WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME
Sometimes it can be difficult to decide whether to send children to school when they wake up with symptoms of any illness or complaints that they do not feel well. There are some situations in which it is best to plan on keeping your child home to rest and arrange for an appointment with your health care provider.
In order to protect your child and his classmates, your child should stay home in the following situations:
- Your child has an illness which prevents them from participating comfortably in school activities.
- The illness results in a greater care needs than the child care staff can provide without compromising the health and safety of the other children.
- Your child has any of the following conditions:
- Fever: Fevers are generally an indication that the body is attempting to fight off infection. Do NOT bring your child if she/he has a fever (Oral temperature of 100 degrees or greater, or aural temperature of 101 degrees or higher) with behavior change or other signs of illness such as sore throat, rash vomiting, diarrhea, earache or other signs and symptoms of illness until medical evaluation indicates inclusion. To return to school, children must be fever- free without using Tylenol or Motrin for 24 hours.
- Symptoms and signs of severe illness such as unusual lethargy, uncontrolled coughing, irritability, persistent crying, difficulty breathing, wheezing or other unusual signs until medical evaluation indicate inclusion.
- Vomiting or Diarrhea (liquid/watery stool): Do NOT bring your child to school if she/he has had diarrhea and/or vomiting in the previous 24 hours. Children will be sent home if these symptoms begin at school.
- Nasal Discharge: Do NOT bring your child to school if she/he has a clogged or runny nose with green or yellow mucus, especially if accompanied by facial pain or headache. The only exception is if she/he has seen a pediatrician and has been taking a prescribed antibiotic for a minimum of 24 hours.
- If the child has an ear Infection and/or constant/severe ear pain.
- If your child has eye drainage and/or eye pain
- Severe headache, especially if accompanied by fever.
- Sore throat along with fever and feeling ill, or after known exposure to a confirmed case of Strep throat infection. If your child is diagnosed with Strep Throat, notify the school office as soon as possible.
- Colds and Flu – Colds can cause persistent coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headaches, watery eyes, and sore throats. Children should stay home until symptoms have resolved and their activity level has returned to normal.
- Cough that makes child feel uncomfortable or disrupts the class.
- Conjunctivitis or eye infections -Commonly called “Pink Eye”, this condition is highly contagious. Symptoms include itchy, watery eyes, crusty discharge and redness of eyes. To return to school, a doctor’s note indicating that the condition is not contagious or that treatment has been started is required.
- Unexplained Skin Conditions/Rash with fever or behavior change, until a health provider determines that these symptoms do not indicate a communicable disease. Do not send your child to school if they have an unknown cause of rash.
- Lice: Children with lice should be excluded, but they don’t have to be sent home right away. It can wait until the end of the day, and they can return once treatment occurs. Nits may persist after treatment, but successful treatment should kill crawling lice.
- Other contagious illnesses: If your child has a contagious illness beyond what is listed above, please keep them home until they are symptom free.
No set of recommendations can cover all situations. Please consult with a pediatrician, the health department, or individual school district policies when in doubt.
Also, Please NOTIFY THE OFFICE IMMEDIATELY if your child is exposed to or contracts a communicable disease such as chicken pox, mumps or measles. These conditions can be life threatening to students who are undergoing therapies that suppress their immune systems.
Reminder: if your child needs to take medication at school, you are required to send a medication authorization form signed by you and your health provider with the medication.
Thank you for your support.
Tanya Simpson, RN
The information contained within this guide is based on the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the San Mateo County Office of Education, Kids Health, the California Childcare Health Program, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.