When to Keep Kids Home from School When They’re Sick


Young girl sick at school

Attending school is very important for a child’s intellectual development, creative stimulation, social skills, and daily routine. But if a child is sick, going to school may not be the best idea for the child, classmates, and teachers. This can be a difficult decision to make, especially if a child loves going to school.

While a school sickness policy may vary from one school to another, here are some good guidelines to keep in mind as to when it’s safe to send a child to school during and after an illness. This article will cover those guidelines to help parents and caregivers decide whether a child should stay home or not.

Should I Send My Child to School with a Cough?

The short answer to this question is no, if the cough is severe and phlegmy. This is because serious coughs are often contagious and could be a sign something more than just the flu. Common flu complications include bronchitis and whooping cough, both of which are contagious. However, it may be fine to send a child with a very minor cough and no other symptoms to school.

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Should I Send My Child to School with a Fever?

Similarly, it is unwise to send a child to school with a fever that is at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit. Fever is a sure sign that the body is fighting off a sickness, and it can also be contagious. This is a standard school fever policy, and one that should be adhered to in order to prevent the spread of germs to other students and teachers. Fever is one of the most common reasons why children stay home from school, but the good news is that fevers typically pass quickly, so the number of school days missed is minimal.

Questions to Ask Before Going to School Sick

One of the first good questions to ask before sending a sick child to school is whether the child has a fever. Over-the-counter fever relief medications, like PediaCare, can help kids recover from a fever faster so they can get back to their daily lessons.

Another question to ask is whether any of the child’s symptoms or conditions are contagious, and if the answer is yes, then school should be avoided for the day. Even if a child is not contagious, he or she may not feel strong enough to participate in school activities. Avoid pushing a sick child to go to school because this can wear down the immune system even further and lead to more serious complications.

Going Back to School After Being Sick

If a child has a fever, it is recommended to wait at least a day after the fever has gone back down to normal before sending the child back to school. For coughs, the severe coughing symptoms should subside as well before going back to school. Other symptoms that often warrant a sick day include vomiting, pink eye, diarrhea, and swollen glands that accompany a sore throat. Each child’s body reacts differently to sickness, so it’s important to monitor the symptoms and understand common sickness patterns to decide when to keep kids home from school and help them recover more quickly.

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