Something that Bothers the Daylights out of me! When is a Child too Sick to go to School?

Something that Bothers the Daylights out of me! When is a Child too Sick to go to School?

by Alicia on January 11, 2012 in Health, New posts, Parenting Articles, School

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sick child

Photo source: Stuart Miles

My daughter had a holiday party at school before Christmas break and I couldn’t believe what I saw in her classroom.  Sick kids. Several of them.  Coughing, red-faced, snotty nosed 5 and 6 year olds.  I was beside myself.   Why had these kids parents sent their kids to school sick.  One girl was coughing so much she had to go to the nurse while I was there and several more kids had garbage cans right next to them to throw their snotty tissues in because they were blowing their noses so much.  My daughter had just gotten over a cold and I kept her home for 3 out of 5 days the week prior because I (a) wanted her to recover and (b) didn’t want her to get anyone else sick.  Why don’t all parents have the same consideration?  I guess there can be extenuating circumstances such as not having anyone to care for the child while the parent is at work but still, kids need to stay healthy and not pass these nasty bugs/viruses around so please keep your child home if they are not feeling well.

I understand that when a child is sick, it is sometimes tempting to send them to school anyway.  With many parents working either outside the home or from home,  household chores and other tasks are often accomplished while children are at school.   There are times, however, that a child is considered too sick to attend school, I believe.  There are a number of reasons, both for the child and the other students, why a sick child should stay home.

Here are four reasons why a child not feeling well should stay home from school:

  • Cough - Excessive coughing would not necessarily include the symptoms caused by asthma. Although asthma with excessive symptoms should be checked by a doctor.
  • Fever - A child with low grade fever should be kept home from school as well. Fevers are transmittable whether they are low or high.
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

A few more things to consider before sending a sick child to school:

The child may be contagious.
By sending a child to school if he or she has a cough, fever, or has had diarrhea or has vomited in the last 24 hours, the risk of other children catching the same illness whether it’s a cold, flu, or other illness, is substantially higher than keeping the child home.

It is well known that to get better, lots of rest is needed.
If a child is at school and maintaining a regular schedule of activities, his/her body is not getting the extra rest required to heal. When a person, especially a younger elementary age child, does not feel well, they often times want to spend extra time cuddling with their parent. It is important that parents spend extra time with our kids when they are feeling under the weather.
A common rule that should be followed is that a child should be completely fever free for a full twenty-four hours before they should return to the classroom.
Nobody knows a child better than their parent. It is essential that the parent or guardian take the time to determine if the sickness is bad enough to keep a child home from the classroom. It is in the best interest of both your child and other children to keep your child home from the classroom if they are ill.
What are your thoughts on keeping kids home when they aren’t feeling well or sending them on to school anyway?  Tell us in the comments below.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BusyWorkingMama January 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I am a stickler for the fever rule. A child should be fever-free for at least 24 hours before returning to school. I also keep my child home if she is not eating well, lethargic, etc., even without a fever. It is a no brainer on the vomitting and diarrhea! I can’t imagine not keeping THAT at home!

As for keeping mine home with a cold? Unfortunately we do not have that luxury with two full-time working parents with no family around. We try to wash hands frequently and fuel up with good food and vitamins to avoid those pesky colds, which ironically enough we get from kids at school!

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2 shelia January 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

Thank you for writing this post. I totally agree with you and these rules are simple. Plus…sick kids need TLC :)

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