New questions have been added to the Ontario government’s COVID-19 screening tool to help better determine whether children should attend school and child care.
The new questions relate to symptoms commonly associated with other illnesses.
“Based on a review of the current evidence and consulting with pediatric infectious diseases experts, we are updating the list of symptoms in the COVID-19 screening tool for schools and child care to ensure that our children receive the education and care that they need while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
The updated screen tool asks about potential COVID symptoms, that can also be associated with other illnesses such as seasonal allergies. These symptoms include a runny nose, sore throat, headache, nausea, fatigue, and more.
Children or students showing only one of these symptoms are advised to stay home for 24 hours from when the symptoms appear. If the symptoms improve, a child may return to school or child care when they feel better. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to return. If these symptoms have worsened after 24 hours, a parent is advised to contact their child’s healthcare provider for further advice or treatment.
Children or students showing two or more of these symptoms are asked to remain home until they have consulted a healthcare provider, received an alternative diagnosis, or received a negative COVID-19 test.
The other questions in the screening tool ask about common COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever and cough. Children with these symptoms are asked to remain home until they have consulted a healthcare provider, received an alternative diagnosis or received a negative COVID-19 test. This also is expected of children who have been outside of Canada in the last 14 days, have been in contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19, or have been advised by a health care provider to isolate.
Additionally, the symptom list for children in school and child care no longer includes abdominal pain or conjunctivitis (pink eye).