COVID-19 Guide for Families

This information is based on guidance received from the Ministry of Education and our provincial and local health units. Our plans and processes may be subject to revision as provincial and local guidance changes. As new information is available, we will be updating our website. 

 These are our guiding principles for the return to in-person learning:

  • Prioritize health and safety of students and staff 
  • Maximize student learning time 
  • Support student and staff well-being 
  • Ensure equity of access to learning, supports and technology and extra-curricular activities 

Daily Screening

All Grand Erie students and staff are required to conduct daily self-assessments prior to attending any school or a Board facility using Ontario's COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening Tool.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Symptoms listed have changed from last school year and are adjusted from time to time. Follow the symptom list described in the COVID screening tool linked above. If you require a symptom list in an alternate format, please contact
  • If you are experiencing any symptoms, do not come to school. Follow the guidance provided on the completion of the screening
  • Parents/guardians of elementary students should conduct their screening prior to leaving for school
  • Staff and secondary students should conduct the screening before leaving for school. They will also be asked to verify at the start of school


All staff and students (K-12) are required to wear masks while indoors.

  • Students must wear appropriate masks (cloth or medical/surgical, covering nose and mouth, secured with ear loops)
    • Non-medical cloth masks should be made of at least 2 layers of a tightly woven fabric. A tightly woven fabric will block light if you hold it up to a window
    • Neck "gaiters," mingle masks and mesh masks do not qualify as appropriate masking/face coverings (see information from the Brant County Health Unit and the Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit)
  • Staff must wear medical/surgical masks
  • Masks may be removed temporarily indoors for eating or drinking
  • Students may remove masks while outside for recess or breaks. Students may continue to wear masks if desired
  • Staff must wear masks outdoors if they can not maintain 2 metres of distance from each other or from students
  • Additionally, staff must wear eye protection (face shield, goggles or safety glasses)​ during first aid, when monitoring an ill individual in the health room, during feeding activities, toileting, and when within 2 metres of anyone not wearing an appropriate mask
  • Mask exemptions are only provided for medical reasons, with appropriate documentation


  • Cohorting of students will continue – a class is a cohort and will remain together throughout the instructional day
  • Secondary students will continue in cohorts with two classes a day, following the Quadmester model
  • Students are not required to remain in cohorts during recess, but distancing is encouraged
  • Students may interact with students from other cohorts inside the school – wearing masks
  • Cohorting will be maintained to promote safety during activities like music and physical education

Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing will be promoted wherever possible (maintaining 2 metres distance from others)
  • There will be school signage and markings to identify designated entry/exit doors and to provide reminders and guidance around physical distancing, hand hygiene, symptom awareness, mask requirements
  • Occupant limits in bathrooms have been removed

Cleaning and Hygiene

We will continue to follow many of the cleaning and disinfection protocols that were established last year, including supplying all classrooms with disinfection products and cleaning high touch points thoroughly on a regular basis.

Good hand and respiratory hygiene will be encouraged in the schools, and all parents/guardians should encourage their child(ren) to wash their hands regularly, and cough or sneeze into a tissue. Hand hygiene supplies will be available to all students.

Ventilation at Schools

All classrooms and learning spaces at Grand Erie schools will meet the Ministry of Education’s ventilation requirements, including requirements for HEPA units, by the start of the school year. 

  • Grand Erie continues to optimize air quality in classrooms and learning environments through improving ventilation and filtration
  • All systems are working well and checked regularly
  • Ventilation systems are on 2 hours before and after school occupancy
  • High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units are in spaces with no mechanical ventilation
  • HEPA filters are in every occupied full-day kindergarten classroom

Standardized Ventilation Measures Report:


  • Students in grades K to 12 are required to wear a mask ​
  • Drivers are still required to wear a medical/surgical mask and eye protection​
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols​ will be maintained
  • Hand sanitizer will continue to be available for student use on all busses.
  • Seating plans will continue for use in contact tracing when necessary


Parents and visitors may enter a school, at the Principal’s discretion

  • Medical/surgical masks must be worn while inside all school buildings (regardless of vaccination status)

Sports and Sports Programs

The update from the Ministry of Education has allowed for the return of sports programs, both as part of the Health and Phys. Ed. curriculum and for interschool competition. We have updated protocol information for both secondary school sports and elementary school sports.

