*Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases within school settings, we have altered our notification process to parents and guardians of affected students. In order to best manage the number of school cases, we will be sending an immediate email alerting parents and guardians of the situation and providing them with further instruction around isolation requirements. For school boards that have the system in place, a robo-call will then be made, where parents/guardians will receive a pre-recorded message via phone that outlines the information received in the email.*
    October 15, 2021


    Your child is sick, now what?

    Your child is sick. Now what?

    Children develop symptoms for many different reasons. Some children have underlying medical issues that present symptoms (i.e. seasonal allergies, asthma, etc.). The overlap between COVID-19 symptoms and other common illnesses like colds and flu means that many people with symptoms of COVID-19 may actually be ill with something else.

    If your child develops symptoms at home or is sent home from child care/school due to symptoms, take the following steps.

    STEP 1: Seek immediate care for severe illness

    If your child is in distress (i.e. significant trouble breathing, chest pain, fainting, or have a significant worsening of any chronic disease symptoms), do not go to a testing centre. Call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department. Be sure to follow up with your primary care provider.

    STEP 2: Check if symptoms are possibly due to COVID-19

    Common COVID-19 symptoms include:

    • Fever (temperature of 37.8°C/100°F or greater)
    • New or worsening cough
    • Shortness of breath - not related to other known causes (e.g. asthma)
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Nausea/vomiting, diarrhea,

    Other symptoms sometimes seen in children can include:

    • Unusual tiredness
    • Confusion (acutely altered mental status and inattention)
    • Chills
    • Unusual headaches
    • Barking cough

    Use the online Ontario COVID-19 school screening tool.

    You will get a recommendation on what to do next.

    If the symptoms are due to common allergies or another underlying condition, consider contacting your health care provider to support the discussion with your child care provider/school.

    Learn more about COVID-19 self-assessment.

    STEP 3: Decide if you will get your child tested for COVID-19

    If your child has COVID-19 symptoms that are not due to underlying conditions, visit to book an appointment.

    In addition, you can call the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at 519.436.2556, located at 10 Grand Ave. W., Chatham (7-11 Plaza) as well as the new Paediatric Assessment COVID-19 Centre (PACC) at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Ambulatory Care Unit, 80 Grand Ave West Chatham. The hours are Monday to Friday, 5 pm - 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday 9 am -1 pm, for people 17 years of age and under (18 years + are not eligible to book an appointment). One adult may attend per patient. Parking fees may apply.

    New! Testing is now also available at the Downtown Chatham Centre

    If you choose not to get your child tested and they have COVID-19 symptoms, monitor the symptoms, and your child must self-isolate for 10 days. Your child can return to child care/school following that time if they are feeling generally well and have no remaining symptoms.

    If your child is not tested, household members who are not fully immunized or have not been positive in the past 90 days must isolate for 10 days from their last contact with the symptomatic child. This means, if you are unable to isolate the child from the rest of the household, household members need to isolate for a total of 20 days.

    STEP 4: Monitor symptoms and self-isolate while waiting for results

    While waiting for test results your child must be isolated:

    • Stay home – do not leave your home or attend child care/school, social events or any other public gatherings.
    • Avoid close contact between the child and others in your household if possible
    • If school aged, your child can attend school virtually, if feeling well enough to participate and the option is available.
    • Household members, unless fully immunized or have previously been positive within the past 90 days, should monitor for symptoms and must isolate at home until symptomatic person receives a negative result. If the symptomatic person is ALSO a close contact of a positive case, household members MUST isolate.

    STEP 5: Check results and complete isolation as directed

     Visit the provincial website to access results. Test results are typically available in 2-3 days, but may take longer if testing volumes are high. If you are unable to access this website or do not have a health card number please contact the centre where you were tested.

    If your child tests positive for COVID-19:

    • CK Public Health will call you, provide information about the length of isolation required, and give further direction on returning to child care/school.
    • All household members and close contacts, unless fully immunized or have previously been positive within the past 90 days, of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will be contacted by CK Public Health and required to stay home and self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days.
    • If school aged, your child can attend school virtually, if feeling well enough to participate and the option is available.

    If your child is negative for COVID-19:

    • They can return to child care/school when they are feeling well for at least 24 hours (no fever, without using medicine and no vomiting or diarrhea for at least 48 hours).

    If your child is ill due to another reason diagnosed by a health care provider and does not have COVID-19:

    • They can return to child care/school when they are feeling well for at least 24 hours (no fever, without using medicine and no vomiting or diarrhea for at least 48 hours).

    Note: CK Public Health is not requesting child care operators/schools to require a medical note for a child to return to child care/school.

    Additional tips for caring for your child during isolation

    • Try to have one person only care for the sick child so others are not exposed.
    • If your child can wear a face mask or cloth face covering without finding it hard to breathe, have them wear one when the caregiver is in the room. Don't leave your child alone while they're wearing a mask or cloth face covering. The caregiver also should wear one when in the same room.
    • If possible, have your sick child use a different bathroom from others. If that isn't possible, clean the bathroom often, especially after use by the ill child.
    • Everyone in your family should wash their hands frequently. Wash with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    • Use regular household cleaners or wipes to clean things that get touched a lot (doorknobs, light switches, toys, remote controls, phones, etc.). Do this every day.


    School boards release 2021/2022 COVID-19 plans

    Local school boards have now released their back to school plans address and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please connect with your school board's plan to learn more.




    CK Public Health is working with our local school boards to support the reopening of schools. Keeping COVID-19 transmission low at the community level will be key to preventing the introduction of the virus into schools.  The primary goal is to make the return to school as safe as possible, balancing the risk of COVID-19 transmission while reducing other harms to the well-being of students, families and staff. Public Health will partner with school boards to address any ongoing questions and concerns of families, school staff and students regarding COVID-19 and provide the most current information possible.

    Measures in place to protect children and educators by the schools will include:

    • screening to ensure sick children and staff do not attend
    • prompt isolation of sick children and staff
    • physical distancing to the extent possible
    • enhanced cleaning measures
    • co-horting (keeping groups together)
    • the use of face coverings for most students and staff

    CK Public Health's Role:

    • managing all cases of covid-19 in collaboration with the school, parents and other relevant partners
    • determining if an outbreak in a school exists
    • managing the outbreak in collaboration with the school and other relevant partners
    • determining when the outbreak can be declared over

    Your School Board's Role: 

    • reporting a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case associated with the school to Public Health and to the Ministry of Education through the daily reporting tool where they have become aware of such a case
    • reporting absenteeism through the daily reporting tool, in accordance with provincial and/or Public Health direction
    • implement prevention measures found in guidance from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Public Health
    • cooperate with Public Health, and other stakeholders as required
    • communicate with Early Years partners about COVID-19 in schools and boards
    • maintain accurate records of staff, students and visitors. Schools should be able to produce information regarding the students and staff members in any and all class cohort(s) (for example, classroom, bus, before and after school programs, extra-curricular activities).

      For more information: