Targeted Testing for School Communities
November 26, 2020
Office of the Premier
Targeted Testing Approach
Ontario is launching voluntary targeted COVID-19 testing in schools for asymptomatic students and staff in regions of the province that currently have a high number of active COVID-19 cases.
Ottawa, Toronto, Peel and York regions will be taking part in this initiative. The Ministry of Education, along with the Ministry of Heath and Ontario Health, is working with school boards in those regions and local public health units to support this initiative.
This targeted testing will enhance the testing already widely available across the province for symptomatic students and education workers and for those who are close contacts of confirmed cases.
- This initiative will occur over a four-week period, beginning the week of November 23, 2020, and will support schools in communities with a high prevalence of active COVID-19 cases.
- Testing is voluntary, and consent will be required from parents or guardians. The method for testing will vary between regions, and the ministry is working with school boards to determine the best approach to meet local needs.
- While this testing initiative is focused on students, regions are also able to consider expanding testing to include staff and/or family members.
- Volunteer participants will be asked to have a valid Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) card. However, a valid OHIP card is not a requirement to receive a test.
- In alignment with current public health guidance, if an individual tests positive for COVID-19, the individual will self-isolate for the recommended 10-day isolation period, the local public health unit will be notified, and contact tracing will begin.
- Ontario has allocated a total of $23.7 million to support access to testing over the coming months.