Important COVID health reminders for families as the new year begins

Gilles Sweet Classroom

Parents are encouraged to be extra vigilant this winter in regard to COVID-19.

January 11, 2022


As the entire nation continues to grapple with the ever-changing realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fairview Park City School District wants to remind families of a few tips to help keep everyone safe.

With the traditional cold and flu season in full swing, it’s important that Fairview Park families be extra cautious when considering sending children to school.

“Outside of COVID, there’s obviously flu and strep and those types of illnesses going on right now,” Sonum Patel, district nurse at Gilles-Sweet Elementary, explained. “If your child has any of the COVID symptoms, it’s best just to talk with your doctor to see if they want them to get tested.

“And stay home if you can,” Patel added. “Many of these students are coming in with regular cold symptoms. They think it’s a regular virus. But a week in, we find out it’s COVID, and then it’s too late. That student already exposed the rest of the students in the class.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many symptoms of COVID-19 can be similar to typical flu and cold symptoms. They include fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting.

“There are kids here who don’t have strong immune systems, and they need to be at school,” Patel explained. “If your child is feeling sick, just keep them home. I’d rather the parents call me, or the nurses at the other buildings, to talk about their child’s symptoms first before sending their child in. That’s assuming that they are okay to be at school.”

Patel encourages families who get together for any type of large event to exercise caution.

“Especially if it’s an indoor gathering with more people than just their immediate family,” Patel said. “Just wear a mask. If you’re having symptoms, get tested before you go. If you have symptoms and can’t get tested, try not to go to those events.”

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the district encourages parents to report the case to a nurse at the school building. In addition, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Ohio Department of Health, and Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the district recommends students should exclude themselves from school for at least five days, regardless of their vaccination status.

“If symptoms are improving, isolation may end on the sixth day following either symptom onset or a positive COVID-19 test if the person consistently wears a mask for the next five days,” ODH explains on their website.

With regulations and guidance changing regularly, it can be confusing and difficult for families to understand the most current guidance.

“It’s honestly changing all the time,” Patel said. “We’re doing our best. The guidelines aren’t really as clear-cut as we’d like them to be, but we’re doing our best to understand the guidance they are giving us. At the end of the day, it’s about trying to keep all the kids at school as much as possible- healthy and illness-free.”

If you have questions about COVID-19 or any symptoms, please contact Sonum Patel at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School at 440-331-3525.

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