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. 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.
  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) 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 grade 1).
      • not required for individuals working with children who wear face protection (children grade 1 and above).
    • Masking and eye protection are not required outdoors (i.e., outdoor play). 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, twice weekly (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.
  2. 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 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?
    • 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?
    • 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 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 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.
    • There will be a secondary line for Jk – Grades only. Families with children in a Toddler/ Casa class & Jk – Grades will be required to use the main screening station.
  1. How can we help make the screening process quicker?
    • 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 backpacks on before entering the screening station and hugs and kisses that will take place at the door.
  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.
  1. Do staff members require health screening?
    • 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. What will the policies and procedures for cold symptoms, headache, runny nose, etc?
    • 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 (37.8 or higher) and / or chills
      2. Cough or barking cough (croup)
      3. shortness of breath,
      4. decrease or loss of taste or smell
      5. nausea, vomiting and/ or diarrhea
      6. sore throat,
    • 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. 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?
    • Please refer to the handout: What to do when a child has COVID-19 symptoms.

Pathways does require siblings to be sent home with the ill child, until direction is received from family doctor or is able to return if a test is not recommended for the ill sibling.

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