With school and daycare back in session amid the spread of COVID-19, there are a number of resources available and steps that parents and guardians can take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus—and help students return to school safely if they exhibit symptoms or are diagnosed positive. "Recognizing COVID-19 symptoms in kids and understanding screening guidelines can help keep your child and others protected," said Steven Schulz, MD, Pediatrician at Rochester Regional Health.
Dr. Schulz talks to us about COVID-19 symptoms and current daycare and childcare guidelines.
While children and adults experience similar symptoms of COVID-19, children's symptoms tend to be mild and cold-like. Most children recover within one to two weeks.
Children’s symptoms can include:
*If your child screens positive for a COVID-19 symptom or is sent home from school or daycare with a symptom, call your provider’s office.
Children who exhibit symptoms should stay home. NYS Department of Health requires the following items for your child to safely return to school.
With parts of the region entering the Yellow Zone, schools are required to perform weekly tests on 20% of students and teachers/staff for in-person settings. The New York State DOH supplies the rapid testing kits and are being conducted within the schools. The test is a nasal swab, and families do have the choice to opt in/out of testing which does not impact whether the child can be in or out of school.
"If we can do a good job of keeping COVID out of our schools, then that will allow us to continue to operate schools safely and for a longer time period," Dr. Schulz said.
The swab for testing in schools is a nasal swab of the anterior part of the nose. It swabs one nostril and is non-invasive or uncomfortable. If a child has active symptoms and is tested at a health care facility, a deeper nasopharyngeal swab will be obtained to ensure the most accurate results possible. This can be briefly uncomfortable but is performed quickly.
If a school district enters the Orange or Red Zones, learning can be changed to all remote. Schools can reopen if they test all of the students and staff returning to school.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the local health department will contact the student and/or the guardian to determine next steps and quarantine procedure. "If a student tests positive, it's very likely that the entire household would be quarantined," said Dr. Schulz.
Documentation of completed isolation/quarantine will be provided by the local health department for the student to return to school.
Daycares and childcare centers do not uniformly require COVID-19 testing, but they do require documentation of improving symptoms before kids are allowed to return.
Your primary care provider can arrange for evaluation through video, curbside, or an in-office visit. If testing is recommended, it can generally be done at a primary care office. If you are unable to contact or meet with your provider, Rochester Regional Health’s Immediate Care locations and The Wilson Health Center’s tent are available for complete evaluations.
How you will be notified of the test results:
As we move through the year and prepare for a possible increase in cases, additional testing sites will become available. If your child has a persistent fever lasting more than three days after your initial evaluation or worsening symptoms, please contact your primary care provider for additional steps and re-evaluation.
For more information on the NYS Department of Health school regulations, visit www.governor.ny.gov.
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