What Symptoms Should Keep Your Child Home from School

Confused about what symptoms should keep your kids home from school? A pediatrician breaks down the recommendations.

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CLEVELAND – Who would have thought a runny nose could be so disruptive? If you have school-age kids, you know this all too well.

It’s currently recommended children with COVID-19 symptoms, which can be similar to those of the common cold, stay home from school.

“The recommendations are any kid who’s having a new onset of fever, runny nose, cough, congestion, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, that they get evaluated by their health care provider,” said Adam Keating, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Keating understands how frustrating these guidelines can be for families. However, he reminds us quickly COVID-19 can spread to others and said it’s important to err on the side of caution when evaluating whether to send a child to school.

If your child has symptoms and you would like to rule out COVID-19 rather than wait for the symptoms to resolve, Dr. Keating said to skip the rapid at-home test and ask your physician to order a PCR rest, which is processed by a lab and considered the most accurate.

“If they have a little bit of a runny nose and a PCR-based COVID test came back negative, then I think we can say that it was negative and this isn’t COVID,” said Dr. Keating. “So, if they’re feeling well enough, then those kids can go back to school. I would recommend that they wear a mask so they don’t spread the cold around the school as well.”

He said most kids with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms, but there are rare cases that can become severe. If your child is having trouble breathing or shortness of breath, they should be seen by a medical provider immediately.

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