Does your child have COVID-19 symptoms? Here's what Simcoe Muskoka parents need to know
Roughly 70,000 students are back in class after months of online learning across Simcoe Muskoka amid COVID-19 concerns, prompting school boards and the health unit to implement safety measures.
Here are the top answers to your questions:
COVID-19 SCREENING TOOL
All students need to complete a Daily Student Screening Tool as part of their morning routine before school.
According to the Ontario government's requirements, students must stay home if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, including fever and chills, cough or barking cough, shortness of breath, losing taste or smell, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Students can attend school if they had a COVID-19 vaccine in the last 48 hours and are experiencing mild symptoms, including headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain.
However, the health unit advises keeping children home if they aren't feeling well.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS COVID-19 AT MY CHILD'S SCHOOL
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) investigates once a student or staff member has a lab-confirmed positive test and assesses the risk to each person and the overall school.
The health unit declares an outbreak when two or more individuals test positive who have shared space or objects and at least one case could have happened within the school setting.
The health unit contacts all high-risk individuals once a COVID-19 case is identified.
If the health unit doesn't contact you, you are not considered at risk.
Students who have one or more COVID-19 symptoms who have been tested must remain home until the results are known.
All household members should also isolate during this time.
RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
If a student tests negative for COVID-19, they can return to school if they don't have a fever, 24 hours has passed since the symptoms started improving, or if they have not been in close contact with anyone who tested positive.
Medical notes are not required to return to school.
If a student tested positive for COVID-19 they can only return to school once they have completed the 10 days of isolation, no longer have a fever, and the symptoms have been improving for at least 24 hours.
If a student had symptoms but wasn't tested they can return to school after 10 days of isolating and 48 hours after symptoms improve.
Complete information on returning to school is available here.
FACE MASKS IN SCHOOLS
Students in kindergarten to Grade 12 must wear face masks indoors.
While outside, masks are not required, but social distancing is encouraged.
Parents should send two to three masks to school each day so students can change them if they become dirty or wet.
The health unit says bandanas, scarves, neck warmers and neck gaiters are not a substitute for a face mask at school.
Face masks are not required while eating snacks or lunch and while participating in physical activity.