How to Return to School and Activities After Illness

Children often get sick at the beginning of school or new group activity. Identifying their symptoms and evaluating if they should be tested for COVID-19 is key to minimizing the spread of the virus and also helps identify when they can safely return to school.

COVID-19 Symptoms

  • Covid symptoms in kids are divided into high risk:
    • Fever over 100.4
    • Persistent cough or shortness of breath
    • Loss of sense of smell (this is considered diagnostic for Covid regardless of testing)

    And low risk:

    • Runny nose or sore throat not consistent with allergies
    • Diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
    • Unusual fatigue
    • New or atypical headaches
    • Diffuse muscle aches

If these symptoms occur, keep your child isolated at home.  If your child has symptoms that resolve in under 24 hours, she/he can return to school without testing. If your child has only low risk symptoms which resolve in less than 48 hours, she/he can return to school without testing.

If your child’s symptoms do not resolve as above, contact your provider.  We will discuss a visit to look for another diagnosis versus testing for Covid without a visit.  If another source of symptoms is not found, they should be tested for SARS-CoV 2.  If you prefer to go straight for testing, this can be self-scheduled.  If no alternative diagnosis is found, kids need to have a negative Covid test AND resolved symptoms before returning to school.

If your child has loss of sense of taste or smell, they are presumed to have Covid-19 and should isolate at home for 10 days.  They can return after 10 days if they have been fever-free for 24 hours.  You may choose to have them tested, but a negative test will not change the need for isolation. For information on how to isolate at home view this post.

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