Girl Wearing Mask in Classroom

Back to School


Image of Bruce Squires

Bruce Squires

McMaster Children’s Hospital continues to be a strong advocate for the safe return of children to the classroom.

In-person learning provides routine, daily structure, accountability, human contact and a broad range of interpersonal situations that children need to thrive. This helps young people build important life skills and coping strategies for challenging times, and supports overall development, growth, health and well-being.

Recent studies show that in most instances, COVID-19 transmission within schools is extremely low, even with the variant strains circulating.

During the transition back to school, we’ve enlisted the help of McMaster Children’s Hospital staff and doctors to share some practical information to support families. Our experts have created some informal videos for you to use as a resource. Topics include vaccinations, managing return to school anxiety, how to make friends, healthy eating habits, bullying, screen time, and more.

McMaster Children’s Hospital is open, providing both in-person and online appointments for our community during the pandemic. We are here when you need us.

We’re excited for a return to in-person learning and wish you and your youth much success in the school year ahead!

– Bruce Squires, President of McMaster Children’s Hospital

Click on a topic below to view videos from our experts.

Returning to the classroom

There’s no doubt this school year will look and feel different for many. With so much time out of the classroom, topics like vaccinations, mental health, and growth and development are at the forefront.

Parent and child with a doctor


Managing anxiety

Making friends

Healthy Lunches

Healthy lunches

Taking medications


Kids with special needs

Kindergarten readiness

Physical development

How to prevent infections

Wearing a mask, hand washing, and physical distancing are important safety measures to decrease the risk of contracting COVID-19. This school year is unique and we all have to do our part to prevent the spread of the virus so we can have a safe return to the classroom for all of our children.

Germs, explained (for children)

An illustration showing a family wearing masks, washing hands and physically distancing. Text: Back to school - Top 5 infection prevention tips for families

5 infection prevention tips

An illustration showing how to wear a mask correctly over the nose and mouth. Text: Back to school - General masking tips

General masking tips

Back to school for children with autism

Preparing your child with autism to return to school may require extra steps due to COVID-19.

An illustration of a child wearing a facemask near a schoolbus

Autism and returning to school

An illustration of a child wearing a facemask, with two other masks in the background, one showing a smile decoration. Text: Back to school - Autism & wearing a mask

Wearing a mask

An illustration of two boys wearing masks, with an arrow between them showing two metres. Text "Back to school: Autism & Physical Distancing"

Physical distancing


An illustration showing a child using a step-stool to reach a sink and wash their hands. Text: "Back to school: Autism & handwashing and sanitizing"


Parenting during COVID-19

Parents and caregivers: you’re doing the best you can under challenging circumstances presented by COVID-19. Here are some resources to make the transition back to school easier for you and your family. Remember to take care of yourself, too.

Screen time

An illustration showing an adult kneeling and speaking to a child, text "Back to school - talking to children about COVID-19"

Talking to children about COVID

An illustration of a child imagining a calm yoga pose, with a school in the background. Text: Back to school - radical acceptance

Radical acceptance

An illustration of an adult exercising with hand weights and a child mimicking her. Text: Back to school - role modelling.

Role modelling

An illustration of a child kicking away a thought bubble with an angry shadow inside it. Text: Back to school - challenging unhelpful thoughts

Challenging unhelpful thoughts

An illustration showing two children, one reading a book and the other riding a bike. Text: Back to school - Taking control during times of change

Control during times of change

An illustration showing a salad, a child running, and a cell phone with a do-not-use symbol. Text: Back to school - Tips to avoid the cycle of anxiety

Avoiding the cycle of anxiety

An illustration of a frowning child with thought-bubble question marks. Text: Back to school - Advice for coping with uncertainty

Coping with uncertainty

COVID-19 vaccine for youth

To help youth and their families make informed choices about the COVID-19 vaccine available to youth, we have compiled a list of resources that may be helpful to consult prior to receiving the vaccine.

These videos were shared in May 2021 when the COVID-19 vaccine was approved for youth 12 and up. As of August 2021, Health Canada has approved both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines for youth.

Q&A with youth

Tips to prepare youth

Supporting youth with autism

Vaccines and consent