PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A trip to the school nurse ends differently these days. Some schools are sending children home for sneezes and the sniffles.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller talked to parents and one local pediatrician about how an increase in testing is impacting turnaround times.

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“Schools are sending kids home with sometimes very mild symptoms. Could be runny nose, could be cough,” said Dr. Todd Wolynn at Kids Plus Pediatrics.

Dr. Wolynn says his practice is testing more than 100 kids a day for COVID.

“Clearly, they’re sending them home for fever. But don’t forget allergies can cause runny nose and cough and they can’t oftentimes get back into school without a negative COVID PCR test,” said Dr. Wolynn.

Because of the increase in testing, doctors said they’re dealing with lengthy turnaround times. Dr. Wolynn tells KDKA he added staff to test kids and call families with positive results seven days a week. The negative results are uploaded onto a Kids Plus Pediatrics portal.

“It’s a stress to everybody. I can tell you in the last week or two we have seen that really long period of up to 4, 5, 6 day turnaround time going back down to the normal 1, 2 sometimes 3 day turnaround,” he said.

Dr. Wolynn showed our cameras the “well room,” the space he hopes will soon hold his vaccine clinics for kids 5 to 11. Right now, it’s an empty room ready to go.

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“Ready for 5 to 11, but we’ve already been vaccinating for COVID kids and parents from 12 to 64. The seats are all spaced out. Families can sit in groups or if it’s just a mom and a kid they can sit in a couplet.”

The lack of vaccine availability for kids, along with the risk of getting unexplained symptoms this fall, are stressors for parents.

Parent Brenna Lucinski is thankful she’s only bringing her 2-year-old daughter into the doctor’s office for a yearly exam.

“Fortunately, she has not come down with anything that has required her to be brought in for testing and we’re fortunate she’s with family and not in a daycare setting,” she said.

Parent Lisa McGee tells KDKA she rattles off this list to her teenage daughter every day:

“Just eat right, drink water, wash your hands, wash your hands all the time. She gets tired of hearing that.”

McGee says the worry lies in the unknown.

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“Just not knowing exactly what to be worried about or if not being vaccinated, if she would get it or not,” she said.

Meghan Schiller