Guidance for parents during COVID-19

In the past, your child could go to school, even if their nose was stuffed or runny. But as we continue to live in a world with COVID-19, you might be wondering – is it really a cold? Is it safe for my child to go to school? What if they test positive for COVID-19?

Jeffrey Kahn, M.D., Director of Infectious Disease at Children's Health℠ and professor at UT Southwestern, shares his advice for when to keep your child at home from school or daycare this year.

Watch for certain symptoms

Not all children will show symptoms of COVID-19, even though they can still spread the virus. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should watch out for symptoms such as:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

While these symptoms don't automatically mean your child has COVID-19, they may have another condition – like the flu or strep throat – that could spread to their classmates. It is best to keep them home if they show any of these symptoms.

If your child tests negative for COVID-19, they will be able to return to school when they feel better. So, when they no longer have a fever for at least 24 hours without using fever medications, you can safely send them back to school.

Don't push your child to go back to school if they are still feeling unwell. Conditions like the flu can keep them feeling too lethargic for school, even if they don't have a fever.

Read more about what signs to look for that indicate a child should stay home sick.

Learn more

Children's Health is committed to remaining a trusted source of health information and care for you and your family during this time. See more resources to keep your family healthy at the Children's Health COVID-19 hub.