As some students are preparing to head back to class starting Thursday in the Kingston area, the city’s top doctor says plans are in place should a student develop COVID-19 symptoms while in school.

In a message on YouTube, Dr. Kieran Moore, the chief medical officer of health for the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington public health unit, says students who develop symptoms during class will first be isolated and their parents contacted.

"You may also be told to immediately go to an assessment centre... and get possibly tested," Dr. Moore explains. "This is for the symptoms of COVID-19."

Fever, a new or worsening cough, sore throat, nausea and extreme fatigue are some of the common symptoms of COVID-19.

If a student tests negative for COVID-19, they can return to class 24 hours after their negative result.

Dr. Moore says if a student tests positive, a three-hour risk assessment will be done over the phone with a parent and a member of the public health unit.

"Identifying when the symptoms started, how they started, how they could have been exposed," he explains. "If we think there’s any risk in the classroom, we would notify anyone else in that class setting."

Dr. Moore says if there was a risk of exposure in the classroom, the student or staff member identified as at risk would be told to stay home for 14 days to watch for signs and symptoms.

An outbreak would be declared if two cases in a school within a 14 day period are found to be linked. Dr. Moore says further testing would be done on others in the class and school to determine if more cases can be identified.