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KFL&A Public Health implements additional COVID-19 screening for schools

KFL&A Public Health is implementing further COVID-19 screening directives for students, staff members and visitors at all area schools. Photo by Kelly Sikkema.

Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) Public Health announced today that it is implementing additional screening requirements for those attending area schools, including students, staff, and visitors.

“Our case and contact management data demonstrate that most of the cases were symptomatic in school and their symptoms were predominantly nasal congestion and runny nose,” KFL&A Public Health said in a press release on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021.

The Public Health Unit said these additional screening requirements are being put in place “to slow the rise of positive cases in our community and to prevent cases in schools, especially to avoid having to dismiss entire class cohorts.”

KFL&A Public Health said that students and staff within the region must continue to follow the provincial COVID-19 screening template, and that they also screen for symptoms on the ‘extended symptom list’ that follows:

  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache (that is unusual or long lasting)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Decreased or lack of appetite

Public Health said that any student, staff member, or visitor that does not pass the screening procedures of province as well as this additional symptom list should not attend school. Instead, they should book an appointment at the COVID-19 assessment centre as soon as possible.

“The student or staff with symptoms must not attend school until they are symptom free for 24 hours or their symptoms are improving AND they receive a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional,” KFL&A Public Health said.

“KFL&A COVID-19 assessment centres offer a less invasive swab test for children to help ease the testing experience for them. Please be sure to request a less invasive swab for your child’s test.”

Additionally, KFL&A Public Health said that if students, staff members or visitors have one of the symptoms listed on the provincial school screening list, all household members of that person who are not fully vaccinate are required to isolate until the person with symptoms receives a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis from a health care professional. Household members who are asymptomatic and live with someone who has one or more symptoms from the additional symptoms list provided by KFL&A Public Health (above) and not the provincial screening questions do not need to isolate while the symptomatic person is getting tested and awaiting results.

“We all have a role to play to stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community, and the ongoing efforts of community members, health professionals, educators, families, and students will all contribute to a safe and healthy school environment,” the local Health Unit said.

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