School Health for Parents and Guardians

The Brant County Health Unit has provided helpful information and resources below to help guide parents and guardians as their children move though JK all the way up to grade 12. Resources provided below include public health resources, community resources, and links to other useful websites.

School Health resources and information for educators, such as lesson plans, handouts and grant applications, can be found by visiting our School Health for Educators page.

Before beginning kindergarten, BCHU encourages parents/guardians to take their 3-or 4-year-olds to:

  • Visit the optometrist for a vision check
  • Ensure routine immunizations are up-to-date
  • Visit the dentist for routine screenings and cleaning appointments

Did you know The Immunization of School Pupils Act requires parents to provide proof of immunization (or appropriate exemption documents) for certain diseases if their children attend school in Ontario?

Parents/guardians must report their child’s immunizations using  BCHU’s Online Emunization Reporting Tool.

Check Ontario’s publicly funded immunization schedule

Visit BCHU’s immunization page for information about exemptions.

 

All kids receive a dental screening at school, starting in kindergarten. This free dental screening is a quick (30-60 second) visual check of your kid’s teeth by a registered Dental Hygienist using a light and mirror. All students who are screened receive a dental card to let parents/guardians know what the hygienist saw.

Your child may also qualify for free dental care through the Ontario Healthy Smiles Program.

Students, staff, and family members can take this Self-assessment | Ontario.ca if they have any symptoms of illness or tested positive for COVID-19. Recommendations will be provided on what to do next.

Exclusion Criteria

If a child/student or staff is having any of the following symptoms, they should automatically be excluded from attending:

  • Fever 38.0°C or higher – stay home (self-isolate) and do not attend school until fever free and symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
  • Respiratory symptoms that are new or unusual – stay home for 24 hours minimum until symptoms are improving (this includes cough, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, and shortness of breath).
  • Gastro symptoms (e.g., nausea, vomiting, diarrhea) that are new or unusual – stay home for 48 hours from last episode.

 

Please refer to Self-assessment | Ontario.ca for mask requirements.

Reducing the Spread of Germs

 Below is the exclusionary table used by schools when a student/child has a specific illness.

*These diseases are reportable to the health unit under the Health Protection and Promotion Act

Infectious Disease Exclusion Period
 

*Chickenpox

No exclusion – may return to school if feeling well enough to take part in activities
COVID-19 Exclude until fever free and symptoms improving for at least 24 hours (48 hours from last episode of nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea)
Diarrhea Until 48 hours since last diarrhea bowel movement
 Fifth Disease No exclusion – may return to school if feeling well enough to take part in activities (please refer to school board policy regarding notifying public)
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease Exclude children if symptomatic. They can return when they are fever free, have no other symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours, and feel well enough to attend and participate in activities (please refer to school board policy regarding notifying public)
Head Lice No exclusion – follow your school board policy
Impetigo Until 24 hours after starting antibiotics
*Influenza (flu) Until 5 days after symptoms begin or until feeling better
*Measles Until 4 days after the appearance of rash (regardless of immunization history)
*Mumps Until 5 days after the onset of the swollen glands
*Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Until 5 days after starting antibiotics
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) If bacterial, child can return after 24 hours of appropriate antibiotic treatment. If viral, no need to exclude unless there is an outbreak.
Pinworms Until treatment has been started
Pneumococcal Disease, Invasive Until seen by a physician and permitted to return
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) Exclude until fever free and symptoms improving for at least 24 hours
Ringworm Until treatment has been started. Avoid direct contact sports, swimming/splash pads, and water tables until treatment has been completed.
*Rubella (German Measles) Until 7 days after the appearance of rash
 Scabies Until 1 application of treatment is complete
 Scarlet Fever Until 24 hours after starting antibiotics
Strep Throat Until 24 hours after starting antibiotics
Vomiting Until 48 hours since last episode of vomiting

 

Infectious Diseases A-Z

Lice Information

Head lice treatment is free for Ontario residents 24 years and under through OHIP. Head lice treatment products are available at no cost for anyone age 24 years or younger who is not covered by a private plan. Families would need a health card number and have to get a prescription.

 

The Brant County Health Unit holds immunization clinics in elementary schools for Grade 7and 8 students during the Fall and Spring for:

  • Meningitis (required to attend school as per the Immunization of School Pupils Act)
  • Hepatitis B
  • Human Papillomavirus

You can see more information regarding these clinics by visiting the School Clinics page.

Our dental team visits elementary schools in Brantford and Brant County every year to check up on students’ oral health in accordance with the Oral Health Protocol, 2018 and the Health Protection and Promotion Act, Regulation 570. Prior to the screenings, letters are sent home to the parents/guardians of those students in the grades being screened – depending on the school, this could include JK, SK, Grade 2, Grade 4 and Grade 7.

For more information, visit our School Visits page.

Eye health is an important part of overall health and helps kids develop, learn and read. Every year in Ontario 7,000 kids lose the use of an eye because they weren’t properly treated for a problem. The most common problems are hard to spot without formal eye tests. We support healthy eyes by connecting parents and kids to services and information.

Babies should have their first eye exam at six months old. One eye exam per year is free for kids 19 and under with an OHIP card. Book an appointment with an optometrist.

Brant County Health Unit will visit elementary schools to complete vision screening for senior kindergarten between January and June each year.

What?

  • The vision screening is a short series of safe, fun, non-invasive eye tests conducted by trained staff.
  • Our school screenings do not replace any needed visits with an optometrist – If parents have an acute concern about their child’s eyes or vision, they should not wait for the school screening visit.

Why?

  • The screening is to let parents and know if there is any concern that may indicate risk factors for certain eye conditions that could require a follow up visit to an eye doctor for a complete exam.

  • These school screening visits allow public health to collect data on the eye health of each school. This will help plan programs and services to match local needs.

  • This is a mandatory program under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, Regulation 570.

What happens next?

  • Every child screened receives a “report card” to communicate the findings.
  • If the screening identifies a concern that could indicate a vision problem, the report card will outline the appropriate next steps.

Parents who do not want their child to participate in school-based vision screening are able to opt-out using the online-opt out form.

Please contact the Brant County Health Unit Vision Screening Program through our Dental department at 519-753-4937 ext.450 or dental@bchu.org with any questions or concerns

Find out more about vision screening in schools.

If you are receiving Ontario Works, you and your family may be eligible to get help to pay for vision care for your children, such as prescription eyeglasses and eyeglass repairs. If you have high health costs and no longer qualify for financial help from Ontario Works, Extended Health Benefits may be available to help you, including for eyeglasses. Contact the local Ontario Works office.

Kids in junior and senior kindergarten can receive one pair of free glasses through the Eye See… EyeLearn Program- Ontario Association of Optometrists program.

Children age 10 years or under who have a Canadian health card are eligible for free glasses at any Clearly store: Free Glasses for Kids, Exclusive In-Store Offer | Clearly Closest locations: Mississauga and Toronto

The Lions Club has chapters in communities throughout the country and around the world. Many local chapters offer programs that sponsor new eyeglasses or cover the costs of eye care. The Lions Club online locator can help you find a Lions Club near you.

The work of the Sexual Health Nurse at GEDSB secondary schools includes one on one appointments offering:

  • STI screening and treatment
  • Plan B (emergency contraception)
  • Birth control, free condoms, and barrier devices
  • Urine pregnancy testing and pregnancy options counselling
  • Sexual health education and safer sex counselling

Schedule at schools

​Day Tuesday Wednesday Thursday​
AM​ ​Pauline Johnston Collegiate and Vocational School ​Grand Erie Learning
AlternativesParis District High School
Tollgate Technical Skills Centre
North Park Collegiate and Vocational

​PM Six Nations Polytechnic STEAM Academy Brantford Collegiate
Institute​​
Pauline Johnston Johnston Collegiate and Vocational School
North Park Collegiate and Vocational

HEROS (Health Educators Reaching Other Students) is a youth advocacy group geared towards students aged 13-18 years old (Grade 9-12). The program’s focus is to have fun while learning about Healthy living. Youth throughout the program plan fun interactive community activities to promote and influence other youth on the importance of healthy living, tobacco, and substance prevention.  During HEROS students gain volunteer hours and receive a letter of reference at the end. We meet once a week to plan, discuss and have lots of fun.

The HEROS program starts again in October 2023, and runs every Tuesday throughout the school year from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Location: Brant County Health Unit, 194 Terrace Hill St, Brantford, ON.

HEROS Program Promotional Poster

HEROS PowerPoint Resource – Please contact Justine Swan to request a copy of the HEROS PowerPoint resource.

Volunteer Application Consent Form

For more information and to register contact: 

Justine.Swan@bchu.org

226-208-7685