COVID-19 Back-to-School Supports

Last updated: January 11, 2022

Michael Garron Hospital (MGH) is helping children, families, schools and child care centres in East Toronto safely return to in-person learning this fall. If you are a parent, family member or staff member at a school or child care centre in MGH’s catchment area, please see the resources below to learn more about how we are supporting you during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For children, families and school/child care centre staff in East Toronto:

  • Take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits
  • COVID-19 Outreach Centres
  • Child and Youth Emergency Zone
  • Supports if you or your family test positive for COVID-19
  • Pop-up vaccine clinics

For school/child care centre staff in East Toronto:

  • Toronto East School Support (TESS) forum
  • Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Champion program

If you, your child or someone in your household has symptoms of COVID-19 or you think you have been infected, please stay home and self-isolate. Testing is available for eligible individuals by appointment at the MGH COVID-19 Assessment Centre and MGH Child and Youth Emergency Zone. Testing is available by walk-in at our COVID-19 Outreach Centres.

Take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits

Dr. Janine McCready
Dr. Janine McCready, infectious diseases physician at MGH, holds a take-home COVID-19 testing kit.

MGH is offering take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits to all public schools in its catchment area. In addition, we are proactively reaching out to independent schools and child care centres.

Our take-home PCR test kits are oral-nasal swabs that can be collected by staff, children and families at home. Completed tests can be dropped off at the MGH COVID-19 Assessment Centre or any of our COVID-19 Outreach Centres for processing. This helps make COVID-19 testing as easy and convenient as possible for symptomatic students, education staff and high-risk individuals who meet testing eligibility

The take-home PCR test kits contain an oral-nasal test. The oral-nasal test involves rubbing the inside of the mouth and the front of the nose with a swab for less than five seconds. It is less invasive than the nasopharyngeal (NP) swab that is commonly used for COVID-19 tests. This helps increase the likelihood that children and youth will have pleasant testing experiences.

The oral-nasal test is a laboratory-validated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, not a rapid antigen test. This means a second test is not needed to confirm a positive result. Results should be available online within 96 hours.

MGH is distributing take-home PCR test kits to schools and child care centres in its catchment area. These take-home PCR test kits are used when students, education staff and high-risk individuals who meet testing eligibility have symptoms of COVID-19. Every kit comes with instructions for how to administer the test at home, where to drop it off for processing and how to get your results.

If you have a child or family member who attends a school or child care centre in MGH’s catchment area, please contact the school or child care centre directly to confirm if it has access to take-home PCR test kits from MGH. If you work at a school or child care centre in MGH's catchment area and would like to receive take-home PCR test kits, please contact @email

See answers to common questions about our take-home COVID-19 test kits.

Download MGH’s take-home COVID-19 test kit instructions in Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, French, Pashto, Slovak, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya and Urdu.

Watch the video below to learn more about how to administer an oral-nasal test at home:

COVID-19 Outreach Centres

A sign points clients toward the COVID-19 Outreach Centre in Crescent Town.
A sign points clients toward ETHP's COVID-19 Outreach Centre in Crescent Town, where walk-in testing and vaccines are available.

Our COVID-19 Outreach Centres offer walk-in and child-friendly COVID-19 testing, assessments, vaccinations and other supports to eligible individuals.

The Centres are staffed by local family physicians and nurses who you can trust to share reliable, evidence-based information about COVID-19 and vaccines. Take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits may also be dropped off at these sites for processing.

Children who visit our COVID-19 Outreach Centres receive an oral-nasal test. The oral-nasal test involves rubbing the inside of the mouth and the front of the nose with a swab for less than five seconds. It is less invasive than the nasopharyngeal (NP) swab that is commonly used for COVID-19 tests. This helps increase the likelihood that children and youth will have pleasant testing experiences.

The oral-nasal test is a laboratory-validated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, not a rapid antigen test. This means a second test is not needed to confirm a positive result. Results should be available online within 96 hours. This is the same test included in MGH’s take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits.

