Saskatchewan

So, your school-aged child has a runny nose. What happens at school?

As children return to school, parents are wondering how schools will be handling the usual sniffles, colds, and allergies in COVID-19 times. Some of the symptoms are very similar. 

Some guidelines defer to public health for final decision

A father walks his children to school in Ottawa, Ont. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press)

As children return to school, parents are wondering how schools will be handling the usual sniffles, colds and allergies in COVID-19 times. Some of the symptoms are very similar. 

According to the Ministry of Education guidelines, if someone is showing symptoms at school, they are given a mask and isolated in a separate room until they are able to go home. A test is recommended, but without having one, kids can only return to school after they have been symptom-free for 48 hours. Areas where the symptomatic person has been will also be cleaned. 

The guidelines also defer to public health officials in many instances, so while there is a protocol, things can change based on individual situations.

A similar situation happened to Gretta Doering's son, who has allergies. He attends school in Prairie Spirit School Division. He's 18-years-old and in Grade 12. 

Earlier this month, Doering's son had been sniffling and needed to blow his nose. He was sent home from school and Doering had him tested. It came back negative. 

"Now that he's been tested ... and it is known that he does have allergies and that this is what this was a case of, he's going to have that physically noted," she said. 

"If he is showing these basic symptoms, it is most likely an allergy situation that he won't need to be sent home every time he has to blow his nose."

If he shows additional symptoms outside of this now agreed-upon range, Doering said they might have to test him again. 

Doering said she is really happy with how the school handled this situation. She said she would rather them err on the side of caution than not. She said she didn't panic when her son got sent home, but had she been panicking, the calmness on the part of the principal in explaining where her son fits into the protocol would have eased her mind significantly. 

"It was so well-handled," she said. 

Missing school because of this happening multiple times is a concern for Doering, but she said it really comes down to cooperation and the fact that no one has done this before. 

"We're not all going to agree. I don't think anyone expects us all to agree. It is what it is."

About the Author

Emily Pasiuk

Reporter/Associate Producer

Emily Pasiuk is an associate producer and reporter for CBC Edmonton. She has filmed two documentaries, reported at CBC Saskatchewan, CTV Saskatoon and written for Global Regina. Tips? Ideas? Reach her at emily.pasiuk@cbc.ca.

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