COVID-19 updates
Ask Nereda First
Photo Contest Ad


New provincial screening tool intended to eliminate unnecessary COVID-19 tests

Ontario COVID-19 screening tool

The Grey Bruce Health Unit has heard from a variety of stakeholders expressing substantial concerns about stringent application of the current screening questionnaire that may send children for testing when it is not required. This may also needlessly exclude children from school, and result in isolation of household members including parents’ inability to go to work. For example, one sneeze should not warrant school exclusion, isolation, nor testing.

A new provincial screening tool addresses this issue. The new interactive COVID-19 screening tool for students, parents and teachers is available at The tool will assist to determine if a child should be staying home or attending school. The new provincial screening tool is a step forward from the screening questionnaire used to date by the schools. It is in part in response to the backlog of requests for tests at Assessment Centres. We believe this is an improvement over the previous questionnaire.

Also, the current provincial guidance document requires a symptomatic student and their asymptomatic (no symptoms) household members to self-isolate for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. The new version of the provincial guidance under development proposes a shift to “self monitoring” for these asymptomatic household members. The favourable local epidemiology allows the Grey Bruce Health Unit to safely recommend early adoption starting today, September 18, 2020. Only the symptomatic student is required to self-isolate for 14 days, or until they receive their negative results and are asymptomatic for 24 hours.

In cases of a student or school staff with symptoms that they have had for months or years causing them to fail COVID screening (For example, chronic medical condition such as, migraines, asthma, allergies). Their family doctor with access to a patient’s medical history, can play a role in helping them explain their pre-existing conditions to their employer / school including documentations where warranted.  Healthcare providers are NOT expected to certify that an individual does not have COVID, rather they may certify that their patient’s symptoms are consistent with another health condition.

If such clearance for chronic disease from a healthcare provider is not available, a symptomatic student and school staff will only be permitted to return to school if:

They have received a negative COVID test result and has been symptom free for 24 hours AND are able to pass the Provincial Screening Tool.


They have remained in home isolation for 14 days from the onset of symptoms AND are symptom-free for 24 hours before returning to school.

All asymptomatic members of the same household are to self-monitor for 14 days and take appropriate precautions should symptoms appear. Asymptomatic students in the same household may return to school and do not require a COVID-19 test.

Any asymptomatic individual (even if a contact of a symptomatic individual) does not need to be tested, unless directed to do so by Public Health. 

“We have identified the backlog of test requests related to school screening and return to school protocols and are working with schools, the local health care providers, and hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centres to address this issue.” says Dr Ian Arra, Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health. “At the same time we recognize the priority of keeping our children, school staff, and the community safe.”

More information about testing can be found on Grey Bruce Health Unit website School Information.


Please Note: we have removed our comment form due to a lot of spam. We may add it back at a later date.

At South Grey News, we endeavour to bring you truthful up-to-date local community news in a quick and easy-to-digest format that’s free of political bias. We believe this service is more important today than ever before, as social media has given rise to misinformation, largely unchecked by big corporations who put profits ahead of their responsibilities.

South Grey News does not have the resources of a big corporation. We are a small, locally owned-and-operated organization. Research, analysis and physical attendance at public meetings and community events requires considerable effort. But contributions from readers and advertisers, however big or small, go a long way to helping us deliver positive, open and honest journalism for this community.

Please consider supporting South Grey News with a modest donation and let us know that our efforts are appreciated. Thank you.

Subscribe for FREE to get the latest local news delivered to your email box.


your neighbourhood logo
South Grey News video sponsor
GlobalVu ad - October 2020
ColourPix Tower Ad
Explore Grey Highlands
South Grey News Subscribe
Ontario Flora Oct 27
Matt Webb ad
Abbeyfield 3 month ad Oct 27-Jan 27
Grey Bruce Animal Shelter
Sydenham Denture Clinic
Flato - Edgewood Suites - Oct 2020
Bernards Ad July 31
SGN Thank you essential workers
Shop Local
Take advantage of our traffic
Women's House
Forests Ontario