Shared Spaces and Material

  • Shared homerooms, libraries (for group and individual use) and computer/technology labs, are permitted
  • The use of shared materials (toys, books, computers etc.) is permitted
  • Use of Health and Physical Education facilities and equipment is permitted – with distancing
  • Cafeterias are available for use with occupant loads to enable 2 m distance between cohorts, and as much distancing as possible within cohorts
  • Cubbies, lockers and coat hooks may be used – with students masked and maximizing physical distancing
  • Masking and as much distancing as possible should be maintained between cohorts and hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette promoted
  • Students are encouraged to minimize contact with others’ possessions – hand hygiene is encouraged after use

Eating and Drinking at School

  • Elementary classes will eat in their own classrooms
  • Secondary students are allowed to leave school for lunch
  • Elementary students can be picked up by parents/guardians to leave school for nutrition breaks. Where schools offer food days or participate in nutrition programs, individually wrapped single portions will be provided, following safety protocols.Sharing of food or drinks is not permitted
  • Water bottle-filling stations are still permitted, but water fountains will be bagged
  • Cafeteria food services are anticipated to start in the fall as providers ramp up programs

Child Care

Child care and Before and After Care programs will be offered at established locations.

Other Programs and Activity

  • Clubs, activities, most sports teams, assemblies, field trips and extra-curriculars may resume where possible with relevant masking and distancing restrictions
  • Indoor gatherings will be limited to 50% of space capacity or maintenance of 2 metres distancing for participants – whichever is less
  • Masks are not required for outdoor sports, but mask use is encouraged for indoor sports where the type of activity means they can be used safely
  • Music programs will be permitted (including singing and wind instruments) with distancing and cohorting
  • Lunch programs and food events, such as a pizza days are permitted, and curriculum-based hospitality/food programs will resume.
  • Cooperative learning will resume
  • Regular EQAO assessments for grades 3 and 6 will resume in the new digital format for math, reading and writing
  • The literacy graduation requirement is waived for students graduating 2021- 22, but OSSLT testing will resume

Positive COVID Case and Outbreak Management

NOTE: Always follow direction from your local public health unit. Direction may change on a case-by-case basis.

NOTE: We are continuing to work with local public health units to refine positive case management and outbreak management protocols and will continue to update this page.

Grand Erie will maintain public case and outbreak reporting on its website

  • In the event of an outbreak, Grand Erie will also, in coordination with the relevant local health unit, issue a media release
  • If there is a positive COVID-19 case in a student or staff member:
    • The school will contact the impacted families advising them of the situation and to await further direction from local public health units
    • The local public health unit will communicate directly to impacted families (or student if over 18), by email with direction on next steps. The latest you could expect an email on any given weekday would be 6 pm
    • If a positive case is identified during school hours, the impacted cohort will be isolated, and the school administrator will contact parents/guardians and request pick-up of impacted students
    • The local public health unit will do contact tracing, and directly communicate with high-risk contacts with instructions on next steps
    • Any student or staff member that tests positive, even if they are fully immunized and asymptomatic, will be required to isolate for 10 days
    • Fully immunized students or staff that are identified as close contacts of a positive case and are asymptomatic will generally be able to return to school or not be required to leave school (NOTE: Follow the direction of your local public health unit in all cases)
  • If a class and teacher are dismissed, learning will continue online.
  • If a teacher and some of the class are in school, while some of the class are dismissed, those students remaining at home can continue to engage in learning in an asynchronous format
  • A positive COVID-19 case at a school could impact a broader number of students if school transportation is involved. If your child(ren) shares a bus with a positive case, you may be contacted during the contact tracing process. This reinforces the importance of maintaining assigned seating on school busses.
  • Each school will identify a space which can be used to situate a student who is displaying COVID-19 symptoms and awaiting pick-up.
  • An isolation kit will be available for a symptomatic student and supervising staff member

Useful Links