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Is it a cold or COVID? Should your child stay home or go to school?

Is your child or teen experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough or a runny nose?

Hamilton Public Health Services has prepared the following “Decision Guides” to help you decide whether to stay home or go to school:
Child has COVID-19 symptoms while at school
Child has COVID-19 symptoms while at home

Students need to check for symptoms of illness every day before going to school. In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has recently updated its COVID-19 school screening guidance and COVID-19 School Screening Tool. This additional information will help parents determine when it is most appropriate for students, children and their families to seek a test for COVID-19.

The main changes focus on updates to the province’s symptoms list. The revised screening tool features two sets of questions. The first asks about symptoms such as fever or cough. Students with any of these symptoms will still be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test.

The second set asks about other symptoms that are commonly associated with other illnesses, such as a runny nose or headache:
• Students with only one of these symptoms will be advised to stay home for 24 hours, after which they can return to school if their symptoms are improving;
• Students with two or more of these symptoms will be advised to stay home until they are able to consult with a health care provider and receive an alternative diagnosis or a negative COVID-19 test.

In addition, the symptom list no longer includes abdominal pain or conjunctivitis (pink eye). The changes apply to students only.

It’s critical that you screen your child(ren) daily (including weekends) and follow the guidance provided in the online tool and Public Health's decision guides to determine whether your child(ren) should attend school.

Take the COVID-19 school screening here. Please note, this screening is not a diagnostic tool. If you have medical questions, consult a health care provider or Hamilton Public Health Services. Listen to the advice of Public Health first, as their advice overrules the advice in this screening.

In consultation with HPHS, the HWCDSB has also developed an attestation form (pdf download below) for students who have been away from school. Families whose child was absent from school due to a failed Ontario COVID-19 school screening or illness will be required to complete the form declaring that it is safe for your child to return to child care or school (elementary and secondary).








Is it a cold or COVID? Should your child stay home or go to school?