Schools detail protocol when students present COVID-19 symptoms

Classroom Progress Report

(NEWS10) — What do you do if your kid presents any number of COVID-19 symptoms or is sent home from school with a fever or concerns that they may be infected with the virus? NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked several districts to share their protocols.

Many said they are taking the lead from their county health departments and newly released guidelines.

“Protocols are pretty clear when we have a positive test for COVID.”

And when an employee within the Mohonasen Central School District tested positive their opening week, Superintendent Shannon Shine said they shifted to virtual learning but have since re-opened their buildings.

“The part that I think is more on people’s minds is what do you do when someone is symptomatic? What do you do if they have siblings?” said Shine.

Like many school districts NEWS10 contacted for this story, Mohonasen requires three things for any student who is presenting with symptoms and wants to return to in-person learning:

  1. Negative COVID-19 test
  2. Note from a doctor
  3. 24 hrs symptom free

If you can’t do all of these, your child needs to stay home for 10 days and can only return if they are asymptomatic.

“This also affects siblings or a teacher with children in the house,” Shine added. “We are kind of taking the most cautious stand we can.”

Parents know that 10 days and even a few days out of school can be tough on parents and kids and cost them valuable learning time.

So what about remote learning if your child is home temporarily?

First, you will need to check with your individual district.

In Schenectady, Interim Superintendent Dr. Aaron Bochniak explained their plan.

“Between 24 and 48 hours we are most likely going to supplement what we are providing that student so they can continue that instruction at home. If we know after that point that it’s going to be longer, we would look to switch their placement to that virtual placement for that time.”

But do these superintendents feel the strict protocols might make parents less inclined to check the “Yes” box on their daily screening questionnaire?

“I know it is frustrating to parents. But it could lead to some of the outcomes you’re talking about where people intentionally hide symptoms,” said Shine.

Bochniak expressed a bit more optimism.

“Are there going to be situations where unbeknownst to parents they do send kids to school with symptoms? I think without a doubt those things are going to happen. But I am not concerned in the least bit that parents and families will partner with us and work through that process with us.”

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