There appears to be some confusion about exactly what symptoms warrant keeping your kids home from school following Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie’s Henry’s COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 11.
During the briefing, Henry admitted that there’s no simple answer to the question on a lot of parents’ minds, but advised parents have a “low threshold” for keeping kids with cold-like symptoms out of schools and away from their classmates.
Particularly because the unvaccinated and not-fully vaccinated five to 11-year-olds, who won’t become eligible for their second vaccination until Jan. 24, are more likely to spread COVID-19 than fully vaccinated folks, Henry said.
“You know your kids. You know if they have symptoms that are concerning and worrisome, and you keep them home. Some of that will be Omicron – and that has to do with where they’ve been, who they’re around, what is happening in your family and your situation,” she said.
The Delta school district’s daily health check form, as seen in their January-updated Communicable Disease Prevention Plan, screens for the key symptoms of a fever above 38°C, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of smell or taste.
Having one or more of these symptoms advises staying home and contacting a health provider or calling 8-1-1 about next steps.
If you clear the first set of symptoms, the form then screens for a sore throat, loss of appetite, extreme fatigue or tiredness, headache, body aches, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea.
Answering yes to having one of these symptoms advises staying home until you feel better, but answering yes to two or more symptoms advises staying home for 24 hours and contacting a health care provider or calling 8-1-1 if they don’t get better or get worse within that timeframe.
The form also asks about international travel and close contact with somebody confirmed to have COVID-19, and students and staff alike are required to fill out the health checklist daily.
On Jan. 10, Delta Superintendent Doug Sheppard sent a letter to parents, part of which reads, “It is everyone’s responsibility to do their part in helping keep our school community safe. Now more than ever, it is important that everyone self-monitors for symptoms of illness daily and stays home if they are ill.”
The letter also included a link to the province’s K-12 Health Check online form.
Henry recommended that, in cases where parents are unsure about their children’s symptoms, to do their daily health screening and think about it, or else take a day to see if the symptoms improve.
Fraser Health advises people who have mild symptoms and who are fully vaccinated to simply stay home and away from others for five days. However, this currently only applies to older students in the 12-to-17 age group who have two doses of vaccine.
For more testing advice and a link to appointment bookings, visit Fraser Health’s website.
-with files from Glacier Media