Q: How does COVID-19 affect my child?
1) Children can get COVID-19 infections just like adults.
2) Children can spread COVID-19 infections to other children and adults. Children can spread COVID-19 even if they are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic.
3) Although COVID-19 can be fatal in children it is very rare, and they generally have less serious infections than adults.
4) The frequency of complications from COVID-19 in children, such as the Multisystem
Inflammatory Syndrome or chronic symptoms are thought to be rare at this time but the
true incidence is still unknown.
5) Almost any symptom of common childhood illnesses (e.g., fever, chills, fatigue, cough, runny nose, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste, loss of smell, or headache) in a child could be a sign of COVID-19. Many kids with COVID-19 do not have ANY symptoms at all. Furthermore there is no group of symptoms that can identify COVID-19 in kids with a high degree of accuracy.
Q: If I'm not sure, should we always get tested?
Universal COVID-19 testing of every acutely ill child is not currently recommended. With current limited resources and testing methods we do not recommend COVID-19 testing for every ill child who attends school. At some point in the future this may change with improved testing capabilities.
Currently on Kauai, we believe the best indicators of when to test a child for COVID-19 would be based on:
(1) exposure to a positive COVID-19 case,
(2) exposure to contacts who have recent travel to areas of high COVID-19 activity,
(3) if the student has had recent travel to areas of high COVID-19 activity, and
(4) a high number of community cases, especially if they are occurring in the geographic region of their school.
These indicators can also help schools assess the risk on an individual basis and take necessary precautions.
Q: What if my child gets sick at home?
Students who develop any acute illness should not attend school unless the school authorities or a healthcare provider can clearly identify that it is not COVID-19 and that they are no longer infectious.
An example of an infection that might clearly be identified and treated would be strep throat. Medicating a child with antipyretics (i.e. acetaminophen or ibuprofen) when ill and sending them to school is prohibited.
All other infections that could be COVID-19 should be brought to the school’s attention so that they can have the option to do additional screening and preventative measures related to the child’s illness.
Q: What if my child gets sick at school?
Any student at school who develops signs or symptoms of illness (e.g fever, fatigue) during school hours should be immediately and safely isolated with appropriate supervision. COVID-19 precautions should be maintained until the student can be safely picked up, as school authorities will not be able to tell which ill students have COVID-19.
The “Sick Student Screening Tool” can be used to assess if there is any high suspicion of COVID-19.