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Health FAQ

We would like to share information with you regarding in-person instruction and measures we will take to decrease the exposure of COVID-19 in school.  Social distancing measures and masking of staff and students are requirements by the Diocese of Raleigh and the Department of Health to minimize the opportunity for exposure to COVID-19 in the school setting. Students will be kept in small cohort groups during the day to limit exposure and help with quarantine requirements when a student or staff member tests positive for COVID. This grouping of children will help the Wake County Department of Health quickly identify quarantine/exclusion requirements of student/staff groups without closing down an entire school campus. 

Students will have frequent opportunities throughout the day to perform hand hygiene using soap and water whenever possible. Hand sanitizer is available at all school entrances, exits and in all classrooms. 

Every person must use hand sanitizer before entering the building. Please keep this in mind during morning drop off and help remind your children to have their hands free.  

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 parents should continuously monitor their children for symptoms of COVID-19 and keep them home when they are unwell.  Monitoring of illness is very important and will help us to work with the local health department in providing information to conduct contact tracing. If your child is ill please email or call Wendy Walsh,  919-657-4800 ext. 7246. 

The questions below have been answered according to the information and protocols available at the time it was written.  * Please note that for any positive or presumptive case of COVID-19, we will follow protocol by contacting the Wake County Health Department for guidance.  Should the Diocese of Raleigh or the Wake County Health Department make a decision that is more conservative we will follow their guidance. 

What are the symptoms of COVID-19

  • Fever (at least 100.4℉)
  • 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

This list does not include all possible symptoms. For the most up-to-date list of symptoms, visit the CDC website.   

What steps can I take to prevent my child from getting COVID-19?

  • You can talk with your child about taking everyday steps to prevent getting sick:
  • Teach them to wash their hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds.
  • Teach them to avoid close contact with people who are sick, even inside your own home.
  • Remind them to stay 6 feet apart from other people.
  • Have them cover their nose and mouth with a mask when around others.
  • Help your child monitor their health- look for symptoms and take their temperature daily.

For more information about protecting your child from COVID-19 visit

How long does it take for symptoms of COVID-19 to start?

It can take up to 14 days for people with COVID-19 to start showing symptoms.  Some people have very mild symptoms, some people become really sick, and some people with COVID-19 don’t have any symptoms at all.

Why does my child need to stay home?

Your child should stay home if they have symptoms of COVID-19, have been tested for COVID-19 (while waiting for results), or have been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Keeping ill students, and students who have been exposed to COVID-19, away from others, we can stop the spread of the virus.  It is possible for people who do not have symptoms to spread the virus to others.

What is the difference between Isolation and Quarantine?

Isolation means keeping sick people away from healthy ones.  This usually means that the sick person rests in their own bedroom or area of your home and keeps away from others as best as possible.

Quarantine means separating people who were exposed to a sick person away from others.  Because someone can spread COVID-19 before they have symptoms, quarantine stops them from accidentally spreading the virus to other healthy people.  Usually people who are in quarantine stay at home and avoid being around others.

How will contact tracing work in a school setting?

Your child's privacy and health are very important to us. If your student tests positive for COVID-19 the Wake County Health Department will contact you directly. They will ask you who your student has been around for more than 15 minutes from the date of the call minus two days (48 hours) before symptom development. These are the contacts outside of the school day, and these would be considered the contacts potentially exposed to COVID-19 and would be notified of exposure by the Wake County Health Department. 

In the school setting, cohorts or groupings of children help to minimize risk to a large number of children and quickly aid the health department with information needed to contact and identify those close contacts requiring quarantine and exclusion from school for 14 days. 

We will contact or be contacted by the Wake County Health Department for positive COVID-19 test/s and follow the guidance they give us. 

If my child tests positive, who in the school will find out? 

Your students name will not be released by the health department or by the school to the public. The health department will notify the COVID-19 point person in your school, the school nurse or school administrator of the student's name to quickly identify exposure lists. St. Mary Magdalene takes your student's privacy and health information very seriously. The COVID-19 point person will be working closely with the Wake County Health Department to help maintain privacy of staff/students and to help maintain the health and safety of the school. 

How long does my child need to stay home if they tested positive for OR a doctor says they likely have COVID-19?

If your child has symptoms they should stay home and away from others as much as possible until

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

What if my child tested positive for COVID-19, but doesn’t show symptoms?

They should stay home 10 days after the day they were tested and keep away from other people as much as possible.  This is because even if they don’t have symptoms, they can still spread the virus. Your child may return to school 10 days after their first positive COVID-19 test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

What if my child has covid like symptoms but isn’t tested for COVID-19?

They should stay home, in isolation, until they are feeling better and all the following have happened:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

The school nurse sent my child home for a sore throat but it is not COVID-19. Why do I need to keep him home for 10 days? 

We understand that the symptoms for COVID-19 are also the symptoms for many viral illnesses that children get throughout a school year. If you believe that their symptoms are because of another viral or bacterial condition we will require a doctor's note stating that their symptoms are non-COVID-19 related AND your student must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication with improving symptoms before returning to school. 

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

 

My child had a fever of 100.4 and was sent home. When can he return to school?

A student can return to school, following normal school policies, if they receive confirmation of an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider that would explain the COVID-19 like symptom(s), once there is no fever without the use of fever-reducing medicines and they have felt well for 24 hours.

