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Too Sick for School

Last updated May 16, 2024

Reasons your student may be too sick for school

There are various medical conditions which may require your child to stay home from school. Below are some signs your child should stay home from school:

  • Appearance, Behavior – unusually tired, pale, lack of appetite, difficult to wake, confused or irritable
  • Fever – temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Student needs to be fever free (without using fever-reducing medications) for 24 hours before returning to school
  • Eyes – white or yellow drainage, matted eyelids after sleep, vision change, eye pain and/or redness
  • Ear Pain with Fever – Untreated ear infections may cause permanent hearing loss so, consult with the student’s health care provider.
  • Persistent Nasal Drainage And/Or Chronic Cough – may need to be seen by a health care provider. These may be signs of a condition that may spread to others and require treatment.
  • Sore Throat – especially with fever or swollen glands in the neck. A student with a confirmed diagnosis of strep throat may return to school after 24 hours of appropriate treatment.
  • Diarrhea – 3 or more watery stools in a 24-hour period, especially if the student acts/looks ill or is not eating
  • Vomiting – vomiting 1 or more times within the past 24 hours. May return to school after 24 hours without vomiting and no other symptoms
  • Rash – body rash, especially with fever or itching. Exceptions are rashes due to heat, diapers, and allergic reactions which are not spread to others.
  • Scabies – Students with scabies may return to school 24 hours after beginning treatment.
  • Chickenpox – Students are infectious 1 – 2 days before the rash appears and until the blisters (sores) are dry and crusted. This is usually 5‐6 days after the rash appears. Students need to stay home until all lesions have crusted over and there are no new lesions in 24 hours. If your child has chicken pox, alert the school nurse.
  • Symptoms of respiratory viruses like COVID-19, Flu or RSV, or other respiratory viruses – Anyone who has symptoms of a respiratory virus like COVID-19, flu, RSV, or other respiratory viruses should stay home and isolate away from other people. Symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny nose, and headache that cannot be explained by another reason.
    If you can, isolate from others in your home who are not sick. You should isolate even if you are up to date on your vaccines.
    Wait to return to normal activities until the following are both true for at least 24 hours:
    1. Your symptoms are getting better overall, and
    2. You have not had a fever (and you are no longer using medications to reduce fever such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Aspirin.)

    When your symptoms are getting better, you should be able to do normal activities with good energy. For most people, cough and runny nose should be gone or infrequent.
    When you go back to normal activities, take precautions for the first 5 days in case you are still contagious, including:

    • Wear a high-quality mask with a tight fit under your nose and chin (N95 masks work well)
    • Clean indoor air (164 KB) with HEPA filters and take steps to improve air flow
    • Wash hands frequently
    • Clean surfaces and other items that people touch
    • Keep a physical distance from other people when you have symptoms
    • Test if possible before you will be around other people indoors.

    If your child is sick with respiratory illness, talk to your doctor right away about testing and treatment. They may be eligible for treatment, even if symptoms are mild. Call 911 and seek care immediately if there are emergency warning signs like trouble breathing or chest pain.

Keeping ill students at home & encouraging frequent hand washing protects all, including those with fragile immune systems & certain medical conditions. While we regret any inconvenience, it may result in fewer lost workdays & less illness for family members.

If you have questions, please contact your school nurse.