Montreal mom says school sent her healthy son home to get tested for COVID after coughing in class


A cough sent a nine-year-old boy home from school and into isolation, even though he isn't sick and doesn't have any COVID symptoms - his mother says there has to be a better system. 

Bernadette, who did not wish to identify herself to protect her family, said École primaire Sainte-Catherine-de-Sienne in NDG called her in a panic telling her she had to pick up her son because he was coughing and had a scratchy throat during gym class. 

Bernadette, a nurse, said she didn't understand until her son told her he was only coughing with a dry throat because he had just run eight laps around the gym and didn't drink anything. 

Bernadette said her son was healthy with no fever or any coughing when he went to school and was still healthy when he got home, where he now has to stay until he gets his COVID test results in about five days. 

"The children cannot just be going through this testing unnecessarily for no symptoms. It's ok to cough  - it's part of our reflexes, it's part of our natural immune system response, we're allowed to cough. And especially after running around the gym eight times without being hydrated," said Bernadette, who reached out to

She now has to take time off work or find a babysitter.

"It's absolutely ridiculous. Who's going to pay me when I stay at home? Is the government going to pay me for those two days?" said Bernadette.

She said she has friends and neighbours who went through the same situation.

"They should get nurses at school to do the assessment for the children, to test the children. This is crazy, because parents cannot go through this," she said.

The school board, Centre de services scolaire de Montréal, told CJAD 800 they take no chances and are following public health guidelines: if someone at school shows at least two symptoms, they have to leave and get tested or self-isolate for ten days and be symptom-free before going back.


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