"Kids Grow With Us" 
387 Columbus Ave. Ext. Pittsfield, MA 01201 413-443-9629
Board Certified General & Behavioral Developmental Pediatrician

JULIE BROWN, C-PNP  Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner


Alan G Kulberg, MD, Chairperson

Steve Smith, MA Brad Gordon, JD Katrina Medders, RN — Kimberly Loring, PMI-INP-BC

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about COVID-19 for Parents

When children do go back to school for in-person education, parents will understandably be concerned about safety for students, teachers, and staff and what protocols are in place to deal with sick children and children who are exposed to COVID-9 at home, in school, or on the school bus. Anticipating these concerns, we have developed this information sheet for parents in an FAQ format. We hope it answers most of your questions.

For those requiring more detailed information about protocols for various school scenarios, we have listed references developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the end of this document. And, of course, we are available for inquiries at the Pittsfield Department of Health at 499-9411.

QI: My child always gets sick when they go back to school. How will I know if they have COVID-19? Will they be tested?

A: The symptoms that can be seen with COVID-19 include:

  • • Fever equal to our greater than 100.4 (by any method of taking temperature), chills, or shaking chills
  • • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough, allergies, etc.)
  • • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • • New loss of taste or smell
  • • Sore throat
  • • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • • Muscle aches or body aches
  • • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • • Fatigue when in combination with other symptoms
  • • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

Clearly, many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are the same as common viruses that go around every year, so it may be difficult to tell them apart. For that reason the Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in the state, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested.

Also, if your child or anybody in your household has been exposed to a known or suspected case of COVID-19, that certainly increases the risk that your child's symptoms are COVID-19 and those exposed people should be tested.

Q2: How dangerous is COVID-19 to children?

A: Fortunately, the vast majority of children and adolescents develop only mild symptoms and recover fully. Very few children have tested positive in Pittsfield. However, COVID-19 can be serious in kids and they also can spread the illness to other people. Children with pre-existing medical conditions such as obesity, chronic lung disorders, certain heart conditions, poorly controlled diabetes, and deficient immune systems are at increased risk of serious illness.

Q3: If my child just has a runny nose in the morning, can I send her/him to school?

A: Yes, as long as that is the only symptom (see list in answer to QI above).

Q4: If my child has a temperature of 99.8 degrees when he or she wakes up, can I give a dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen and send them to school?

A: First of all, why did you take his temperature? Was it because your school district has advised temperatures be taken every morning before school or were you concerned about how your child looked? If the latter, did he or she feel warm or complain about not feeling well? Even if the temperature is below 100.4, it still may be an early sign of illness and an ill child should not go to school. Body temperature is commonly lowest early in the morning, so it may rise as the day goes on. In this situation, it is probably best to keep your child home. If you simply give fever reducing medication and send your child to school, the temperature will rise again when the medication wears off and then you will be expected to promptly pick your child up from school.

By the way, "the temperature is what the temperature is", regardless of what kind of thermometer you use. Fudge factors, like adding a degree for oral temps are not really valid so just keep it simple and use the number you get.

Q5: Will I be notified if another child in my child's class becomes ill in school, at home, or on the bus?

A: You will be notified if another child becomes ill and testing for COVID-9 is performed. You will also be notified if the test result is positive which may warrant testing of the entire class. You will not be notified of any child who becomes ill with any symptom. A local Public Health Nurse will work with the school nurse to determine appropriate control measures for impacted students, families, and school personnel.

Q6: I have read on social media sites that influenza (flu) shots are ineffective and that they can even give a person the flu. Should my child get a flu shot, and if so, why?

Coronavirus Disese 2019(COVID-19) CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Caring for someone at home
Most people who get sick with COVID-19 will have only mild illness and should recover at home. *Care at home can help stop the spread of COVID-19 and help protect people who are at risk for getting seriously ill from COVID019

COVID-19 spreads between people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. 
If you are caring for someone at home, monitor for emergency signs, prevent the spread of germs, treat symptoms, and carefully consider when to end home isolation. 
*Note: Older adults and people of any age with certain serious underlying medical conditions like lung disease, heart disease, or diabetes are at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness and should seek care as soon as symptoms start. 

Monitor the person for worsening symptoms. Know the emergent warning signs.
  • Have their healthcare provider's contact information on hand.
  • If they are getting sicker, call their healthcare provider. Fore medical emergencies, call 911 and notify the dispatch personnel that they have or are suspected to  have COVID-19

If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:*
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face
*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medial provider for any other symptoms that re severe or concerning.

Prevent the spread of germs when caring for someone who is sick

  • Have the person stay in on room, away from other people, including yourself, as much as possible.
  • If possible, have them use a separate bathroom
  • Avoid sharing personal household items, like dishes, towels, and bedding
  • If face masks are available, have them wear a face mask when they are around people, including you.
  • If the sick person can't wear a face mask, you should wear one while in the same room with them, if face masks are available.
  • If the sick person needs to be around others (within the home, in a vehicle, or doctor's office), they should wear a face mask.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after interacting with the sick person. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of you hands and rub them together until they feel dry. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Every day, clean all surfaces that are touched often, like counters, tabletops, and doorknobs
  • Use household cleaning sprays or wipes according to the label instructions.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly.
  • If laundry is soiled, wear disposable gloves and keep the soiled items away from your body while laundering. Wash your hands immediately after removing gloves.
  • Avoid having any unnecessary visitors.
  • For any additional questions about their care, contact their healthcare provider or state or local health department.

Provide symptom treatment

  • Make sure the sick person drinks a lot of fluids to stay hydrated and rests at home
  • Over-the-counter medicines may help with symptoms.
  • For most people, symptoms last a few days and get better after a week.

When to end home isolation (staying home)

  • People with COVID-19 who have stayed home (are home isolated) can stop home isolation under the following conditions:
  • If they will not have a test to determine if they are still contagious, they can leave home after theses three things have happened:
  • They have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • at least 7 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared

If they will be tested to determine if they are still contagious, they can leave home after these three things have happened:

  • The no longer have a fever (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers)
  • other symptoms have improved (for example, when their cough or shortness of breath have improved).
  • They received two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart. Their doctor will follow CDC guidelines

page last reviewed: March 18, 2020


There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

3. Stay home when yu are sick.

4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

5. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

6. Follow the CED's recommendations for using a face mask.

  • CDC does not recommend that people who are will wear a face mask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19
  • Face masks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always was hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Dear Parents:

You are your child’s first and most important teacher. We know how much you want your children to succeed in school, so they gain the tools that will help them succeed later in life. To do well in school, your children need to practice language, vocabulary, and early math development.

Reach Out and Read, in a pilot partnership with The Curious George store, has something special for you and your child---and it’s FREE. Now we not only give you books for practicing interactive reading at home, we also offer you a free website portal-  www.curiousconnections.club.

This free website offers you:

  • 2 videos that model for you parents and children ages 0-5, reading together interactively in 8 languages
  • A positive parenting video that models positive, encouraging coaching for children
  • Conversational ideas for you and your child to develop vocabulary and language skills while in the grocery store, kitchen, or car
    • 10 storybooks to read interactively together
    • 2 animation video stories, with live footage of wild animals
    • 12 activities and games to play with your child, to develop reading readiness and counting
    • Coloring pages
    • A children’s art gallery

www.curiousconnections.club also offers you and your child:

Please go to www.curiousconnnections.club --and let us know what you like about these activities.


Insect Bites and Bee Sting

How are insect bites and stings difference? - When an insect bites you, it uses its mouth parts. When an insect stings you, it uses a special "stinger" on the back of its body. biting insects can transfer blood from other people and animals they've bitten to you. That means they can infect you with the diseases their other victims have. Mosquitoes, for example, can carry a few infections. and certain types of ticks can infect you with venom that can irritate your skin. Plus, insect stings can be deadly to people who are severely allergic to the insect venom.

Some people have a severe allergic reaction to insect stings called anaphylasis. 

Call for an ambulance if you suddenly:

  • Have trouble breathing, become hoarse, or start wheezing
  • Start to swell, especially around the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, hands, or feet
  • Develop belly cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Feel dizzy or pass out

What is a normal reaction to an insect sting? 

 Insect stings can cause the area around the sting to swell, turn red, hurt, and feel hot

To treat the pain and swelling around the area of the sting, you can:

  • Wash the area with soap and cool water
  • Keep the area clean and dry and try not to scratch it
  • Put a cold, damp washcloth on the area
  • Take or apply anti-itch medicine
  • Take a nonprescription pain medicine for the pain

What should I know about tick bites?

