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Yukon government revises recommendations for keeping kids home from school

Revised tool can be used to determine if children should attend school, daycare and regular activities
A traffic signal is seen in downtown Whitehorse on Aug. 22, 2022. The updated COVID-19 stoplight system is being used in the Yukon to determine if children should go to school, daycare and regular activities. (Dana Hatherly/Yukon News)

The Yukon government has changed its guidance for determining if children should stay home from school, daycare and regular activities.

The news came during the Aug. 17 technical briefing for reporters on COVID-19 in schools. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Sudit Ranade and deputy minister of Education Nicole Morgan were present, but did not elaborate on the changes to the stoplight guidance system during the briefing.

“Parents and guardians know their children, and so really, the question is how are they, are they well enough to attend, but also keep in mind those symptoms, look at those symptoms, think about whether or not they’re appearing well or not, and then make a judgment call.”

There is a responsibility to remain home when sick, Ranade said. He added that the stoplight system has been revised as a tool for parents.

In an email statement on Aug. 22, COVID-19 communications manager Samantha Henney said the old guidance focused on self-isolation if a child took a COVID-19 test or not, and what the result was.

The updated guidance allows children to attend school, daycare and regular activities if they have one “yellow” symptom or no symptoms. In the old guidance, the symptoms had to have gone away before a child could return to school, daycare or regular activities.

Changes to the guidance affect children who have one or more “red” symptoms and two or more “yellow” symptoms.

“Red” symptoms include cough, fever, chills, loss of taste or smell and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

“Yellow” symptoms include headache, runny nose or congestion, sore throat, fatigue or just being unwell (such as muscle aches not related to physical exertion and significant loss of appetite).

Children who have one or more “red” symptoms and two or more “yellow” symptoms should not go to school, daycare and regular activities “until they feel better,” according to the guidance.

“If your child is throwing up or has diarrhea, keep them at home until 48 hours after their symptoms have gone away,” reads the guidance.

The guidance applies to children over the age of six months, regardless of vaccination status.

The guidance does not apply to children who are severely immunocompromised or have a complex medical history, and those who have tested positive for COVID-19.

“If your child has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 45 days, they do not need to self-isolate or be tested. Once your child feels better, they can return to school, daycare and regular activities,” reads the section on exceptions to the guidance.

“You do not need a written note from your health care provider for your child to return to school, daycare and regular activities.”

Contact Dana Hatherly at

Dana Hatherly

About the Author: Dana Hatherly

I’m the legislative reporter for the Yukon News.
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