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Mum’s the word on school COVID contact tracing

Mum’s the word on school COVID contact tracing

If your child is in a classroom where a fellow student has tested positive for COVID, you will not be advised that the outbreak has occurred. The Bay Observer learned that teachers who receive e mails  or verbal notice from home that their student has tested positive with COVID are not allowed to share the information with students in the class who came into contact with the student with the virus. The policy was confirmed today by a spokesperson for the Hamilton Wentworth district School Board who quoted the Health Ministry stating, “students and staff in schools are generally no longer considered high-risk contacts requiring isolation. Students and staff who do not have symptoms, who have not been advised to isolate, and who pass the COVID-19 School and Child Care Screening may go to school.” The screening that is referred to, however, is home-based, and optional and the results are not reported anywhere.

The Bay Observer contacted the Health Ministry and are awaiting a response. The Bay Observer obtained a Public Health Ontario document, Interim Guidance for Schools and Child Care: Omicron Surge.

One part of the document appears to advocate isolation for both the infected student and those who come in contact with an infected student advising: “Individuals who test positive on a COVID-19 test (PCR, rapid molecular, or rapid antigen) should isolate immediately.  If the individual is 12 years of age or older AND either partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated, they must isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms, or from the date of their test (whichever came sooner).”


All household members of an individual who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, should isolate while the symptomatic individual is isolating. If they develop symptoms, they should follow isolation directions for symptomatic individuals, and seek testing if eligible/available.

All of which leaves the question unanswered of why family members of a student testing positive should  take precautions but not classmates.

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