Feeling Sick? Here's What to Do - UPDATE
September 21, 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.
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 UNLESS YOU HAVE A NEGATIVE COVID TEST. 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.
You are legally required to self-isolate if:
- you test positive for COVID-19.
- 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.
- you have been in contact with someone known to have COVID-19.
- you have travelled outside Canada within the last 14 days.
You do not have to self-isolate if: (Unless you have a negative COVID test)
- you are awaiting asymptomatic test results.
- you have no symptoms of illness.
- you have symptoms of illness that are related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.
- you have tested negative for COVID-19.
- you have tested negative for COVID-19 and have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, runny nose, or sore throat that is not related to a pre-existing illness or health condition.
Return to School Procedure - If you have 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, it is recommended that you stay home until symptoms resolve. While AHS always suggests that you stay at home when sick with any illness, until symptoms resolve; if your COVID test is negative, you are not legally required to isolate and you may return to school upon completion of the Negative Test Declaration: For Students / For Staff.
Visit the Alberta Health Services' website for more information on symptoms and testing.
- 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 isolate for 14 days and monitor for symptoms if you are a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 (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)
- 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.