When to Keep Your Child Home from School

  • It’s hard sometimes to decide whether to send your children to school when they don't feel well. Illness is very seldom convenient! As busy parents, you have to consider work schedules, childcare arrangements, transportation and other family matters in that decision, and of course, you want what is best for your child’s health.

    It's also not easy to achieve a balance between reinforcing the importance of being at school and having the best attendance possible, and making a good parent decision that your child will not be able to be "in attention" at school today because of illness. That's especially hard when you have those great "high-achievers" who don't want to miss a day. But balance is what being a good parent is all about!

    We all realize that good attendance is extremely important to your child’s success at school! They must be here to learn. There are also important health reasons for keeping your child home from school, so here are some helpful guidelines to consider when you hear those words, “I feel sick; I don’t want to go to school today.”  The guidelines are standards of practice for the health services department; they were approved by our school board as policy.

    The guidelines were developed from Texas laws requiring exclusion of contagious diseases that could be spread at school, and must be enforced for the comfort and safety of all our students.

Children Who Have the Following Symptoms Cannot Attend School

  • Fever
    Always check your child’s temperature with a thermometer, and if a fever over 100 degrees is present, do not send the child to school, even for just a little while in the morning, so that they can have "perfect attendance." Responsible attendance is more important than perfect attendance in the long run, and parents who use common sense and make healthy decisions about keeping their children home are the ones who should get the attendance rewards!
    Do not give your child medicine for fever and send them on to school…that only reduces the fever for a short time, and doesn’t take care of the illness that is causing the fever. Coming to school sick (and possibly contagious) not only exposes other children to the illness, but also delays your child’s healing time. Once the medicine wears off and the fever returns, your child must be picked up anyway, and valuable healing time has been lost.
    Children must be fever-free for 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medicine, before returning to school. If a child is sent home with a fever during the school day, they may not, according to Department of State Health Services Regulations, attend school the next day. If a child is sent home from school and returns the next day, the parent will be called to pick up the child. The child may not remain at school.
    If a child is sent home from school and returns the next day, the parent will be called to pick up the child. The child may not remain at school.
    If the vomiting or diarrhea happens more than once that day, or if they are associated with fever, you must keep your child home. If these things happen only one time before school starts, and your child feels better immediately afterwards, your child may attend school. If the child begins to feel ill or the symptoms recur, the child will need to see the school nurse and will be sent home. Please discuss the exclusion period with your school nurse when your child is sent home.”  

    Skin Rashes
    Anytime a rash is associated with fever, the child may not come to school until that fever is gone for 24 hours without medication. Sometimes a rash is a sign of a contagious disease such as chickenpox. Sometimes, rashes are not contagious, but are uncomfortable and itchy from contact with something the child is allergic to. In that case, please consider comfort measures such as an antihistamine, following the district policy for medication administration at school and discussing possible treatment with your doctor and/or the school nurse. 
    Red Eyes (Especially with Drainage or Crusting) 
    If both eyes are red and the drainage is clear with no crusting, the diagnosis is most likely allergies. The student should remain at school. If the eye/eyes are red and the drainage is yellow or there is crusting, the diagnosis is most likely pink eye. In this case, the student will need to see a physician's release or be symptom-free to return to school. This can often mean your child has conjunctivitis, also known as pink-eye.

    Pediculosis (Head Lice) or Scabies
    Pediculosis and scabies are caused by small insects that are uncomfortable and itchy, and could become infected with all the scratching. Check with the school nurse to get information on treatment and when your child may return to school if those conditions are present. We do not advocate expensive treatments or toxic chemicals!

    If your child has other symptoms such as headaches, cramps, sore throat, cough and/or thick mucous that don’t require them to be out of school but that will make them uncomfortable during class, please discuss the use of over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medications with your doctor. Remember you must follow the district requirements for giving medicine at school. Call the school nurse if you are not sure about those requirements.

    Kids who are truly sick will heal better and faster when they have proper rest at home, with healthy nutrition and plenty of fluid for hydration. Your school nurse is available for assistance during school hours if you have questions, or you may call the director of health services at 369-0685. We will always do our best to help you make a good decision based on our experience and knowledge as registered nurses, after considering the potential for spreading infections at school and what is in all the children’s best interests. We have common goals with you: the health, safety, and success of your child!

    Please remember to upload all absence/doctor's notes using the district absent note form. You must send a written note including your child's first and last name, student ID number and a short explanation of your child's illness. As a courtesy, you are asked to call the school and inform them if your child is ill. A phone call, however, does not fulfill the requirement for written verification of the absence.