You’re already running late, and your child emerges from the bedroom, still in pajamas, uttering the dreaded words, “I’m sick.”
You give her a once over. She looks fine. She was coughing last night, and she’s a little pale, but she’s also clutching her stomach a little too dramatically. Is she really sick, or is this a classic attempt to get out of school? It’s an age-old question: when is a kid too sick to go to school?
Thankfully, there are some guidelines to use when deciding whether or not to keep your child home from school. Your child should stay home if she has one of the following:
- A fever of 100 degrees or more
- Frequent diarrhea
- Hacking cough
- Widespread rash
- Extreme headache
A child should be kept home if she is too uncomfortable to be able to learn at school or if she is contagious to others. Mild cold or allergy symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, or a runny nose is not reason enough to keep a child home. Allowing a child to stay home for minor symptoms sends the wrong message and doesn’t help a child learn to cope with discomfort. Sometimes immersion in school activities with friends is all it takes to help your child feel better.
When in doubt, send them out. If you’ve made the wrong call, the school nurse will let you know that you need to come pick your child up from school.