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May 26, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

COVID-19 & Back-to-School Questions Answered

Now that school has started up again, Vanderbilt helps you understand how best to protect your child.

Some kids are going back to school physically and some are not. Some will be doing online learning at home while others will be dropped off at school. None of it is comfortable for anyone, and you have a lot of questions. Thankfully, Vanderbilt can keep you informed with good, solid answers to the many questions on your mind:


When children go to school or daycare, how can parents protect them from COVID-19?
Along with continuing to take everyday measures such as wearing masks and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, daycares and schools are implementing physical distancing in classrooms with space between desks and using small “family-like” groups of four- five people and allowing students to eat meals only with their small groups.


When should children be suspected of having COVID-19?
Children should be suspected of having COVID-19 if they have fever and cough or shortness of breath — OR — cough or shortness of breath and exposure to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.


How sick are most children who get COVID-19?
Many infected children develop a mild disease. As of July 1, 2020, in Tennessee, only 39 of the 4,743 children with confirmed COVID-19 were reported to be hospitalized and accounted for only 1.4 percent of all reported COVID-19 hospitalizations.


What if someone at my child’s school or daycare tests postive for COVID-19?*
If your child spends more than 10 minutes in close proximity (within six feet of a person who tests positive), your school should tell the local health department about his exposure.  Your child should then stay at home with limited contact to others for 14 days.


*Children who are medically complex, who have neurologic, genetic, metabolic conditions, or who have congenital heart disease are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than other children.


Where can I get my child tested?
Your child can be tested at your pediatrician’s office or at one of the TN Department of Health’s free testing sites which are for all ages, regardless of symptoms. To find a center near you, visit

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