Tips from the School Nurse

Tips for Parents from the School Health Office


Many parents ask, “When is my child sick enough to stay home from school?”  This is not always an easy question to answer.  We hope that these tips can help!


A child who is sick will not be able to perform well in school and is likely to spread the illness to other students and staff.  We suggest making a plan for childcare ahead of time so you will not be caught without a comforting place for your child to stay if he/she is ill.


It is suggested that you should not send your child to school if he/she has:


Fever – A fever is a warning that all is not well with the body.  The best way to check a fever is with a thermometer, which every home should have.  No child with a fever of 100 degrees should be sent to school.  Students also need to be fever free (without the use of fever-reducing medication) for at least 24 hours before returning to school.


Sore Throat – If your child experiences a sore throat and has no other symptoms, they may attend school.  If your child has a sore throat with a fever or a sore throat that is not going away he/she should be checked by their medical provider to determine if they may have strep throat.  If a diagnosis of strep is made, your child needs to be home on an antibiotic for 24 hours and fever free before returning to school.


Heavy Cold/Hacking Cough – A child with a “heavy” cold with or without a hacking cough, especially if it wakes them during the night, belongs home in bed, even if he/she has no fever.


Vomiting/Diarrhea – If vomiting occurs, keep your child home until he/she can keep food down for 24 hours.  A child with diarrhea also needs to be home until symptoms cease and he /she has a formed stool.


Headache – A child with a complaint of a headache and has no fever may attend school. Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen given by the parent may be helpful.


Earache – Consult your doctor without delay.


Stomachache – Consult your doctor if your child has stomach pain that becomes persistent or severe enough to limit activity with or without a fever.


Toothache – Consult your dentist.


If your child becomes ill at school and the nurse feels your child is too ill to continue their day or is contagious to other students, you will be called to take him/her home.  It is essential that your phone number be up-to-date at all times and an emergency number be available in the event that you cannot be reached. Please be sure that arrangements can be made to transport your child home from school.  If your daytime or emergency phone numbers change during the school year, please notify the school office immediately.

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