Ticks are found in the grass and on shrubs, and can attach to people walking by. One type of tick can spread Lyme disease. But a tick has to stay attached for a while before it can give you the infection. If you are bitten by a tick, gently remove the tick from you skin, using tweezers. If you cannot remove a tick, see your doctor or nurse

What Can I Do To Reduce the Chances of Getting Bitten or Stung?

 You can:

  • Wear shoes, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants when you go outside. If you are worried about ticks, tuck your pants into your socks and wear light colors so you can spot any ticks that get on you. 
  • Wear bug spray
  • Stay inside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active
  • Drain areas of standing water near your home, such as wading pools and buckets. Mosquitoes breed in standing water.
  • Keep foods and drinks covered when you are outside.
  • If you see a stinging insect, stay calm and slowly back away
  • If you live in an area that has fire ants, avoid stepping on ant mounds
  • If you find an insect nest in or near your house, call a pest-control service to get rid of the nest safely


Please Note
When your child needs care or treatment, in most cases, their best option is to make an appointment with our office. If our office is unavailable, or if it is after hours, patients can visit an urgent care center for non-life threatening injuries instead of going to the emergency room. Referrals during our normal working hours will not be granted to an urgent care center unless we deem it is necessary. 

We are introducing the MIIS (Massachusetts Immunization Information System)

The MIIS is a new statewide system to keep track of immunization records for you and your family. These records list the vaccinations (shots) you and your children get to protect against measles, chickenpox, tetanus, and other diseases. The goal is to make sure that everyone in Massachusetts is up-to-date with their shots and that your records are available when you need them – such as when your child enters school, when you need emergency medical help, or when you change healthcare providers.

How will it help me?
The MIIS: • Helps you and your family get the best care wherever you go for your healthcare. • Makes sure that you and your children don’t miss any shots or get too many. • Can print a record for you or your children when you need it – if you move, if your doctor retires, or when your child starts school or camp. What is the MIIS? • A computerized system that collects and stores basic immunization information for people who live in Massachusetts. • A secure and confidential system, as required by Massachusetts law. • A system that is available for people of all ages, not just children. 

 Why is this important? 
As you know, the schedule of shots needed to keep healthy can be very complicated. The MIIS: • Helps your healthcare provider keep track of which shots are due and when they should be given. • Keeps all your immunization records together for you, your family, and your healthcare provider. • Provides proof of vaccination for your children. • Helps prevent outbreaks of disease like measles and the flu in your community. • Keeps shot records safe during natural disasters such as flooding or hurricanes.

 How can I get more information? 
Please visit our website at www.mass.gov/dph/miis, contact the Massachusetts Immunization Program directly at 617-983-6800 or 888-658-2850, or ask your healthcare provider for more information. What information is kept in the MIIS? • A list of shots that you or your children have received as well as any that you or your children get in the future. • Information needed for safe and accurate immunization of each patient, such as: » Full name and birth date. » Gender (male or female). » Mother’s maiden name (for children). » Address and phone number. » Provider office where each shot is given.

How does this information get into the system?
Information about children is added when a child is born or when a child gets his or her first shots. • Your healthcare provider can add your records or your family’s records if they are not already in the MIIS. Who has access to my records? • The Department of Public Health (DPH) uses modern technology to make sure that all information entered into the MIIS is kept secure and confidential. • The information in the MIIS is only available to: » Healthcare providers or others ensuring appropriate immunization, as authorized by DPH. » Schools. » Local boards of health. » DPH, including the WIC program, and other state agencies or programs that provide education and outreach about vaccines to their clients. » Studies specially approved by the Commissioner of Public Health which meet strict legal safeguards. 

What if I don’t want my information shared?
You have the right to limit who can see your information. • To limit who can see your information, you need to fill out the ‘Objection or Withdrawal of Objection to Data Sharing’ form which you can get from your healthcare provider. • If you decide to limit who can see your information, your current healthcare provider will be able to see the shots they have given to you or your children, but may not be able to see your complete immunization history. • If you decide to limit who can see your information, you will not have access to all of the benefits of the MIIS, like sharing your immunization records with schools and emergency rooms, and a complete record of shots in a single place. • You can change your mind (decide to share or not share your information) at any time.