What happens if a child attending school is diagnosed with COVID-19

What happens if a child attending school is diagnosed with COVID-19

Under the law, all cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 must be notified to Public Health. It is very important to note that management of confirmed cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools will be Public Health led, and action taken will be based on Public Health risk assessment undertaken by the regional Department of Public Health.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach for the management of cases and outbreaks of COVID-19 in schools. This is because every situation and every school is different.

Public Health doctors consider many factors when they risk assess an outbreak of COVID-19 in a school, including:

  • where the cases have been in the school
  • what class they are in
  • what contact have they had with other children or staff
  • what is the size and configuration of the school
  • what is the level of interaction between students, and between students and staff
  • what COVID-19 prevention or infection prevention control measures are in place in the school and how well are they monitored and adhered to
  • where have confirmed cases been outside of the school environment. For example, have they been in a social or household situation where they may have picked up COVID-19

All of these factors, and more, allow Public Health doctors to assess the level of risk to students and staff within the school. Outbreak management is a complex process undertaken by highly trained Public Health doctors and affiliated staff. Many factors are considered in deciding the right course of action in each individual situation.