Keeping Sick Children Home from School

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Keeping Sick Children Home

Guidelines for Keeping Sick Children Home from School

Each day many parents are faced with a decision: should they keep their sick children at home or send them to school? Often the way a child looks and acts can make the decision an obvious one.

The following guidelines should be considered when making the decision:

  • Fever: The child should remain home with a fever greater than 100 degrees. The child can return to school after he/she has been fever free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin


  • Diarrhea/Vomiting: A child with diarrhea and/or vomiting should stay at home and return to school only after being symptom free for 24 hours.

  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): Following a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, the child may return to school 24 hours after the first dose of prescribed medication.


  • 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 health care provider has made a diagnosis and authorized the child's return to school.


  • Colds: A child with thick or constant nasal discharge should remain home. Very few younger children can effectively blow their noses and wash their hands afterward. A child with the above symptoms will quickly spread the illness to other children.

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 opportunity to rest and recover.

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