Should Your Child Stay Home?

Updated on Thu, 02/27/2020 - 1:31pm

When is too sick for school? (Spanish) Parents often have trouble knowing whether their child is too ill to go to school. The following guidelines will help you decide.


School is a child’s work. It is important for normal development. If your child is absent often, it may be harder to keep up with the class and this will affect their educational growth and progress. It is important that your child does not miss more than a few days of school per year due to illness.

Child is Too Ill

Your child is too ill to go to school if he/she has any of these signs or symptoms:

  • Seems very tired and needs bed rest (this can be common with flu).
  • Has vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Becomes short of breath or has an increase in wheezing during normal activity.
  • Has a cough that disrupts his/her normal activity.
  • Has severe pain from earache, headache, sore throat, or recent injury.
  • Has yellow or green drainage from eye(s).
  • Has rash that is weeping or oozing.
  • Has a fever of 100.0°F or above, and any of the above noted symptoms.

Contagious Disease

  • Your child should stay home from school if he/she has a contagious disease to keep from spreading it to others. A contagious disease is one that can be spread by close contact with a person or object. Examples are: chickenpox, the flu, pertussis, strep throat, scabies, or impetigo. A disease is most often contagious 24 hours before the child shows signs of illness. It is very hard to prevent the spread of some germs, especially in a school classroom. Good hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs.
  • If your child has a contagious disease, ask your doctor when he/she may return to school. Generally, a child who has been fever free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicines such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen) may return to school.
  • If an antibiotic medication is prescribed for your child, be sure he/she has taken the medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Should your child require medication at school, please be aware of the following District Policy (5420):
    • Physician authorization (order) and parent/guardian signature to administer medication at school is required for all prescription and over-the-counter medications.
    • Parent/guardian must bring the medication(s) to school.
    • Medication must be properly labeled with child’s name (in original package or prescription bottle).
    • Forms are available in the school health office or Here

If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or district Registered Nurse.

How can we limit the spread of the flu?

If your child has the flu, you must keep your child home. Staying home when sick prevents the spread of the flu and helps the sick person get well.

Answer these questions every morning:

  1. Does your child have a fever (100º F or 37. 8ºC)? If you don’t have a thermometer, feel your child’s skin with your hand. If it is much warmer than usual your child probably has a fever.
  2. Does your child have a sore throatcoughrunny nosebody achesvomiting, or diarrhea?

If you answered “yes” to either one or both questions above, your child might have the flu. Keep your child home from school until the symptoms are gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-lowering medications such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen. 

Call your health care provider if your child is ill enough that you would normally see a health care provider. Use the same judgment you would use during a normal flu season. Your child should remain at home until he or she has been without a fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication.