When To Keep Them Home
Respiratory Virus, Pandemic, Flu Season guidelines for parents
From our friends at DHD#10:
October 12, 2021 – With the school year well underway, District Health Department #10 wants to remind parents of the guidelines for when their children can attend or need to stay home from school or childcare. COVID-19 rates in our area continue to be high, especially in school aged children. We are also seeing higher than expected respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) activity. RSV is a common respiratory virus that usually causes mild, cold-like symptoms. Most people recover in a week or two, but RSV can be serious, especially for infants and older adults. October also marks the beginning of the influenza season, though the peak of the season is usually between December and February.
“One of the most effective ways to keep illness out of schools is for those that are ill to stay home,” states Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for DHD#10. “In general, children should not go to school or childcare if they have a fever, diarrhea, vomiting, belly pain, or unusual rashes or sores. During the COVID-19 pandemic, RSV season, and influenza season, other concerning symptoms include new or worsening cough, wheezing, difficulty breathing, sore throat, body aches, extreme fatigue, and new stuffy nose/runny nose.”
If your child is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, he or she should be evaluated by a healthcare provider and not return to school unless told it is safe to do so. This may require testing for COVID-19 or other illnesses and if so, your child should not return to school while waiting for test results. It is important to tell your child’s school or childcare provider what your child was diagnosed with, as it is important for the safety and wellbeing of other students and staff members.
If your child has been exposed to certain contagious illnesses, such as COVID-19, whooping cough, or certain other infections, then he or she may need to quarantine. Quarantine has been used for centuries to prevent the spread of infection by those that may be infected and contagious but not yet showing symptoms. There are now modified quarantine options approved by the health department that provide more opportunity for students to stay in school. These can be found here.
It is highly recommended that students wear masks while at school. Many schools have made mask use “optional” in their buildings and at school activities; however, it is still recommended for your child’s and family’s safety that they wear a mask. Schools are not able to prevent your child from wearing a mask to protect him or herself even if mask-wearing is optional. Parents can also help by teaching their child how to properly wash their hands and to wash their hands frequently, especially before eating and after using the bathroom and blowing their nose. Parents can teach their children how to properly cover coughs and sneezes.
If your child is eligible, get them vaccinated for COVID-19 and also get the vaccinated for influenza now and every fall. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and staying active are also very important to protect against illness.
For more information about keeping your child protected from COVID-19 at school, go here.
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