What is the procedure if my child becomes sick while at school?

If a person has symptoms of COVID-19 they will immediately be isolated and a parent will be notified to facilitate students getting home and to medical care safely. Since visitors are not allowed in the building we will direct you to meet us at the courtyard gate for pick up. 

Guidelines above for positive or negative COVID-19 results or alternative diagnosis will be followed. 

We have an isolation room set up in the staff lounge.  This room will be used for students  or staff who become ill during the day with symptoms of COVID-19, see above list.  We have isolation tents and a cot with clear curtains around it to allow for separation should more than one student become ill at the same time. Students will be able to be visually monitored at all times until pickup up.  The ill person must wear a mask until picked up - following CDC guidelines- cloth face coverings should not be place on:

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious
  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
  • Anyone who cannot tolerate a cloth face covering due to development, medical or behavioral health needs.

What is a close contact?

Close contact with someone with COVID-19 makes you at higher risk for getting sick or spreading COVID-19.  Examples of close contact are being within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for more than 15 minutes, starting from 2 days before illness onset. 

What if my child came in “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19?

They should stay home for 14 days since the last time they were around that person to see if they develop symptoms.  If they do get symptoms, then:

  • Call their doctor.
  • Ask to get tested.
  • Follow their instructions for staying home while you wait for the test results.

If there are other children in our home, who do not have symptoms should they stay home, too, or continue coming to school?

No, your other children may continue to go to school.  If the child who was in close contact gets sick, then your other children should stay home.

What if we live with someone who has COVID-19?

People who live together usually have close contact with each other.  Everyone you live with should stay home until all of the following have happened:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

     PLUS 14 days have passed since the sick person was better to see if other people in your get symptoms.

What if my child that had “close contact” with someone with COVID-19 gets sick but isn’t tested for COVID-19?

Your child should stay home and away from others as much as possible until they get better and all the following have happened:    

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, plus
  • At least 1 day (24 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications; plus
  • Improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) or improvement of other symptoms of COVID-19.

14 days? 10 days? Why the discrepancy

14 days of quarantine is based on the length of time it can take for symptoms to show up in your body if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. 10 days is based on the amount of time from the onset of symptoms that viral particles can be shed in your cough or sneeze and cause others to become ill. It is also the usual length of symptoms for the average COVID-19 patient. If your student is still symptomatic on day 10 they will be required to stay home per Wake County Department of Health until their symptoms have improved.

Why does my child have to wear a mask to school?

There is growing evidence that wearing face coverings help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially for those who are sick but may not know it.  Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators (N95), or other medical personal protective equipment. 

*Please ensure that everyone in the car is wearing a mask when arriving for morning carpool. 

Does wearing a mask all day cause a buildup of carbon dioxide? 

No. The mask should not cause any issues with your breathing and/or oxygen levels. If you find it difficult to breathe, your mask may be too tight. It should fit snugly around your face, nose and chin.

What if my child has asthma, is it safe for them to wear a face mask? 

Currently, the CDC is recommending that all people over age 2 wear a cloth face covering when in public or when around people who don’t live in your household. While wearing a mask is safe for individuals with asthma and wearing a mask will not make asthma worse, some people feel like it’s more difficult to get a breath while wearing a mask.

There are different styles and fits for cloth face coverings or masks, so people with asthma and allergies should try different ones to see which ones make it easiest to breathe. Also, it is important to double check the materials (including straps) to make sure the mask or straps don’t contain any allergens. Straps, for example, may contain natural rubber latex, which could be an issue for someone with a latex allergy..For more information visit: https://allergyasthmanetwork.org/health-a-z/covid-19/covid-19-school-resources-for-managing-asthma-and-allergies/

What type of mask should my child wear to school?

Cloth face coverings are recommended by the CDC.  Make sure the mask is made of at least 2 layers of dense cotton fabric, adding a filter may improve effectiveness.

What should I do if I need to sneeze or cough when I’ve got my mask on? 

Even if wearing a mask, continue to sneeze and/or cough covering your mouth with your elbow, and change your mask as soon as you can.  Parents please make sure your child has 3 masks with them at all times.  If their mask becomes soiled it will be important for them to put on a new one.  Keep 2 paper bags or zip-lock bags in their backpacks,  one for clean face coverings and one for soiled face coverings.  Make sure all face coverings are labeled with your child's name.

My child has a sensitivity to hand sanitizer?

If your child has a sensitivity to hand sanitizer please share this information with their teacher. If your child needs to use a particular brand of hand sanitizer, they should have a small container of it to use prior to entering the building, as well as having it in their classroom. 

Where can I find support around mental or behavioral health?

Disaster Distress Helpline

1-800-985-5990 (press 2 for Spanish), or text TalkWithUs for English or Hablanos for Spanish to 66746. Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255) for English, 1-888-628-9454 for Spanish, or Lifeline Crisis Chat in

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline

1-800-4AChild (1-800-422-4453) or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline

1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or Online Chat 

The Eldercare Locator

1-800-677-1116  TTY Instructions

Veteran’s Crisis Line

1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Crisis Chat

or text: 8388255

Find a health care provider or treatment for substance use disorder and mental health

SAMHSA’s National Helpline

1-800-662-HELP (4357) and TTY 1-800-487-4889

Treatment Services Locator Website 

Interactive Map of Selected Federally Qualified Health Centers

Website Update