Research has shown that healthy children and youth are better learners. This makes it important to create conditions at school that will lead to good health and good learning. Healthy schools have learning environments where children and youth are supported by their school community to make healthy lifestyle choices.
“Healthy Learners are better learners”
(Health Canada, 2002)
School communities are supported through its Healthy Schools Framework which fosters an integrated approach to healthy behaviours. All students and staff are entitled to work and learn in healthy environments that are responsive to needs identified across the system in relation to the Board and School Plans for Continuous Improvement, and in accordance with Ministry of Education and Health Promotion.
We work closely with York Region Public Health Services to identify, communicate and prevent health issues that may arise in our schools and communities.
What happens if a student becomes ill or is hurt at school?
If a student becomes ill or is injured at school, we will make them as comfortable as possible and contact parents/guardians or emergency contacts to pick them up. A student will not be allowed to go home until we have contacted a parent/guardian or the designated emergency contact. If the injury is serious, the principal or a designate may call an ambulance. We will contact parents/guardians or the emergency contact as soon as possible. Please ensure contact information is accurate and up-to-date.
Can a student stay inside at school if they are sick or hurt?
Students who are ill should stay at home until they are well enough to participate in all school activities. This includes recess, physical education and outdoor activities. There is no supervision available for students to stay inside during recess because they are not feeling well.
We have a number of students and staff in our schools who have life-threatening food allergies. If some of these students or staff smell or come into contact with certain foods, they may go into “anaphylactic shock” - a potentially life-threatening condition. Medication must be administered by injection within minutes to those individuals in order to keep them safe.
Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can cause death. Even contact with very small amounts of the allergen may trigger a serious reaction.
Please help us ensure the health and safety of all of our students:
Let the school know immediately if your child has a life-threatening allergy or medical condition and complete the appropriate Health Care Plan.
Ensure your child carries their epinephrine auto-injector medication, if needed.
Your child’s principal will inform the parent community if there is a particular life-threatening allergy (e.g. nuts, eggs, dairy) at the school. Our staff follow recommended procedures for avoiding anaphylactic reactions to ensure the school environment is a safe and inclusive place for students with food allergies.
Practice measures to avoid exposure to identified allergens, including:
Check the label of ingredients on any food products that students bring to school.
Avoid sending nut products or peanut butter replacements.
Avoid sending food items for the entire class (e.g. birthday cake, doughnuts).
Encourage your child to wash their hands thoroughly before arriving at school to ensure they are not bringing any trace amounts of allergens to school.
Encourage handwashing with soap before and after eating.
For more information, see the Student Health Supports Policy and related procedures.
Recognizing the serious effect concussions can have on student learning, achievement and well-being, the Board is committed to working with parents/guardians and community partners to provide all appropriate supports to prevent and minimize the risk of sustained concussions.
The Ministry of Education has a concussion policy (PPM 158: School Board Policies on Concussion) for school boards that was recently updated to be consistent with Rowan’s Law. New requirements include the establishment and confirmation of an annual review of approved Concussion Awareness Resources and Concussion Codes of Conduct by individuals participating in board-sponsored interschool sports.
For access to these required resources, please visit our Concussion Awareness, Prevention and Management page.
Dental screening is available to children in selected grades in elementary school. Parents are then notified if their child needs dental treatment. For more information about services available in York Region please visit York Region Dental Programs.
The single most important thing you can do to control infections is to keep your hands clean and those of the children in your care. Correct handwashing techniques are taught and encouraged in schools.
Head lice or pediculosis is common in school aged children and is not a communicable disease. All families can contribute to the decrease of head lice in our school communities by performing regular head checks of their children and treating the head lice if found. Checking for lice takes patience, diligence and plenty of time. It is recommended that you always be sensitive to the child’s feelings around this topic. Head lice can happen to anyone regardless of social class or level of personal cleanliness. When head lice is identified at school, parents are contacted so treatment can start right away. Notices and an information pamphlet are also sent home with other students in class. Effective treatment of head lice includes:
- checking all family members for lice;
- using the appropriate shampoo; and
- treating all family members that have lice;
- removing all nits (eggs).
Additional information about head lice is available through the York Region Community and Health Services. York Region Health Connection information telephone line also provides consultation regarding the identification, prevention and treatment of head lice. If you have questions about head lice or any other public health-related topic, please contact York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653, TTY 1-866-252-9933.
In accordance with the Personal Health Information Protection Act, schools and school boards cannot collect and use health card numbers. Only those professions that are reimbursed through Medicare collect health card numbers. Parents are contacted in any instance where a health card number is required. Medical attention will not be denied in the absence of a health card number. For more information regarding Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), please visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care website.
