Student, childcare screening protocols now triggered by single COVID-19 symptom

·3 min read

School staff, students and children attending daycare who have a single COVID-19 symptom are to stay home, according to new provincial guidelines.

“Due to the recent emergence of COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC) in Ontario, new safety measures have been added in schools and child care centres to keep students, children, and staff safe,” states a North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit media release for local school boards. “As always, parents and guardians must screen their child each day before going to school or daycare. Grade 9-12 students must also verify that they have completed the daily screen once they arrive at school,” it states, with news rules outlined. “Staff, students and children with any new or worsening symptom of COVID-19, as indicated in the school and child care screening tool, even those with only one symptom, must stay home until: - They receive a negative COVID-19 test result. - They receive an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional, or - It has been 10 days since their symptom onset and they are feeling better. - All asymptomatic household contacts (not experiencing symptoms) of symptomatic individuals are required to quarantine until the symptomatic household member: - receives a negative COVID-19 test result, or receives an alternative diagnosis by a health care professional,” the release states.

“If the symptomatic individual tests positive, or is not tested and does not receive an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional, the symptomatic individual must isolate (including from household members) for 10 days from symptom onset, and all household contacts must isolate until 14 days from their last contact with the symptomatic individual.”

Not every runny nose, cough or headache counts as a symptom, however, according to the descriptions provided under the provincial screening document.

Fever and/or chills

Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

Cough or barking cough (croup)

Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing (not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, or other known causes or conditions they already have)

Shortness of breath

Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply (not related to asthma or other known causes or conditions they already have)

Decrease or loss of taste or smell

Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders, or other known causes or conditions they already have

Sore throat or difficulty swallowing

Painful swallowing (not related to seasonal allergies, acid reflux, or other known causes or conditions they already have)

Runny or stuffy/congested nose

Not related to seasonal allergies, being outside in cold weather, or other known causes or conditions they already have

Headache

Unusual, long-lasting (not related to tension-type headaches, chronic migraines, or other known causes or conditions they already have)

Nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea

Not related to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, menstrual cramps, or other known causes or conditions they already have

Extreme tiredness or muscle aches

Unusual, fatigue, lack of energy, poor feeding in infants (not related to depression, insomnia, thyroid disfunction, sudden injury, or other known causes or conditions they already have)

Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada.

Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca