Province updates online COVID screening for kids to clarify actions to take, symptoms to consider

Pink eye no long among symptoms to watch for when considering COVID

The province has updated its guidance when it comes to screening school and child care kids in the hopes of clarifying when a COVID-19 test is required.

The school and child care screening guidance from Public Health Ontario is being updated with two sets of questions about symptoms along with information to help parents make decisions on whether to take their child to school, the doctor, or a COVID-19 assessment centre. This is available now via the province’s online COVID-19 screening tool.

“Ensuring that children can attend school with minimal interruption is an important part of their healthy growth and development,” said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “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 child care 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 surround symptoms like fever or cough, both strong signs that children should be kept home until families can consult with a health care provider. The second set of questions involve symptoms that are more commonly associated with other afflictions, like a runny nose or headache. The first set may result in a visit to an assessment centre, while those suffering something like a runny nose may avoid seeking a COVID test and instead remain home for observation for 24 hours.

The list of symptoms for children in school and child care no longer includes abdominal pain or pink eye, based on the latest public health guidance.