As schools prepare reopening strategies for the 20-21 school year, many are grappling with how to monitor and track student health, and how to keep families accountable for monitoring their child’s symptoms. School plans are rolling out across the nation that range from self-reporting to daily temperature checks. While the CDC’s latest guidance isn’t explicitly recommending universal symptom screenings at K-12 schools, the guidance changes regularly and we want to ensure families feel safe sending their child to school.

In addition to policies on wearing face coverings and physical distancing, what screening options are schools choosing and how can they be implemented?

Option 1: Check student temperatures daily

Many schools have decided they’ll conduct daily temperature checks for both students and staff as a way of identifying symptomatic individuals. In some scenarios, the school nurse or other admin staff will do the temperature check and record it for each student. In other scenarios, the teacher performs the temperature check as a part of daily attendance. Regardless of who performs the check, staff can track screening data in the medical event, medical screening, or attendance area of FACTS SIS.

While daily screenings for each student may be feasible for smaller schools, it could take all day to check temperatures in schools with higher enrollment numbers. In these cases, self-reporting or parent-reporting may be a better option.

Option 2: Require parents to sign off that their child is healthy

Create a web form for parents to fill out on a daily or weekly basis. This places the responsibility on families to report symptoms. While this option is practical and less resource-intensive, the data may not be as reliable. Reiterating the importance of taking precautions to care for the entire school community could help. Suggested confirmation questions for a self- or parent-reporting form include:

  • I certify that my child has been fever-free for the past 14 days.
  • No one in our household has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past month.
  • I certify that my child has not traveled outside of the state in the past 14 days.
  • Our family has not come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

Option 3: Have office staff record that students meet certain health criteria

Similar to the option above, you could create a web form for staff to complete each morning for students. Asking each student questions in the school drop-off lane, upon entering the building, or during attendance (depending on school safety procedures), and then recording responses may increase the reliability of data.

There’s no one-size-fits-all option for every school, but it’s important to collaborate with your state and local health officials to make the best decision for your school’s families. No matter the option you choose, FACTS SIS can accommodate tracking and reporting the data. If you’re already a FACTS SIS user, check out more details in HubHelp.