When To Keep Your Child Home From School

When Sickness Strikes:  Know When to Keep a Child Home From School

A parent’s decision to keep a child home from school when he or she is sick can sometimes be a difficult one. No parent wants to interrupt their child’s learning, and for some, keeping a child home means missing work or losing pay. However, if he or she has a serious illness, it’s important for the child to stay home from school. By taking this step, parents can help their children get better faster as well as prevent the spread of illness to others.

“When should I keep my child home from school?”  

1. Fever – A child should remain at home with a fever greater than 100°F. A child may return to school after they have been fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medications like acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen. 

2. Vomiting and/or Diarrhea - Vomiting and/or diarrhea are often the result of infection, food poisoning, or a side effect to medications like antibiotics. A child with diarrhea and/or vomiting should stay at home and return to school only after being symptom-free for 24 hours. Make sure your child stays well-hydrated. 

3. Sore Throat – A sore throat can be a symptom of strep throat or a common cold. It is especially important to keep your child home if the sore throat is accompanied by a fever. If your child has been diagnosed with strep throat, keep your child at home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics.  If your child has a mild cold, it’s okay to send them to school.

4. Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) – Pink eye is contagious, and children may return to school 24 hours after the first dose of prescribed medication.  Symptoms of pink eye include eye redness, irritation, swelling and pus.

5. Coughs and Colds – Consider keeping your child at home if he/she is experiencing discomfort from cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion and cough. A continuous yellow-green discharge from the nose or a severe cough may be a sign of infection and would indicate a need to be home from school.  Consider having the child seen by your healthcare provider.

6. Rashes – Common infectious diseases with rashes are most contagious in the early stages. A child with a suspicious rash should return to school only after a healthcare provider has made a diagnosis and authorized the child's return to school.

A sick child cannot learn effectively and is unable to participate in classes in a meaningful way. Keeping a sick child home prevents the spread of illness in the school community and allows the child the opportunity to rest and recover.

Please keep the office at your child’s school informed of your current contact numbers. It is very important to be able to reach a parent/guardian when there is a health issue or concern. There should be a 30 minute plan in place when pick up from school is required due to a health issue or concern.