Martha Sommers, RN, MS, NCSN
Nurse's Phone: (302) 479-2207
Sick Kids and School: When to keep them home
It is sometimes hard to decide whether to send your child to school when they do not feel 100%. Although attendance is an important part for your child’s success in school, there are times when it is a good idea to keep them home in order to get them healthy and prevent spreading germs to the other children in the school. Here are some guidelines for when to keep your children home.
FEVER – If your child has a fever over 100 degrees they should not return to school until they are fever free for 24 hours without any medication.
VOMITTING/DIARRHEA- Until we know that these are not signs of a contagious illness, such as a stomach virus, your child should be kept home. Consider how uncomfortable these two things are, even to an adult who has better control, and how distressed and embarrassed your child will be at school having to go to the restroom often, or feeling sick while sitting at his/her desk. If the vomiting or diarrhea happens more than once that day, or if they are associated with fever, you must keep your child home. Even if these things happen only one time before school starts, and your child feels better immediately afterwards, it is still wise to watch for a few hours to see if it happens again before sending them to school.
SKIN RASHES– If the rash has any fluid or pus coming from it, the child must remain out of school until the rash has been treated and a note from the doctor states it is ok to return to school, or until the rash is gone, dried,or scabbed over with no new spots appearing. Anytime a rash is associated with fever, the child may not come to school until that fever is gone for 24 hours without medication.
RED EYES, ESPECIALLY IF THERE IS ALSO DRAINAGE OR CRUSTING AROUND THE EYE -this can often mean your child has conjunctivitis, also known as pink-eye. Not all pink-eye is contagious. Sometimes it is just allergies or other irritations that are causing the red color, but until we know for sure, which means we must have a note from the doctor stating the condition is not contagious, or until the drainage is completely gone, your child must remain out of school.
If your child has other symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, sore throat, cough and/or thick mucus which might make them uncomfortable during school, please use your judgment. If they are going to be distracted and unable to learn, keep them home for a “sick day”. Kids who are truly sick will heal better and faster when they have proper rest at home, with lots of fluid for hydration and healthy nutrition. Thank you for your help to keep all of our children healthy.