Ontario Revises COVID-19 Testing Guidelines in Schools and Daycares

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Ontario is changing its COVID-19 symptom screening guidelines for schools and daycares across the province.The province is now asking parents to keep their children home after school for 24 hours if they have a runny nose or headaches.

If a child has both of these symptoms, they are asked to see a health care provider or take a COVID-19 test before returning to school or daycare.

Previously, the government had requested that children with either of these symptoms stay home until they receive a negative COVID-19 test or other medical diagnosis.

Ontario is also removing abdominal pain or conjunctivitis from its screening list.


Earlier this month, British Columbia removed 10 symptoms from its school screening sheet, including a runny nose.

“I’ve never talked so much about a runny nose in life,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province’s associate chief medical officer of health, looking at which symptoms to prioritize.

“We certainly looked at the BC list and talked to staff about the rationale for what they did. Up to 17% of children with COVID-19 in Ontario did not have a runny nose until when they started. However, we do know that a runny nose is a very common symptom and in the vast overwhelming majority of cases it is not COVID-19. This is why it is still there, but we are looking at, is it a significant symptom and do they have other symptoms as well.

Provincial officials have reported 64 new cases of COVID-19 in Ontario schools – at least 29 of those cases have involved students. This brings the total number of reported cases to 447.

A total of 306 of the more than 4,800 hundred schools across the province have reported at least one case of the coronavirus while three schools have been forced to close after an outbreak was declared.

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