My daughter has been going to school this fall. We know that there are risks in sending kids back to school and we all know that kids catch colds from each other. In an ordinary year, a child with a cold would be business as usual, but during a pandemic it’s different.
Two weeks ago, my daughter woke up for school and told me she had a scratchy throat. I knew that hearing those words meant I would be working from home, and I would be keeping my daughter at home for the day.
I re-read the COVID-19 policies for the school and child-care centres. The child-care policy said a child with symptoms would have to stay home for 14 days unless they had a negative test result.
I called the hotline for COVID testing and selected the option of a callback. I hung up the phone and it rang 30 seconds later with our callback.
We arranged for the test the following morning. I’ve read stories of incredible wait times, but our experience was stellar.
It was quick and easy. We lined up in the car. When it was her turn, she unrolled her window and swished and gargled some saline water and we were on our way. I was surprised I couldn’t take a photo of her swishing — it was a historic moment that she could have shared with future generations. But instead, she received a cartoon COVID-19 sticker.
Later that afternoon, I remembered to enter my phone number in the texting service for results. The result was already available, and it was negative.
I know not everyone has had such a seamless experience with COVID testing, but I wanted to share what a great experience we had — it was simple and straightforward.
Pre-COVID, I would have sent my daughter to school, but things are different now. Even with a negative result, it is important to stay home until you, or your child, are symptom-free.
Even if we knew it was just a cold, if anyone else caught it, they would have to stay home and get tested. It’s about being considerate for others, their time and their health.
I am privileged inthat I can easily work from home and I have sick days that I can access when I need to. I know that not everyone has these options.
I kept my daughter home for several days because I did not want to be the reason another parent would have to take a week off work to stay home with their child with a cold.
For our teachers, it becomes a workplace health and safety issue.
Even if you don’t have a child, it’s important that we limit the spread of germs when we have symptoms. We need to be mindful of this in our workplaces, with our families, and anywhere else we may be.
In these times, a cold isn’t just a cold anymore, and each cold needs to be treated with caution.
Charla Huber is the director of communications and Indigenous relations for M’akola Housing Society