Dear Parents,

(ነዚ መልእኽቲ እዚ ንምትርጓም ጢግሪንያ ኣብዚ ሊንክ እዚ ጠውቕ፦  Click on this link for a Tigrinya translation of this message: (Tigrinya translation Principal’s message September 23rd )

On a day-to-day basis COVID questions come up and we wanted to clarify everything so protocols around ill students are clear. This was a big topic at my Principals’ meeting yesterday; we also did some experimentation with the Ontario School Screener to clarify the following facts.

What are the actual and Current COVID symptoms that would see a child kept home, sent home and requiring a test?

  • Fever and/or chills Temperature of 37.8 degrees Celsius/100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Cough or barking cough (croup)- Continuous, more than usual, making a whistling noise when breathing (not related to asthma, post-infectious reactive airways, or other known causes or conditions they already have)
  • Shortness of breath; Out of breath, unable to breathe deeply (not related to asthma or other known causes or conditions they already have)
  • Decrease or loss of taste or smell Not related to seasonal allergies, neurological disorders, or other known causes or conditions they already have
  • Nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea Not related to irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, menstrual cramps, or other known causes or conditions they already have

What is not a currently recognized send home or stay home worthy symptom?

Runny Nose, Sore throat, Headache, Extreme tiredness, Muscle aches

Even before COVID, we have always expected you to keep your child at home if they were feeling unwell. During the pandemic this is critical; no one wants a repeat of the COVID situation we experienced last year at St. John’s. The following is how do we handle situations if we have a child with illness?

  • Children are only being identified as ill based on the COVID symptom criteria listed above. Outside of that list, unless your child is feeling/looking really unwell we will not call you to pick them up based on any of the no longer recognized symptoms.
  • If a child has a currently recognized symptom; just like last year, the child will be brought to the office, parents are called and the child sent home. (Siblings are not sent home so long as they are symptom free)
  • Our office staff has a document running for all children that are sent home and they are tracking/recording returned Negative Covid tests, 10-day isolations and doctors’ notes.

The following are 3 specific and regularly occurring or expected scenarios that we sought clarity on:

Situation #1 – Sibling of a (HRC)  High-Risk Contact (i.e. Student who has had their class dismissed) the sib comes to school unless the HRC is found to be positive. Also, If the isolating sib (HRC) becomes symptomatic, all sibs stay home as per the official government verbiage in the screener.

Situation #2 – Sibling in the home has a symptom or awaiting test results (they fail the screener) – the sibs also then fail the Ontario Student screener and must stay home until a negative COVID test result for the symptomatic Child.

Situation #3 – Sibling displays a symptom at school and is being sent home – last year this was an automatic dismissal of all family members, this has changed for this year if siblings are not symptomatic they can stay at school

Situation #3 (Part 2) – Despite the sibs NOT being dismissed from school with their ill sibling, the sibs would all have to remain at home the next morning as they would fail the screener; the screener really comes into play the NEXT MORNING. If the sick child has not yet received a negative COVID test at that point, then all of the siblings must stay at home until a negative test result is returned – even if THEY are asymptomatic themselves.

Lastly – Please note that we require visual proof of a negative COVID test result to allow for reentry when a child is sent or kept home with symptoms and is being tested. Your other 2 options for return are a 10-day isolation or a doctor’s note confirming an alternative diagnosis.

We urge you to continue to work with us and to follow the protocols. You must complete the Ontario Covid Screener every morning for your children, if they do not pass they must be kept home.

Thanks for your help and flexibility as we travel this path together!

Mr. Paul Gladding