Introduction of a New School Symptom Screening and Testing Process

News Type: 
Public Service Announcement

YELLOWKNIFE MAY 21, 2021 – The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is providing new guidance for screening and health assessments for students, teachers, and other staff in NWT schools with COVID-19 symptoms.

With the recent COVID-19 outbreak at N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife, OCPHO recognizes opportunities for enhanced screening of staff and students for symptoms of COVID-19. This guidance intends to prevent further outbreaks and monitor the situation in NWT schools for the remainder of the current school year. 

The guidance encourages students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 to remain home and arrange follow up with health care providers if necessary. If staff or students have severe symptoms of COVID-19, such as difficulty breathing, they should call 911. If they have symptoms that are more suggestive of COVID-19, they should arrange an appointment with their health care provider. If they have other symptoms which might represent COVID-19, they should arrange for a COVID-19 test.

If children have frequent or recurrent symptoms of COVID-19 due to another health condition, their health care provider will provide guidance on what to do.

After health care providers assess a person, they will provide an assessment card indicating they can safely return to school. This assessment card will not include any private health information and will consider the child’s individual situation.

To facilitate this process the Northwest Territories Health and Social Service Authority (NTHSSA) has taken the following steps:

  • A new option for Yellowknife online booking has been added with a limited number return-to-school reserved testing appointments.
  • Health care providers across the system have been made aware of the process for assessments of chronic conditions, as laid out in the new guidance.

Keeping children with coughs and colds home from school remains important. If a child has a cold or other illness, being at school could spread this illness to other students. Keeping children at home if they have symptoms of COVID-19 will provide reassurance and make schools safer for the remainder of the school year.


All commentary is attributable to Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer for the Northwest Territories.

Relevant links

Media Contact

Dawn Ostrem

Manager, COVID Communications Operations

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat