COVID-19 and School Okaloosa County
Public Information Line
M-F 7 a.m. - 5 p.m.
- How do I decide if I can send my children to school each morning?
- What should I expect when I want to see a doctor or get or testing for my child who has COVID-like symptoms?
- Where can I get testing?
The DOH-Okaloosa and the Okaloosa County School District are asking all parents/guardians to screen their child(ren) each morning prior to sending them to school. To assist with this process, the health department and school district are sharing the Parent/Guardian Decision Tree to help guide parents/guardians through this process. If you have questions about using the form, you can contact the health department at 850-344-0566.
If your child is sick with COVID-like symptoms and you feel that they need to be seen by a doctor, please call ahead to your doctor and schedule an appointment. If you would normally have cared for your sick child at home and want to get tested, the health department holds COVID-19 Testing Clinics Monday – Friday. Testing for COVID-19 involves a swab being put into the nose (nasal swab) or the mouth (oral swab) and collecting fluids. There is no blood test to diagnosis COVID-19 at this time. Antibody tests can NOT be used to diagnosis COVID-19.
If you decide to have your sick child seen by a doctor and the doctor can give you a note stating another diagnosis (flu, strep, norovirus) for your child’s illness, then you child can return to school once the illness has resolved including no fever. Most schools have clear policy on return to school after illness.
If you sick child is seen by a medical provider and there isn’t an alternative diagnosis then a COVID-19 test is strongly recommended. Without a test, your child is required to isolate at home for 1)10 days from symptom onset, and 2) at least 24 hrs. fever-free without fever reducing medications; and 3) symptoms improving.
If you child gets either a PCR or Antigen COVID-19 test, the results will be interpreted as follows:
- PCR positive(+) OR Antigen positive(+): Your child has COVID-19 and this is reported to the health department. Your child must isolate at home for 1)10 days from illness onset, and 2) at least 24 hrs. fever-free without fever reducing medications; and 3) symptoms improving. Your family will be contacted by the health department.
- Antigen negative(-): Unfortunately this result does not rule out that your child has COVID-19. Your child will need a PCR test. If your child doesn’t get a PCR test then they must stay at home for 1)10 days from symptom onset, and 2) at least 24 hrs. fever-free without fever reducing medications; and 3) symptoms improving.
- PCR negative(-): your sick child does not have COVID-19 and can return to school as directed by your doctor and/or normal school policy for return to school. School policy is usually symptom and fever free for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medication and/or 24-48 hours symptom free for nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
PCR testing is available at the Health Department in Okaloosa County Monday – Friday. Monday and Friday the testing is done at our Fort Walton Beach location. Wednesday the testing is done at our Crestview location. Tuesdays and Thursdays testing is done at various community locations to include Crestview Community Center, NWFSC- Niceville, NWFSC-FWB; and Morgan Sports Center Complex -Destin. For health department locations, this is also a drive-thru but done by appointment so people don’t have to wait in as long. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 850-344-0566. Appointments can be scheduled same day. This telephone line is open Monday – Friday 7 AM to 5 PM.