When to stay home from school or childcare during Covid-19

August 28, 2020 by WonderBaba Blog

Back to school is always a busy and exciting time yet sometimes a tad stressful! I think it’s fair to say that 2020 is certainly upping the ante! As a mum to a Junior infant I’m right in the midst of things, but luckily he has two wiser and older sisters, who value fully the benefits that the return to school brings, and so the normal first day jitters seem to be replaced by excitement and relief! They are happy to be leaving the family home once more after a long and tricky six months, and I am relieved that I’m no longer fully responsible for both their educational and emotional development!

A new element this year, is the highly important duty of our own personal responsibility, within our community’s battle to suppress Covid 19 in Ireland. It is important to be fully aware of the HSE Guidelines which explain when you should send your child to school and when you should not. We have to be vigilant and I have no doubt it will be difficult and seem more than inconvenient when you know your child always gets a cough or temperature at this time of year. Childhood illness is of course common in the winter, but never before have we sent our children to school during a pandemic and our complete cooperation in this battle to suppress the virus is our ultimate contribution to society.

That all might sound preachy – but let me assure you it’s not meant to – I will be the first to sob into my breakfast cereal on a morning that I am at home trying to arrange Pharmacist cover for work because one of my kids has spiked a temp! It’s not going to be easy, but it’s got to be done!

It might be useful to print out the below HSE Guidelines to stick to the fridge as a reference to recall which symptoms require staying home and phoning the GP, and which are ok so long as your child is feeling well.

When to keep your child at home and phone your GP

Do not send your child to school or childcare if any of the following is true.
Your child has:
• a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more
• any other common symptoms of coronavirus such as a new cough, loss or changed sense of taste or smell, or shortness of breath
• been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus
• been living with someone who is unwell and may have coronavirus

You will need to:

  1. Isolate your child. This means keeping them at home and completely avoiding contact with other people, as much as possible. Your child should only leave your home to have a test or to see your GP.
  2. Phone your GP. They will advise you if your child needs a coronavirus test.
  3. Everyone that your child lives with should also restrict their movements, at least until your child gets a diagnosis from their GP or a coronavirus test result. This means not going to school,
    childcare or work.
  4. Treat your child at home for their symptoms.

When it’s okay to send your child to school or childcare


It’s usually okay to send your child to school or childcare if they:
• only have nasal symptoms, such as a runny nose or a sneeze
• do not have a temperature of 38 degrees Celsius or more (as long as their temperature
has not been lowered by taking any form of paracetamol or ibuprofen)
• do not have a cough
• have not been in close contact with anyone who has coronavirus
• do not live with anyone who is unwell and may have coronavirus
• have been told by a GP that their illness is caused by something else, that is not coronavirus.
Your GP will tell you when they can return to school or childcare
• have got a negative (‘not detected’) coronavirus test result and have not had symptoms for 48 hours

Most of the time, you do not need to phone your GP if a runny nose or sneezing are your child’s only symptoms. Talk to your pharmacist instead 🙂

I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page  or my website contact page  or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.

Author: WonderBaba Blog

My name is Sheena Mitchell and I'm a pharmacist with my own business Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6. From working in the pharmacy I've realised that there are a lot of first time and experienced moms who might benefit from hints and tips from a pharmacist who can balance healthcare advice with real hands on experience from my important work as a mother of two! I hope to bring you regular advice and information and answer questions that you have! Being a mother and pharmacist are my two favorite things and I'm delighted to have this way of bringing my two worlds together! All questions and queries are gratefully received but otherwise sit back, relax, and let the solutions come to you!

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