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When is My Child Too Sick to Come to School?

A problem parents commonly face is when to keep a child home from school if he/she complains of not feeling well.  Use the following guidelines until your health care provider can be contacted.

Children should be kept at home if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or greater within the past 24 hours
  • Vomiting within the past 24 hours
  • Diarrhea within the past 24 hours
  • Undiagnosed skin rashes /skin infections
  • A communicable disease
  • Head lice
  • Persistent sore throat along with loss of voice, difficulty swallowing and/or rash
  • Severe headache, toothache or ear pain
  • Stiff neck or headache with fever
  • Abdominal pain with low grade fever
  • Eyes that are painful, red and matted

A child may return to school after a contagious disease or infection when:

  • Chicken pox - When all blisters have formed scabs  
  • Conjunctivitis - When eyes are clear and have been treated with antibiotics for 24 hours
  • Scabies - 24 hours after start of treatment
  • Strep throat or scarlet fever - 24 hours after start of treatment
  • Impetigo - When skin is clear or child has been under treatment for 24 hours
  • Head lice - When head is treated and free of lice and nits

Sometimes children may decide they feel sick on the morning of a big test or following a fight with a friend.  True, at first you should always take your child's complaints seriously.  But, if you notice a continuing pattern, it is always helpful to speak with your child's teachers, counselor and of course the school nurse.  Often these people have valuable insights into your child's experience at HMS.