Several COVID-19 symptoms removed from student checklist

Runny nose? Go to school

The provincial Ministry of Health has eliminated more than half of the COVID-19-related symptoms from its daily checklist for students across the province.

Of the 17 symptoms originally listed by the province, only seven remain.

Symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, headache, fatigue, pink eye, loss of appetite and dizziness have been removed from the list of those parents were told to check for before allowing their children to attend school.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during her press briefing Monday that, taken in isolation, symptoms removed from the list are not indicative of COVID-19.

"If you have a slight runny nose by itself, then that in and of itself is not a reason for a child, and we're talking about children here, to necessarily stay home from school, so those are things that parents need to make that decision," said Henry.

"There's some things that absolutely - if you have a fever, if you have a cough, those are things where they're much more likely to be associated with something that may be transmissible to others, COVID and other things, but other symptoms by themselves are not necessarily associated with that so that's where we have a bit of leeway and we've modified that."

Henry also said measures are being altered as the ministry learns more about the virus through data obtained not only in B.C., but from across Canada and other places around the world.

She called it a balancing act to make sure children can attend class as much as possible while minimizing the risk they pose.

The seven symptoms remaining on this list include;

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Cough or worsening of chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Meantime, heading into the second full week of school, 20 exposures to COVID-19 have been reported in B.C. schools. These come from the Island and Vancouver Coastal health regions.

Dr. Henry says most of those exposures are adults within school settings.

"We've also had some exposures where somebody may not have been in the classroom setting for a period of time or in a place where it was a risky exposure but then spent time outside of school with a small number of other students, where those students may have had to stay home, so there's a variety of situations.

"This is what we expected. This is why we're working so closely with schools to make sure that we can identify people quickly, minimize the periods of time that people are at risk, and that we have all those layers of protection in place."

She adds it's probable that, at some point, there may be a school outbreak.

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