Human development and sexual health is an integral part of both the elementary and secondary Health and Physical Education (HPE) Curriculum and the learning within this health topic area is important to the overall well-being of children and youth. Parents will be made aware of the content of the curriculum and, if there are any questions, please discuss this information with your child’s teacher or school principal. Parents/guardians, of elementary students, may request their child be exempt from instruction related to the Grades 1 to 8 Human Development and Sexual Health (HDSH) expectations in Strand D of the 2019 HPE Curriculum, as required by the Ministry of Education’s Policy/Program Memorandum No. 162. Parents/ guardians of children attending school face-to-face will use the F2F-HDSH Exemption Request Form and parents/guardians of children attending school virtually will use the EVS-HDSH Exemption Request Form.
Any program accommodations for secondary students may be requested through the submission of a Request for Faith Accommodation Form, please contact the school for a copy.
Ontario law requires students attending school to be up-to-date with diphtheria, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps and rubella immunizations. Parents/guardians are required to provide this information to York Region Community and Health Services when your child receives an immunization from his/her family physician. Students who are not up-to-date may be suspended from school. Consult with your family physician to make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date. Some students may have an exemption from immunization based on medical, religious or conscientious reasons. Forms for these exemptions may be accessed at www.york.ca. All communication regarding immunization should be directed to York Region Community and Health Services, 1-888-256-9675 or by mail to: The Regional Municipality of York, Health Services Department, Public Health, Infectious Diseases Control Division, 17250 Yonge Street, Newmarket, Ontario L3Y 6Z1.
If your child has a life-threatening allergy or medical condition, it is important to let the school know immediately and complete the appropriate forms. In most circumstances, it is your responsibility to administer medication. Parents/guardians are asked to take all reasonable measures to minimize the need to administer medication at school. When this is not possible, you may request the assistance of school personnel.
If your child needs medication during school hours and it is a medication that we can administer, you must complete the Administration of Medication Form available through the school office. Leave the medication in the school office labeled with your child’s name and the correct dosage. You must inform the school if your child is bringing medication to school.
Based on an individual’s health care plan, students may carry medication with them if required. Parents/guardians must ensure the safe transport and disposal of items requiring special precautions, such as sharps and medications. Students with epinephrine auto-injectors are responsible for carrying them at all times, where age and/or developmentally appropriate.
Nearly one in seven Canadian girls have either left school early or missed school entirely because they did not have access to menstrual care products they needed to manage their periods. YRDSB believes in menstrual hygiene equity to ensure that all students can remain in classrooms, eliminating the need to decide between attending school and managing their personal hygiene. Menstrual products are essential to the health and well-being of people who menstruate, yet they continue to be a stigmatizing topic for youth. School communities understand the importance of ensuring that students have access to menstrual products without needing to ask staff or pay. YRDSB is committed to providing free menstrual hygiene products in washrooms at all schools, to eliminate any barriers for students to access these products, if needed. All school community members are reminded not to flush the used products down the toilet. Products are to be disposed of in waste bins/trash cans.
Many people have allergic reactions or sensitivities to scented products like perfumes, deodorants and other fragrances. All staff, students, and visitors are asked to refrain from the use of scented products.
A substitute peanut butter product is being marketed to consumers as a safe alternative for children to bring to schools in place of peanut butter. We ask that parents refrain from including these kinds of products in your child’s lunches or snacks. These products tend to look, taste, and smell very much like peanut butter. While the product is nut free, it mimics a known allergen that causes anaphylaxis in some children to the degree that it is indistinguishable from the allergen. It is a convincing substitute, opening up the possibility that it can be confused as peanut butter, or worse yet, peanut butter could be confused as this soy-based product.
The safety and well-being of our students is our first priority, which is why our schools have procedures in place to minimize risk of anaphylaxis reactions in our students. We sincerely appreciate your cooperation in avoiding the use of these products to assist in our continued efforts to create a safe, caring and inclusive learning environment for all students.
Students should be dressed appropriately for weather conditions. During the cold winter months, students can stay warm by wearing layers of loose-fitting clothing, a hat, scarf, mitts or gloves. If your children walk to school, bright-coloured and reflective pieces of clothing help make them visible to motorists and traffic. It is advisable for students to bring extra pants and socks in case they get wet.
During the hot sunny weather, students should protect themselves by:
- Seeking shade or creating their own
- Wearing a hat and suitable clothing to cover their skin
- Putting on sunglasses (that provide UV protection) to protect their eyes
- Applying sunscreen 20 minutes before exposure to the sun.
York Region Community and Health Services recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. The principal decides at the time of each recess whether students will remain inside or go out for shortened or full period recess by keeping a close eye on weather conditions, including temperature, wind chill, sun/cloud conditions and wind velocity.
We would ask that parents be sensitive to the demands placed on the school secretary and not call the school to inquire about indoor recess, but rather that parents send their children to school dressed for outdoor play. Students will be supervised in their classroom during recess and lunch hour whenever an indoor recess is necessary.
Children are at minimal risk of exposure during the daytime since mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. If parents wish to apply repellent to their child, they must do so prior to the start of the school day. Please note that staff will not be applying insect repellents to students. Students will not be permitted to use spray or pump bottles at school; we encourage the use of lotions and creams instead.