Please read a recent letter to parents/guardians from Toronto Public Health about COVID-19 Testing During the Winter Break. You can also read the letter here.
To: Parent or Guardian
Re: COVID-19 Testing during the Winter Break
As you prepare for the upcoming winter break, we would like to provide some information about COVID-19 preventive measures to keep everyone as safe as possible.
COVID-19 testing is an important public health measure because knowing who is infected with COVID-19 also helps to protect your family from further spread of this virus.
What to do if one of your family members has COVID-19 symptoms or has been notified that they have been exposed to COVID-19?
Individuals should go for PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) COVID-19 testing if:
- They have one or more COVID-19 symptoms, even if they are mild;
- They have been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, as informed by public health or through the COVID Alert app; or
- Public health has asked them to get tested
PCR testing identifies genetic material from the COVID-19 virus and is the most accurate kind of COVID-19 testing. PCR tests are lab-based reports and results are generally available between 24-72 hours.
During the winter break PCR tests will continue to be available at COVID-19 assessment centres. For additional information on COVID-19 testing, including a map of COVID-19 Testing locations, we encourage you to visit our website.
Rapid antigen screening will be available to all students for winter break period
To support the safe return of students after the winter break, the Ministry of Education will be providing publically funded schools in Ontario with rapid antigen screening kits for all students. Before the winter break, every student will be given a rapid antigen screening kit that contains five tests. These test kits will support all students to complete voluntary screening at home prior to the return to the classroom in January.
- Test kits will be distributed at the school to be used on a voluntary basis
- Students should complete a test every 3-4 days over the winter break on every Monday and Thursday beginning December 23, until all five tests have been used
- See here for a video and information sheet on how to use the test kit
- Rapid Antigen Tests are to be used for screening purposes for individuals who do not have COVID-19 symptoms
- If you have symptoms or are a close contact of a positive case of COVID-19, get tested with a PCR test, even if you have used the Rapid Antigen Test
If the Rapid Antigen Test result is positive:
- Get tested with a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate while waiting for the PCR test result
- A PCR test is required to confirm the result because sometimes a Rapid Antigen Test can give a false positive result
- If the PCR test is positive, continue to self-isolate. Follow advice from public health
It is important to stay home if sick, wear a mask, keep a physical distance, and wash hands often. COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for those who are eligible and who are not fully vaccinated. Appointments can be booked by visiting the Ontario COVID-19 Vaccination Portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900. Please see Toronto Public Health's (TPH) website for more information on How to get vaccinated.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, please call our Hotline at 416-338-7600, Monday to Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Interpretation services are available. If you need immediate health care assistance, please call Telehealth Ontario 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-866-797-0000.
Thank you for all that you are doing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community.
COVID-19 Child and Youth Response TeamChild and Youth Response Team
Chief Nursing Officer