Novel Coronavirus Update

Please read this update from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David Williams, regarding the novel coronavirus.

We know that many of you have questions and concerns and we want to assure you that the health and safety of students and staff remains a top priority for everyone at the York Catholic District School Board (YCDSB). We are taking the novel coronavirus very seriously and continue to work closely with our partners at York Region Public Health (YRPH) and the Ontario Ministry of Health to monitor and respond.

Risk in York Region

The Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMoH) and York Region Public Health have advised that there is no evidence of community spread in Canada. This means that all confirmed cases here in Canada are people who travelled to Wuhan. The risk to Ontarians remains low.

For more information on why health officials are considering this low risk, please read this FAQ document from York Region Public Health, Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) – FAQ.

Precautions to prevent infection

The CMoH says that the precautions we use to protect ourselves from common respiratory illnesses like the flu, can also be used to help protect against coronaviruses.

Members of the public are advised to do the following:

  • avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
  • if you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your sleeve or arm
  • if you or your family members are ill, stay home

The CMoH says there is no need for schools, workplaces or other organizations to take special measures related to novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), beyond what they usually do to protect against cold and flu season. These regular measures are in place at all YCDSB schools.

Medical Masks

Public health officials do not recommend wearing medical masks at school, work or other public places (outside of healthcare) to protect against novel coronavirus if you are feeling well.

Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, actually cautions about the risks of wearing a mask. She advises that wearing masks when you’re well is not an effective measure. Sometimes it can actually present some risks, as you’re putting your fingers up and down on your face, removing your mask and putting them next to your eyes.

As a school board, we ask that you please do not send your child to school with medical masks. If your child is ill, please keep them home.

More information

If you have questions or concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare practitioner or York Region Public Health at 1.800.361.5653

For up to date information, please visit these websites: