Guidelines for Keeping Children Home from School

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Guidelines for Keeping Children Home from School 

Deciding when to keep your child home from school can be difficult. When a child is sick and needs to stay at home, parents should contact the school attendance line and describe the illness and symptoms. It is important for the health of all students, staff, and families that your child is not at school when sick. The timing of the absence is often important in order to decrease the spread of disease to others, and to prevent your child from acquiring any other illness while his/her resistance is lowered. The following guidelines represent the more common childhood illnesses. If you are ever in doubt or are not sure whether your child should come to school, feel free to contact the Registered Nurse to discuss it.

Chicken Pox
Chicken pox is a skin rash consisting of small blisters which leaves scabs. A slight fever may or may not be present. There may be blisters and scabs all present at the same time. Your child should remain home until all blisters have scabbed over, usually 5-7 days after the appearance of the first crop of blisters. 

Common Cold
Irritated throat, watery discharge from the nose and eyes, sneezing, chilliness and general body discomfort. Your child should remain home if symptoms are serious enough to interfere with your child’s ability to learn. Medical care should be obtained if symptoms persist beyond 7-10 days, fever develops, or nasal discharge becomes yellow or green. 

If your child’s temperature is 100° or greater (or 1 or 2 degrees above the child’s normal temperature) he/she should remain home until he/she has been without fever for a full 24 hours. Remember fever is a symptom indicating the presence of an illness. 

Abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache and sore muscles. Runny nose, sore throat, and cough are common. Your child should remain home from school until symptoms are gone and the child is without fever for 24 hours. 

Head Lice
Lice are small grayish-tan, wingless insects that lay eggs called nits. Nits are firmly attached to the hair shafts, close to the scalp. Nits are much easier to see and detect than lice. They are small white specks which are usually found at the nape of the neck and behind the ears. Following lice infestations, your child may return to school after receiving treatment with a pediculicide shampoo, nits have been removed, and your clinic nurse has been contacted. 

Blister-like lesions which later develop into crusted pus-like sores. Your child should remain home from school until receiving 48 hours of antibiotic therapy and sores are no longer draining.

If your child complains or if behavior indicates that he/she is experiencing persistent pain, he/she should be evaluated by a physician before he/she is sent to school. 

Redness and swelling of the membranes of the eye with burning or itching, matter coming from either eye, or crusts on the eyelids. Your child should remain home from school until receiving 24 hours of antibiotic therapy and discharge from the eyes has stopped. Spread of infection can be minimized by keeping the hands away from the face, using good hand washing practices, using individual washcloths and towels, and NOT touching any part of the eyes with the tip of the medication applicator while administrating the antibiotic ointment.

Skin Rashes
Skin rashes of unknown origin should be evaluated by a physician before your child is sent to school. 

Strep Throat
Strep throat may begin with fever, sore and red throat, pus spots on the back of the throat, tender swollen glands of the neck. High fever, nausea and vomiting may also occur. Your child should remain home from school until receiving a full 24 hours of antibiotic therapy and until without fever or vomiting for 24 hours. Most physicians will advise rest at home 1-2 days after a strep infection. 

Antibiotics ordered for strep infections are to be taken for 10 days or until all medication is gone. Only when these directions are followed correctly is the strep germ completely eliminated from the body, no matter how well the child feels after the first few days of receiving medication.

Vomiting and Diarrhea (Intestinal Viral Infections) 
Symptoms can include stomachache, cramping, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea, possible fever, headache, and body aches. Your child should remain at home until there is no vomiting, diarrhea or fever for a full 24 hours. If your child has had any of these symptoms during the night, he/she should not be sent to school the following day.