Screening K-12 students for symptoms of COVID-19 : limitations and considerations
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Screening K-12 students for symptoms of COVID-19 : limitations and considerations

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    • Description:
      Updated Nov. 5, 2020

      Summary of Changes

      Revisions made on November 3, 2020

      • Added a flowchart and scenarios to provide clarity for what to do when a student has symptoms of COVID-19

      • Incorporates updated guidance for schools and when to quarantine

      This document provides guidance for administrators, staff, and nurses in K-12 schools on COVID-19 symptom screening for schools opening for in-person learning. The guidance detailed here relates only to students in K-12 school settings and is unique for two reasons:

      1. Children and adolescents with COVID-19 might experience different symptoms and varying symptom severity compared to adults. See “Information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers” for more information.

      2. K-12 schools provide essential educational, developmental, and support services to students and families. Therefore, excluding students from school has different consequences from excluding individuals from other settings. This makes the considerations for symptom screening in students in K-12 schools different from those for other settings or populations.

      For guidance related to screening of teachers and staff, please refer to CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 and the readiness checklist Prevent Transmission Among Employees of CDC’s Resuming Business Toolkit.

      We learn more about COVID-19 every day, and as more information becomes available, CDC will continue to update and share information. As our knowledge and understanding of COVID-19 evolves, this guidance may change. Based on the best available evidence at this time,

      • CDC does not currently recommend schools conduct symptom screening for all students in grades K-12 on a routine (e.g., daily) basis.

      • Parents, caregivers, or guardians (“caregivers”) should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness every day through home-based symptom screening.

      • Students who are sick should not attend school in-person.

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