School Logo

Common cold and Covid-19 symptoms - a guide for parents

Common cold and COVID-19 symptoms?

We know that parents and schools are finding it difficult to work out which symptoms warrant testing for COVID-19. We acknowledge that this is not straightforward, and it is a really challenging time for parents and schools. It is common for colds and similar viral infections to circulate across communities at this time of year. In many cases, children will be well enough to attend school and continue their learning with little or no interruption to their education. It is important to ensure that children are not unnecessarily kept away from school and exposed to inappropriate testing for COVID-19

Common cold symptoms

Children with simple cold symptoms such as a runny nose or sore throat or a mild cough without a fever who would normally have attended school in other times should go to school and do not be tested for COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms

If your child (or anyone in the household) has any of the main coronavirus symptoms listed below they need to self-isolate and get a test.

Only children with any of these symptoms need a COVID-19 test.

• new continuous cough

Your child needs tested if they have a cough that has lasted for more than an hour, if they have had three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours, or if they are coughing more than usual. The cough is usually dry.

• fever/high temperature

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back. If a thermometer is available take the temperature – a high temperature is 37.8C or higher. Your child may feel warm, cold or shivery.

• loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste

This means your child has noticed they cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.