from day 0 (and day 1 will start the next day).
      • For Unvaccinated Individuals 12 years old and older:
        • If you tested positive or have symptoms: Your self-isolate period will last for ten days from day 0 (and day 1 will start the next day).
        • If you are a close contact: Your self-isolate period will last for five days from day 0 (and day 1 will start the next day).

    1. My child is not sick, however another family member residing in our household has a symptom, what do we do?
      • If a family member has a symptom the entire household is in isolation and your child is unable to attend school / childcare.
      • The household isolation will be for 5- or 10-day period (depending on vaccination status of the symptomatic individual), as the household must follow the isolation of the symptomatic family member.
      • If another family member develops a symptom during this isolation period, then the rest of the family (minus the first symptomatic person) restarts their 5 or 10 isolations from the new symptom.

    1. What will the policies and procedures for cold symptoms, headache, runny nose, etc.? How long will my child need to be kept home from school?
      • Symptom lists are broken into 2 groups.
        • first list of symptoms: fever / chills, cough, shortness of breath, decrease / loss of smell or taste AND
        • second list of symptoms: sore throat, head ache, extreme fatigue, runny nose/ nasal congestion, muscle aches/ joint pain, GI symptoms (vomiting / diarrhea)  
      • If you have one symptom from the first list or two symptoms from the second list students are required to isolate from school for 5 days. In addition, all symptoms must be resolved or be mostly improved for over a period of 24 hours before returning (48 hours for GI symptoms). If symptoms are not resolved (or mostly improved for cold symptoms) within the 5 days of isolation, then the isolation is extended until they are. (Please Note: the date the first symptom is experienced is considered Day 0 by NRPH and day 1 will start the next day.)
      • If a student has one symptom from the second list students must remain home until their symptom is resolved (or mostly improving for 24 hours – 48 hours for GI symptoms). Please note: the 48 hours for GI symptoms begins after the symptoms have resolved without the use of medication.

    1. My child is off with one symptom from the second list of symptoms. What happens if they develop a second symptom from list two or a symptom from list one?
      • If your child is off with one symptom and they are waiting for the symptom to resolve to return to school and a second symptoms develops while off, then the child is now isolating for 5 days. The start date for the isolation begins on day after the first symptoms developed.
      • Both symptoms do need to be resolved (or mostly resolved) for the 24 or 48-hour period prior to returning.


    1. Do I have to self-isolate again if have returned to school after a self-isolation and developed a new symptom a few days later?
      • If you have completed isolation due to symptoms, and are able to return to school/ childcare, and develop a new or worsening of the previous symptoms you are required to begin a new self-isolation period again.

    1. If my child takes a Rapid test or PCR test, can they return before the 5-day isolation period is over?
      • No, they need to complete their isolation period.
      • However, if the individual receives two (2) negative rapid test 24 – 48 hours apart and have not been part of a dismissed cohort, they may return sooner than the 5-day isolation period with symptom improvement.

    1. What does household isolation mean?
      • If a family member has a symptom, then the entire household is on isolation for a 5- or 10-day period (depending on vaccination status). The household must follow the isolation of the symptomatic family member.
      • The first symptomatic person must isolate for the 5 or 10 days, along with the entire household.
      • If another family member develops a symptom during this isolation period, then the rest of the family (minus the first symptomatic person) restarts their 5 or 10 isolations from the new symptom.

    1. My child was a close contact to a positive case at school / childcare and is a part of a dismissed cohort, what does that mean for our family?
      • Children that are a close contact to a positive COVID case, and have been dismissed from school/ childcare will be required to remain home from school for 5 days from their last exposure to the positive case.
      • Students are not required to self-isolate in the home during the 5 days that they are not attending school, providing they remain asymptomatic and have not tested positive for COVID-19. (Please Note: it is recommended that children stay away from high-risk settings or large social gatherings during their 5-day dismissal.)
      • If the child remains asymptomatic throughout the 5-day dismissal
        • It is recommended that the child test on a Rapid Antigen test (RAT) on day 5 before returning to school on day 6.
        • If the child tests positive on the RAT on Day 5, then the child is required to remain at home in self-isolation on day 6 & 7 and may return to school / child care on day 8.
      • If the child develops symptoms throughout the 5 days dismissal
        • The child must then start their self-isolation, with Day 0 being the date of the onset of symptoms.
          • We ask that if your child develops symptoms during their 5-day dismissal period to please contact the office.


    1. If an individual has been part of a known exposure and their cohort has been dismissed, what happens if they develop a symptom during the isolation period?
      • If you are isolating because you have been identified as a close contact and develop any single symptom from either list, your 5-day isolation begins from the onset of symptoms.

    1. We decided to take a rapid test or PCR test do we need to inform the office of these results?
      • Yes, if you have access to a rapid test or PCR testing you are required to share your results with the office. Please date the rapid test and send a picture to the office for verification of your results.

    1. If my child has previously tested positive for COVID-19, do any of the guidelines change?
      • Yes, if an individual has tested positive on or after December 20, 2021, then the following exceptions apply:
        • Your child does not have to participate in a 5-day dismissal if there is a positive case in their cohort and may continue to attend school/ childcare if they remain asymptomatic.
          • Parents will still be notified of the dismissal so that they can choose if they would like their child to attend or remain home.
        • Your child does not need to self-isolate for 5 days if they have symptoms from either list. However, they will be required to remain home until all symptoms are resolved or mostly improved for over a period of 24 hours before returning (48 hours for GI symptoms).
      • Please Note: This exception will only occur if the office has date stamped documentation or have been previously aware of a positive case through written disclosure or contact tracing.


    1. Will we be informed of a positive COVID case in our child’s class or only if the school’s absenteeism is over 30%?
      • If an individual receives a positive rapid result or PCR test it must be reported to the office.
      • Any positive cases will be communicated to the class in a similar manner as before keeping the identity of the positive individual confidential.
      • With any confirmed positive case on a rapid or PCR test the entire class/ cohort will be dismissed as a close contact for a 5-day dismissal period.
      • In addition, if the school happens to reach a 30% absenteeism Pathways will report to the NRPH

    1. I have tested positive on a Rapid or PCR test and have completed my self-isolation, and symptoms have resolved; what happens if a new symptom is developed after the isolation period is over?
      • If you have tested positive prior to December 20, 2021
        • All testing and isolation requirements apply to you regardless of your vaccination status.
      • If you have tested positive on or after December 20, 2021

    If the office has confirmation of your positive result, then if you develop symptoms (regardless of your vaccination status) the individual is required to remain home until all symptoms are resolved or mostly improved for over a period of 24 hours before returning (48 hours for GI symptoms), regardless of the symptom.

    Updated: January 26 2022


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