Many parents struggle with knowing when they should keep their children home from school. Sometimes the answer is straightforward and other times the lines are more blurred. It is tough for parents to make a decision, especially when their child has already missed so many days of school or your child wants to attend school when they clearly are not well enough to do so. Read on to learn the basic guidelines for when to keep your child home from school.
Your Child Has a Fever
Many schools require children to be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of medication before going to school. This means that you should not give your child any medications that will reduce a fever and then send them to school. They should be naturally fever free for at least a day before returning to school. Most facilities consider a fever to be 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater.
Your Child Has Vomited or Had Diarrhea
Your child should not go to school if they have had vomiting or diarrhea in the last 24 hours. They should be vomit and diarrhea free for 24 hours and tolerating a normal diet before returning to school.
Your Child Has Something That Could Be Contagious
When in doubt, it is best to be cautious. If your child appears to have anything that could be contagious, have them cleared by a pediatrician before returning to school. This includes pink eye, chickenpox, rashes, infections, various illnesses, and skin conditions.
Your Child Has a Cough
A cough can be caused by several different factors such as allergies or a change in weather. If the cough is mild and your child is not displaying other symptoms of illness then they are likely okay to go to school. Remind them to cover their mouth with their elbow when they cough. If the cough is severe, they should be seen by a doctor before returning to school.
Your Child Has a Sore Throat
If your child has a sore throat and is displaying other symptoms of illness, keep them home. If their sore throat is due to too much vocal strain or allergies and they don’t have other symptoms, they are likely okay to attend school.
Your Child Is Congested
If your child is congested and showing other signs of illness, keep them home from school. If the mucus is a dark yellow or green color it could indicate an infection and they should see a doctor. If the congestion is due to allergies, they will probably be okay to go to school. Give your child some tissues to take to school with them.
When In Doubt…
If you just aren’t sure whether to keep your child home from school, it is better to air on the side of caution. You can call the school nurse and they will be able to let you know what the school’s guidelines are and whether or not your child should attend school. If you are worried about your child having too many unexcused missed school days, reach out to your pediatrician about getting a doctor’s note for school. Contact the school and teachers and see if there is a way for your child to keep up with their school work while they are at home recovering.