This week marked an unusual return to school. Whether in person, through remote learning, or some combination of the two, this has certainly been challenging for both families and schools alike.
As pediatricians, we use the updated CDC recommendations to determine the need for COVID-19 testing. Current testing is based on a child’s symptoms plus exposure risks that include: close contact with a COVID-19 positive person, the current level of COVID-19 in the community, and potential exposure risks from travel. Please read the CDC policies on screening students K-12 for COVID-19, and pay close attention to the return-to-school recommendations.
Since school has started, it has come to our attention that if a child is sent home from school with any symptoms of illness, some schools are requiring clearance from the child’s pediatrician, AND a COVID-19 test in order to return to school. Although this requirement for a COVID-19 test for every student before they return to school may not align with the CDC recommendations and the clinical decision making of physicians, we understand that schools have made these rules to keep everyone safe in a very challenging environment. If your child is sent home from school due to a symptom of illness, we will support you through the return to school process as required by your school.
Appointments are available at Pediatric Associates for a medical provider in our office to evaluate your child if they are sent home from school. We are unable to write a note to clear your child unless we see and evaluate them in person. Right now, COVID-19 testing is not yet available in our office. We are on a waiting list for a shipment of rapid COVID-19 tests that can be performed as a nasal swab in our office with results in 15 minutes. Unfortunately, we do not yet know when this shipment will arrive but will keep you posted on our website.
Returning to school is therefore a 2-step process: a visit to the pediatrician plus an off-site COVID-19 test (see bottom of post for COVID-19 testing sites). Current test results are typically available within a minimum of 24 hours and your child must remain at home in quarantine while awaiting test results.
We will continue to do our very best to support our families through this back to school transition and will keep you updated as recommendations and requirements change over time.