26 August 2020 – Operational guidance released for schools

Type of Intervention: New Tool / Service / Body, Specific Action
Sectors Involved: Education
Intervention Categories: Surveillance and response measures; Detecting and isolating cases; Planning and strategy; Creation of or release of plans; Education and awareness
Level of Jurisdiction: Ontario
Lead People/Agency: Premier Doug Ford, Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario and coordinator of the provincial outbreak response

Overview: The Ontario government has released an operational guidance document for COVID-19 management in schools, developed in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health. The document intends to assist school boards and authorities with consistent implementation of prevention measures, accurate record and contact keeping, working with local public health units, and determining appropriate actions in the instance of illness in students. Overall, the document aims to outline protocols to identify and isolate cases, reduce spread in schools, and prevent and minimize outbreaks.
The CMOH has also released another public health guidance document, COVID-19 Guidance: School Outbreak Management. This document is for medical officers of health and public health units to support investigative efforts on cases, outbreaks, and suspected outbreaks in school settings. It includes protocols to deal with students that present illness at school, outlines clear communication processes between parents and staff, and between school boards and public health units.
Full details here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/58136/ontario-releases-covid-19-management-plan-for-schools

Other links: 1 2
Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group
Evidence/Justification: As the COVID-19 situation evolves in Ontario, guidance documents will help support parents and schools as they continue to work together. The government needs appropriate preparation for identification and mitigation of outbreaks in schools. Therefore, enhanced planning across government sectors will assist in quick intervention and prevention of spread. The management plan was developed by medical leaders in the province, and it is explained that it intends to maximize safety and minimize risk for children and staff.