Our COVID-19 Outreach Centres are located in neighbourhoods like Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park, Taylor-Massey (Crescent Town) and Warden Woods. See locations, hours and services at all COVID-19 Outreach Centres.

child and youth Emergency Zone

A nurse stands outside of the paediatric ed covid-19 assessment zone holding a clipboard
A nurse stands outside MGH's Child and Youth Emergency Zone, which offers a family-friendly environment for testing and assessments.

Our Child and Youth Emergency Zone offers a family-friendly space for COVID-19 testing, as well as paediatric Emergency Department assessments, for symptomatic and asymptomatic children and families. It is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. by appointment.

Appointments are available online up to 48 hours in advance for children and their families. (Children must be at least four months old and under 18 years of age.) Individuals who need more than one appointment (e.g. for additional family members) may book one appointment and bring up to four family members to be tested at the same time.

Children who visit our Child and Youth Emergency Zone and general COVID-19 Assessment Centre receive an oral-nasal test. The oral-nasal test involves rubbing the inside of the mouth and the front of the nose with a swab for less than five seconds. It is less invasive than the nasopharyngeal (NP) swab that is commonly used for COVID-19 tests. This helps increase the likelihood that children and youth will have pleasant testing experiences.

The oral-nasal test is a laboratory-validated polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, not a rapid antigen test. This means a second test is not needed to confirm a positive result. Results should be available online within 96 hours. This is the same test included in MGH’s take-home COVID-19 PCR test kits.

Book a testing appointment at our Child and Youth Emergency Zone or general COVID-19 Assessment Centre.

If there are no appointments available for MGH's COVID-19 Assessment Centre and the Child and Youth Emergency Zone, you may visit one of our COVID-19 Outreach Centres where testing is available by walk-in. Children who visit our COVID-19 Outreach Centres receive an oral-nasal test.

Pop-up vaccine clinics

COVID_19 vaccine administered at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
A client receives their COVID-19 vaccine at our mass immunization clinic at Thorncliffe Park Community Hub.

We continue to operate pop-up vaccine clinics in East Toronto. Many of these clinics take place at local schools to help ensure vaccines are as easy to access as possible for children and families.

If you're eligible, we strongly encourage you to get vaccinated so you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from COVID-19. Book a vaccine appointment or see upcoming pop-up vaccine clinics in East Toronto.

Toronto East School Support (TESS) forum

Our Toronto East School Support (TESS) forum is a virtual town hall series where principals, teachers and child care workers in MGH’s catchment are able to ask questions related to COVID-19 and safety. They hear answers from Dr. Janine McCready, infectious diseases physician at MGH, in real-time.

This allows local educators to receive medical expertise and guidance in a safe, accessible way. This helps them apply guidelines from school boards and government bodies in a manner that’s effective and makes sense in their local settings.

The TESS forum is organized with support from East Toronto Family Practice Network (EasT-FPN). Principals, teachers and child care workers in MGH’s catchment area who are interested in participating should email @email.

MGH will participate in other community town halls organized by partners throughout the fall, including Health Access Thorncliffe Park’s (HATP) Back-to-School Forum for families in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park.

Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Champion program

Lisa Tsue, an educator at Grenoble Public School, is photographed wearing a mask and face shield.
Lisa Tsue, a special education resource teacher at Grenoble P.S., participated in MGH's IPAC Champion program in January 2021.

We’re reaching out directly to select priority schools and child care centres in East Toronto to offer an Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Champion program.

The program involves educators and administrative staff learning about IPAC best practices and principles so they’re able to become advocates or “champions” of IPAC. This allows these individuals to pass this knowledge onto their colleagues so, together, they may develop and improve strategies that further prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19 at schools.

This IPAC Champion program is adapted from a similar program that MGH conducted with long-term care homes in East Toronto during spring 2020. It was piloted at Grenoble Public School in January 2021.

Was this page helpful?