Is My Child Too Sick to Go to School?
When Kids Don't Feel Well, When Can They Go to School and When Should They Stay Home?
Being sure that a child is well enough to go to school can be tough for any parent. It often comes down to whether the child can still participate at school. Having a sore throat, cough, or mild congestion doesn't always mean kids can't handle class and other activities.
When in doubt, check with the school. Many have guidelines about what families should do if their kids get sick. It’s also important to report that your child is sick, so the school staff can check to see if others might have been exposed to your child.
As for infections, chickenpox sores should be dry and crusted over before kids go back to school (usually this takes about 6 days). Kids with strep throat need a dose or two of antibiotics first, which can mean staying home the day after diagnosis (or possibly longer). Other contagious infections — like rubella, whooping cough, mumps, measles, and hepatitis A — have specific guidelines for returning to school. Your doctor can help you figure this out.
Lice, scabies, and ringworm shouldn't keep kids out of school. If the problem is found by the teacher or school nurse, the child should stay in school until the end of the day. Kids who get their first treatment after school should be able to return to the classroom the next morning.
You know your kids best. A child who has the sniffles but hasn't slowed down at home is likely well enough for the classroom. But one who coughed all night and had a hard time getting up in the morning might need to take it easy at home.