As Alberta nears the colder months, the difference between COVID-19 symptoms and having a common cold or flu may not be far apart.
To aid in the distinction, the province is stepping up its communication efforts to help parents confused about symptoms and sending their kids to school.
Alberta Health said since in-person classes resumed, there has been some confusion around symptoms and when a child should stay home.
To improve communication, the province has added an information chart to the main webpage of its K to 12 school re-entry guidance and plan.
Alberta Health said the information is not new, adding it was released as part of the safe school relaunch but it is now just easier to find.
In point form, the list shows which symptoms require isolation and which do not. The chart covers various symptoms, such as if you have a fever or a cough, a student is required to isolate a minimum of 10 days. But if someone has chills, a stuffy nose or nausea, there is no mandatory isolation.
Like many parents in this pandemic, Michelle Henderson was leery about sending her five-year-old daughter Nadia to school.
“Kids get the sniffles and get sick all the time, so it’s really hard to tell if it’s something that’s serious or if it’s nothing to worry about,” she said.
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Fear of her daughter contracting the virus has become a growing concern after she settled into classes.
“My daughter did get a stuffy nose for a couple of days and I really didn’t know what to do. I kept her home from school. I wasn’t sure if I needed to notify someone. I didn’t know if we needed to stay home for the full 10 days,” Henderson said.
Henderson said she eventually found out what needed to be done but said it was not an easy process. She said she is glad to hear better communication efforts are being made.
“I think a list like that would be very helpful to a lot of parents just so that we have a little bit more information on keeping our kids safe, keeping our school safe and when we need to start thinking about going for a test or seeing a doctor,” Henderson said.
Regardless of which symptoms a child may have, Alberta Health recommends getting a COVID-19 test.
Alberta Health said if a child has symptoms, parents can call Health Link at 811 or fill out the Alberta Health Services online self-assessment tool to see if their child should be tested.