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Illness-Should I Keep My Student Home?

Here are a few tips and reminders for parents/guardians about when they should keep students at home.  Out of consideration for others, as well as your own child, it is recommended that when any of the following conditions exist you keep your child home from school and contact your health care provider for treatment. 

Temperature – 100 degrees or above. A fever is a warning sign that all is not right with the body. Keep your child home until his/her fever has been gone WITHOUT medicine for 24 hours. 

Cold or Flu- Both are respiratory illnesses caused by different viruses. Both can cause fever, body aches, cough and fatigue. If your student is ill, please keep him/her home. Students can come back to school when they have not had a fever for 24 hours without the aid of medication and their symptoms are improving.

Strep Throat- The first symptoms are fever, sore throat, and swollen tonsils. This illness is spread by contact with the infected person. The child should be kept home until they have been on antibiotics for 24 hours. The antibiotic should be taken for as long as the health care provider has ordered. This helps prevent further complications. 

Vomiting and Diarrhea- This indicates an illness that can best be taken care of at home. Keep your child home for 24 hours after the LAST time he/she vomited or had diarrhea. 

Persistent cough- It is recommended that a healthcare provider evaluate any heavy or hacking cough or a cough that persists for more than 2 weeks. Also, it is recommended that a persistent runny nose with yellow or green discharge should be evaluated. 

Chickenpox and rashes- Chickenpox is passed from one person to another by direct contact with an ill person. The child is contagious 1 to 2 days before the rash starts, and until all chickenpox lesions have crusted over. The child should remain at home until the pox is dry and crusted over. Although children are vaccinated, there is still a small chance they could become ill with the virus, but the vaccine is over 90% effective. Also, if your child has any other contagious skin rash, they should stay home until it has been treated and it has been determined that the child is able to attend school.


Lice- Lice are a common problem among school children. The most common sign is persistent itching. Head lice are about the size of a sesame seed. Nits (the egg that the lice lay) are what are most commonly seen. They are located at the base of the hair shaft and are firmly attached. They cannot be easily brushed away like dandruff. Lice are spread through direct contact with someone who is infested by head-to-head contact. Sleepovers are commonplace for transmission. Treatment with a special lice shampoo should be started immediately and the directions on the shampoo should be followed carefully. Children may return to school after the first shampoo. 

Pink eye- It is helpful to think of pink eye like the common cold. Both conditions may be passed to other children, but resolve without treatment. Pink eye generally resolves with less symptoms than the common cold. The best method for preventing spread is good hand washing. Keep your child home if they are producing more than a small amount of discharge from their eyes.