Child is too Sick for School

When to keep your sick child home from school

To help protect children from spreading communicable diseases and protect other students and staff from potential illness, keep children home when they are too sick for school.

Symptoms that child is too sick for school

If your child has any of the following symptoms, please keep him/her home, or make appropriate child care arrangements. It will be necessary to pick your student up from school as soon as possible if he/she shows any of the following symptoms at school:

  • Fever: temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Child must not have a fever for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Vomiting: child should not return to school for 24 hours following the last episode of vomiting.
  • Lice, scabies: Children may not return to school until they have been treated. Children with scabies can be admitted after treatment.
  • Diarrhea: more than one watery stool in a 24-hour period, especially if the child acts or looks ill.
  • Chronic cough and/or runny nose: continual coughing and excessive nasal discharge. Conditions may be contagious and may require treatment from your health care provider.
  • Sore throat: especially with fever or swollen glands in the neck.
  • Rash: body rash, especially with fever or itching.
  • Ear infection: with fever. Without fever can attend school, but the child may need medical treatment and follow-up. Untreated ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss.
  • Eye infection: Eye infection: pink eye (conjunctivitis) or thick mucus or pus draining from eye.
  • Unusual appearance, behavior: abnormally tired, pale, lack of appetite, difficult to wake, confused or irritable. This is sufficient reason to exclude a child from school.

If your child is feeling unwell, it’s important to consider whether they are too sick to attend school. According to Verywell Family, some symptoms that automatically rule out school include fever, diarrhea, and vomiting 1. If your child has a serious cough, particularly if it’s accompanied by breathing troubles, it’s best to call your doctor and keep them home 1. Skin rashes could be a sign of a contagious infection, such as impetigo, so it’s important to have a rash evaluated by a doctor before sending your child to school 1. If your child is experiencing symptoms that will make it difficult for them to participate effectively in school or distract other students, you should keep them home 2. Symptoms that could cause this include fever, pain, cough, sneezing, pinkeye, and fatigue 2. If your child has a fever greater than 100.4, a cough, trouble breathing, chills, muscle pains, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, or significant tiredness or fatigue, they should stay home from school 3. If you’re still unsure whether your child is too sick for school, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or pediatrician 13. Let me know if you have any other questions!