Feeling Sick? Here's What to Do.
September 9, 2020 - There are many questions swirling around when it comes to student illness and COVID-19.
There may be some confusion as to when parents should keep their children home from school or when parents are allowed to return their children back to class. First and foremost, it is the parents' role to screen their child(ren) for symptoms every morning.
For a visual tool you can print off and keep posted somewhere at home, check out the Parkland School Division Stay at Home Guide.
Each day before going to school:
Step 1 - Use the COVID-19 Screening Questionnaire
Step 2 - If you answer "Yes" to any of the questions, stay home and use the AHS Online Self-Assessment Tool
Step 3 - Follow the recommendations outlined by the self-assessment tool or take direction from your primary health care practitioner (family doctor)
The bottom line: students with symptoms must not attend school. According to Alberta Health Services guidelines, if a child develops symptoms that could be caused either by COVID-19 or by a known pre-existing condition (e.g. allergies, chronic cough), the child should be tested for COVID-19 to confirm that it is not the source of their symptoms before returning to school.
Anyone who exhibits symptoms must stay home and seek health care advice as appropriate: parents can call Health Link 811 and/or their primary health care practitioner (family doctor), and fill out the AHS Online Self-Assessment tool to determine if their child should be tested.
Stay at home and self-isolate for at least 10 days if you have any of these symptoms:
- Cough (new cough or worsening chronic cough)
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (new or worsening)
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
Return to School Procedure - If you have any of the above symptoms that is not related to a pre-existing health condition, or if you test positive for COVID-19, you are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days or until symptoms resolve - whichever takes longer. If you test negative and have no known exposure to the virus, stay home until symptoms resolve. Once you complete the 10-day isolation OR receive your negative COVID-19 test result and you are feeling well, you may return to school upon completion of the Negative Test Declaration: For Students / For Staff.
Stay at home until these symptoms resolve:
- Painful swallowing
- Stuffy nose
- Muscle or joint aches
- Feeling unwell, fatigue or severe exhaustion
- Gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or unexplained loss of appetite)
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
- Conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye)
Return to School Procedure - Minimize your contact with others until your symptoms resolve. You may return to school when your symptoms resolve. There is no need to go get a COVID-19 test or fill out any paperwork upon your return to school.
Monitor your child’s health and call Health Link 811 if you have questions or concerns. Call 911 immediately if you or your child is experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19, including difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, feelings of confusion or loss of consciousness.
- You are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.
- The mandatory isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.
Tested Positive for COVID-19
- You are legally required to isolate for a minimum of 10 days if you have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Isolation period is 10 days from the start of symptoms, or until symptoms resolve, whichever takes longer.
Have Symptoms but Tested Negative for COVID-19
- If you tested negative and have known exposure to COVID-19, you are legally required to quarantine for 14 days from the last date of your exposure.
- If you tested negative and have no known exposure to the virus, you are not legally required to isolate. However, it is important to stay home until your symptoms resolve so that you do not infect others.
Close Contacts of Confirmed Cases
- You are legally required to quarantine for 14 days and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19. A close contact is someone who provides care, lives with or has close physical contact without appropriate use of personal protective equipment, or comes into direct contact with infectious body fluids of someone with COVID-19.
- If you become sick with cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose or sore throat during this time, you must isolate for an additional 10 days from the beginning of symptoms or until you are feeling well, whichever takes longer.
If a student has COVID-like symptoms related to allergies or a pre-existing medical condition:
- The student should be tested for COVID-19 at least once before returning to school, and have a negative COVID-19 test result.
- Should the student have a negative COVID-19 test result, these COVID-like symptoms would be considered their baseline health status. As long as the condition of their cough or runny nose remains the same and does not get worse, the student can attend school.
- Talk to your school about your child’s pre-existing medical condition so the school may keep a confidential record of this condition.
For more information on COVID-19 screening and isolation procedures, please visit the Alberta Government website.