The Government of Ontario has updated the COVID-19 screening requirements for schools and childcare centres to ensure children can attend classes with “minimal interruption.”
On Thursday, the province made the changes in consultation with the chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, to help parents determine when it is most appropriate for their families to seek a coronavirus test.
Now, the school and childcare screening guidance is being updated with two sets of questions about symptoms and when families should contact a healthcare providers to get tested for the virus.
The guidance can be found at the COVID-19 Screening Tool for Children in School and Child Care, and the refreshed online tool will launch on Friday, October 2 for download.
“Ensuring that children can attend school with minimal interruption is an important part of their healthy growth and development,” said Williams.
“Based on a review of the current evidence and consulting with paediatric infectious diseases experts, we are updating the list of symptoms in the COVID-19 screening tool for schools and childcare to ensure that our children receive the education and care that they need while minimizing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
The first set of questions asks about symptoms such as fever or cough, and if students have these symptoms they are still advised to stay home.
The second set of questions asks about other symptoms that are commonly associated with other illnesses, such as a runny nose or headache.
If students and children have only one of these symptoms, they will be advised to stay home for 24 hours, after which they can return to school or childcare if their symptoms are improving.
But students and children with “two or more of these symptoms will be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test,” the release notes.
In addition, based on the latest public health guidance, the symptom list for children in school and childcare no longer includes abdominal pain or pink eye.