Know the Facts about Coronavirus in our Community

COVID-19 Symptoms & Screening Guidelines for Kids

If your child screens positive for a COVID-19 symptom or is sent home from school or daycare with a symptom, call your provider’s office.

September 15, 2020

School child wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19

With school and daycare back in session amid the spread of COVID-19, there are a number of resources available and steps that parents and guardians can take to reduce the risk of spreading the virus—and help students return to school safely if they exhibit symptoms or are diagnosed positive. "Recognizing COVID-19 symptoms in kids and understanding screening guidelines can help keep your child and others protected," said Steven Schulz, MD, Pediatrician at Rochester Regional Health.

Here is information from Dr. Schulz on COVID-19 symptoms to look for and current daycare and childcare guidelines. 

COVID-19 symptoms in kids

While children and adults experience similar symptoms of COVID-19, children's symptoms tend to be mild and cold-like. Most children recover within one to two weeks.

Children’s symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Poor feeding or poor appetite

If your child screens positive for a COVID-19 symptom or is sent home from school or daycare with one, call your provider’s office.

Children who exhibit symptoms should stay home. NYS Department of Health requires four things for your child to safely return to school.

  • An evaluation with a healthcare provider
  • A negative COVID-19 test
  • Resolved symptoms
  • A letter from a healthcare provider confirming they can return to school

Read our COVID-19 Testing Guide

Daycare & childcare guidelines

Daycares and childcare centers do not uniformly require COVID-19 testing, but they do require documentation of improving symptoms before kids are allowed to return.

Your primary care provider can arrange for evaluation through video, curbside, or an in-office visit. If testing is recommended, it can generally be done at a primary care office. If you are unable to contact or meet with your provider, Rochester Regional Health’s Immediate Care locations and The Wilson Health Center’s tent are available for complete evaluations.

How you will be notified of the test results:

  • if your child’s results are positive, the local health department will contact you for contact tracing and isolation requirements
  • If your child’s results are negative, the virus may still be present and your child should continue to self-isolate until symptoms have resolved. You will need to receive a return-to-school letter from your provider for your child to return to school. A second follow up visit is NOT required.

As we move through the year and prepare for a possible increase in cases, additional testing sites will become available. If your child has a persistent fever lasting more than three days after your initial evaluation or worsening symptoms, please contact your primary care provider for additional steps and re-evaluation.

For more information on the NYS Department of Health school regulations, visit www.governor.ny.gov.

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