The effect on a family with a sick child is enormous – home, work, and school lives are all impacted and often at the least convenient times! Sickness is a part of childhood, but in the era of COVID, students need to stay home if they are presenting with any signs of illness. Below is the Student Symptom Decision Tree to help guide you through the process on what to do if your child is sick.
Students who have two low risk symptoms or one high risk symptoms need to have their siblings stay home until the student has been cleared to come back to school either with a negative COVID test or a doctor’s note with an alternative diagnosis. If the siblings are vaccinated, then they can come to school as long as they do not have any symptoms themselves.
Children with Seasonal Allergies
Children with seasonal allergies may present with the same symptoms as COVID. They need to stay home until allergy symptoms are under control per their health care provider’s direction or the student has been cleared by the doctor to come to school with a doctor’s note and an alternative diagnosis.
Other Health Issues
A rash can resolve spontaneously and is not reason alone to keep a child home from school. Any rash associated with symptoms such as trouble breathing or swallowing, fever, or ill appearance, should be evaluated by your physician. Rashes that are itchy or scaly may be contagious and should be evaluated before sending a child back to school.
A child with eye symptoms that include redness, swelling, tearing, itching or burning, mild sensitivity to light, drainage or overnight crusting may have conjunctivitis (pink eye) and will need to be evaluated by a healthcare provider. If the child is diagnosed with conjunctivitis, he or she will need to stay out of school for 24 hours from the initial dose of antibiotic.
Children with lice do not need to be excluded from school, but will need to receive treatment prior to coming back to school. Please see the lice guidelines here.
Sending Sick/Hurt Students Home from School
If a child presents to the nurse with any symptoms of illness, parents will be called and the student will be sent home.
Please make plans at the beginning of the year for when you have a sick child. Set up a system you can activate if your child is ill and needs to stay home. Also set up a plan for when your child becomes ill at school and needs to be dismissed early.
Please remember, your school nurses are always available to answer any questions you might have on whether or not it is appropriate to send your child to school. Do keep in mind, however, that the school nurse, by law, cannot diagnose or treat any illnesses or injuries and will refer you to your primary care physician.