Bluewater's Return to School page

Return to School

The health, safety, and well-being of students and staff is a top priority for Bluewater District School Board.  As per provincial direction, Bluewater District School Board elementary and secondary schools reopened in September 2020 following a conventional full return model.  Our processes and strategies for returning to school were designed to maximize safety while supporting school operations and classroom learning.  We continue to follow the advice and guidelines of Grey Bruce Public Health to ensure that we have the most current and relevant information to support the health and safety of students and staff.


Screening Protocols

All Bluewater District School Board students, staff, and essential visitors must complete a COVID-19 screening questionnaire daily at home and before leaving for the school/worksite.  Please note that we continue to use the provincial screening tools outlined below.  Any documentation we share provided by Grey Bruce Public Health is intended to supplement (or support) the provincial tool.

The student screening questionnaire is found at https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/.

Anyone with any COVID-19 symptoms as per the screening questionnaire is to remain at home until either:

FOR STUDENTS ONLY: They had only one symptom that has resolved within a 24-hour observation period AND they passed the online screening tool (or paper version)*; OR

FOR STAFF ONLY: They passed the online 
self-screening tool, with the exception of passing Grey Bruce Public Health Requirements for returning to school*; AND

They were tested for COVID-19 AND they had a negative COVID-19 test after starting to feel sick AND have been symptom-free or symptoms have improved for 24 hours AND have not been told by the Grey Bruce Health Unit or a healthcare provider to continue to self-isolate for a total of 14 days because they were a close contact of a person with COVID-19; OR

They did not have a COVID-19 test but completed 10 days of self-isolation from the date they started to feel sick AND they passed the online screening tool (or paper version) for students or the online self-screening tool for staff; OR they saw a doctor or nurse practitioner during the time since they were sent home or denied entry to school/work.  The doctor or nurse practitioner has confirmed that another diagnosis (medical reason) other than COVID-19 explains their symptoms (why they were feeling sick).

*Please note, when assessing symptoms, it is recommended that staff and students use the provincial online tool as it contains many caveats/exceptions for symptoms that may support the ability to stay in school.  For example, if the symptom is nausea, the tool allows for nausea due to a pre-existing condition, such as anxiety.

When one of the above criteria has been met, the parent/guardian must complete the Attestation for Return to School Following Illness form.

Grey Bruce Public Health Requirements:

A symptomatic student whose symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, and their asymptomatic household contact younger than Grade 5, are required to quarantine until the symptomatic student:
   ○ receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or
   ○ receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional.

All siblings/family members in Grade 5 and older must self-monitor until there is a negative test for COVID-19 or for 14 days, but may remain at school/work.  The decision to allow students in Grades 5-12 and staff to self-monitor rather than isolate while waiting for a household member’s COVID-19 testing results is based on a belief in the medical community that individuals of this age can reliably report symptoms.  In situations where a student with special education needs is believed to be unable to reliably report their symptoms, the decision can be made to have the child isolate.

If the symptomatic individual tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional, the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from household members) for 10 days from symptom onset, and all household contacts must isolate until 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.

Effective February 8, 2021, all secondary students must provide verbal confirmation of daily self-screening to their homeroom teacher. If any secondary student has not completed the self-screening, they will need to complete the online screening tool (or paper version) for students.

Effective January 25, 2021, all staff must provide confirmation of daily self-screening prior to or upon arrival at school/work by completing this attestation.

To further clarify the protocols outlined above, Grey Bruce Public Health has developed the following documents, which students and staff may find useful.  Please click on the appropriate button below:

Guidance for Student Screening button   Guidance for Staff Screening button

If you have any questions, please call the school for further information.


Protocols for Symptoms

Please click on the button below for the handout on what to do if parents/guardians are asked to pick their child(ren) up at school due to signs of COVID-19 related symptoms.

Button that links to parent/guardian handout on protocols for symptoms


Return to School Q and A

The following questions and answers help to outline the details of our return to school plan, which has been approved by the Ministry of Education.  

Please click on the buttons below to view our Q and A, which has been separated into two sections for "School Operations" and "Program and Instruction".  Additional information will be posted here regularly as new details emerge in our planning:

Button that links to School Operations Q and A

Button that links to Program and Instruction Q and A

Grey Bruce Public Health has also developed the following resource: Return to School FAQ for Parents and Guardians


Video Resources

To help students and families prepare for the many changes with our return to school, we developed the following video, "Welcome Back - A Guide to Return to School in Bluewater District School Board".  Thanks to the staff who collaborated to develop this visual overview, and our elementary and secondary students who volunteered to support their fellow students.




On Tuesday, September 1, 2020, Bluewater District School Board staff were invited to attend a virtual session with special guest Dr. Ian Arra, Medical Officer of Health from Grey Bruce Public Health.  Dr. Arra answered several questions submitted by staff related to the safe reopening of our schools. We are pleased to be able to share the video recording of the session with our families:





Mental Health and Well-Being


The mental health and well-being of students during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a priority in Bluewater District School Board.  Please click on the button below to view some recommended resources for parents/guardians and families in supporting their children at this critical time:

Button that links to Mental Health and Well-Being web page


Other useful links and resources

Government of Ontario:



Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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