When to Keep Your Child Home From School?

A child who is sick will not be able to perform well in school and is likely to spread the illness to other children and staff. Plese be sure to have a plan for child care in the event that your child needs to stay home from school. The following guidelines represent the more common childhood illnesses and the recommendations of the school nurse. You should not send your child to school if he/she has:

  • Fever: If your child's temperature is 100 degrees or greater he/she should remain home until he/she has been without a fever for a full 24 hours (without the use of fever reductin medication). Remember, fever is a sympton indication the presence of an illness.
  • Vomiting and/or Diarrhea: Stomach ache, cramping, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, possible fever, headache, and body aches. Your child should remain home until without vomiting, diarrhea or fever for a full 24 hours. If your child has had vomiting, diarrhea or fever during the night, he/she should not be sent to school the following day.
  • Sore Throat/Strep Throat: Strep Throat usually begins with fever, sore and red throat, pus spots on the back of the throat, and tender, swollen glands of the neck. Fever, nausea, and vomiting may also occur. Your child should remain home from school until receiveing a full 24 hours of anitbiotic therapy and until without fever or vomiting for 24 hours. Most physicans will advise rest at home for 1-2 days after strep infection.
  • Flu: Abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache and sore muscles. Runny nose, sore throat, and cough are common. Your child should remain at home until symptoms are gone and the child is without fever for 24 hours. Click here for further information The Flu: A Guide for Parents
  • Bad Cold: A very runny nose and/or bad cough (especially if it has kept the child awake at night), irritated throat, chills, and general body discomfort. Your child should remain home if symptoms are serious enough to interfere with your child's ability to learn.
  • Pink Eye (Conjuctivitis): A viral or bacterial infection of the eye causing redness and swelling of the membranes of the eye with burning and /or itching, watery or thick drainage, or crusting on the eyelids. Your child should remain home from school until receiving at least 24 hours of antibiotic therapy and discharge from the eye has stopped. In the case that your physician believes it to be a viral infection and no antibiotic therapy is prescribed, your child is still contagious and should remain at home until drainage has ceased.
  • Head Lice: Lice are small grayish-tan, wingless insects that lay eggs called nits. Nits are much easier to see and detect than lice. They are small white or gray, teardrop-shaped specks which are firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are usually found at the nape of the neck, behind the ears, and at the crown of the head. Your child should be treated with a lice-killing shampoo, and all nits removed. If your child is excluded from school due to head lice, he/she must be checked by the school nurse before returning to class.

If your child becomes sick at school and the school nurse feels he/she is too sick to benefit from school or may be contagious to others, you will be called to come and take your child home. It is essential that the school has a phone number where you can be reached during the day and an emergency number in the event you cannot be reached. If your number changes during the school year, please notify the school immediately.

Have a safe and healthy school year!

Tracy Whitney, RN

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