When should I keep my child home?
COVID-19 FAQs for Parents
1. When does my student need to stay home?
Your student should stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 (while waiting for results), or have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and include:
Fever (100.4 or higher) or chills
Cough (new cough that is not allergy or asthma related)
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
New fatigue (extreme tiredness)
Muscle aches or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose (not allergy related)
Nausea or vomiting
2. How long does my student need to stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19, or a doctor said they likely have COVID-19?
Every person with symptoms should be evaluated by their healthcare provider on a case-by-case basis. Decisions to test for COVID-19 should be based on their personal health history. If your student has symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay at home and away from others as much as possible until all three of the following have happened: 1. At least 10 days have passed since their symptoms started, and 2. They haven’t had a fever (100.4F or higher) in at least 72 hours without using any medication to lower fever, and 3. Their symptoms have improved.
3. What if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they must complete 14 calendar days of home isolation from the date of first symptom onset, and be fever-free for 24 hours without using medications to lower fever, and other symptoms have improved before returning to school. The local health department will be in contact with you about your child’s positive test.
4. What if my child tests positive for COVID-19, but doesn’t show symptoms?
The local health department will contact you if your student tested positive. Even if they don’t have symptoms, they will be required to isolate as above due to their positive test. This is because even if they don’t have symptoms, they can still spread the virus.
5. What if my student develops COVID-19 symptoms while at school and is sent home by the nurse, but we decline to have them tested for COVID-19?
If your child is sent home with COVID-19 symptoms, it is strongly recommended that the child be evaluated by their doctor or healthcare provider. If you decide not to have them evaluated by your doctor, the student must complete 10 calendar days of home isolation from the date of the first symptom onset, and be fever-free for 24 hours without using medications to lower fever, and other symptoms must have improved before returning to school.
6. What if my student develops COVID-19 symptoms while at school and is sent home by the nurse, and I take my child to the doctor, but my doctor says it isn’t COVID-19?
If the child’s doctor gives a diagnosis other than COVID-19 for your child, you need to bring a doctor’s note to school documenting the alternative diagnosis. You must meet the doctor’s criteria for returning to school for that alternative illness. At a minimum, the individual must be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and have had no diarrhea or vomiting in the previous 24 hours before returning to school.
7. If a student is sent home sick with suspected COVID-19 symptoms, must all their siblings/household members be sent home as well?
Yes, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, if one of the household members is sick and being evaluated for COVID-19, the rest of the household must be quarantined until a diagnosis is made and/or a test result received. If the child is confirmed to be positive for COVID-19, the local health department will contact you, and the whole household will be placed in quarantine for 14 days.
8. What if my child or a family member is in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case? (Either at school or in the community)
They should stay home (self-quarantine) for 14 days since the last time they were around that person, to see if they develop symptoms. If they do develop symptoms, then: 1.Call their doctor. 2. Ask to get tested. 3. Follow their instructions for staying home while you wait for test results.
9. What is a “close contact”?
A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of a confirmed COVD-19 case, for at least 15 minutes. (Even if one or both of them were wearing face masks.) Close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 are required to remain in quarantine at home for 14 calendar days starting from the last day of contact with the confirmed case. Example: Person A has COVID-19. Person B is a close contact with person A due to being within 6 feet of them for over 15 minutes. Person A must quarantine. Person B must quarantine. Another Person C is a close contact of Person B, but was not in contact with person A at all. Person C just follows regular precautions such as wearing a face mask, social distancing, and hand-washing. Person C does not have to quarantine unless person B is also confirmed to have COVID-19.
*Notice: Recommendations may change due to changes from Illinois Department of Public Health, CDC, or Illinois State Board of Education.
By Donna Williams BSN RN, Jonesboro School Nurse