Government tweaks COVID screening guidance for daycare centres and schools

There will be five symptoms on the provincial screening form

Sore throats, headaches, and runny noses are the symptoms associated with COVID-19 that will no longer be included in screening guidance for schools and daycare centres.

The update from the Ontario government comes as kids return to school next week.

There will be five symptoms on the provincial screening form, but the province notes the guidelines will evolve as more is learned about the disease.

The symptoms are coughing or barking cough, shortness of breath, fever and/or chills, decrease or loss of taste or smell, nausea as well as vomiting and/or diarrhea.

The change will allow fully vaccinated siblings of children with COVID-19 symptoms to continue to attend school.

Last winter, they were also required to stay at home.

Parents will still have to keep their children home from school or daycare if they display any symptoms, even ones not included on the list. The guidance applies to when they can return.

Headaches and runny noses were included as part of COVID-19 symptoms last fall. The guidance was changed in October due to long lines at assessment centres. The Ford government moved the ball again in February during the third wave.

When students return to the classroom next week, the guidance will require kids exhibiting any of the five COVID symptoms to either test negative for the virus or isolate for 10 days.

The only wiggle room is if a doctor has diagnosed another illness in a child and their symptoms have been improving for 24 hours.