Should I Send my Child to School?

An Information Sheet from the Waukesha County Dept. of Public Health and Human Services

615 W. Moreland Blvd. Waukesha, WI 53188

For further information phone: 262-896-8430

One of the problems most often confronting parents of school-age children occurs when a child complains of not feeling well on a school day. A decision must be made as to whether the child stays home or goes to school. What do you do? How do you make the right decision? You don't want to keep him or her home if he/she really isn't sick, but you also don't want to send a sick child to school. The following information is not intended to take the place of your pediatrician's advice but to provide guidelines to be followed until your doctor can be contacted for his/her opinion.



Consult your doctor if your child has a stomachache that is persistent or severe enough to limit his/her activity. If vomiting occurs, keep your child home until he/she can keep fluids and foods down. A child with diarrhea should be kept home. Call your doctor if prompt improvement does not occur.


Cold/Sore Throat/Cough

The common cold presents the most frequent problem to parents. A child with a "heavy" cold and a hacking cough belongs at home in bed, even though he or she has no fever. If your child complains of a sore throat and has no other symptoms, he or she may go to school. If white spots can be seen in the back of the throat or a fever is present, keep him or her at home and call your doctor.



A rash may be the first sign of one of many of childhood's illnesses, such as chicken pox. A rash, or "spots" may cover the entire body or may appear in only one area. Do not send a child with a rash to school unless your doctor says it is safe to do so. .



If your child has a toothache, call your dentist. For earaches, consult your pediatrician without delay. A child whose only complaint is a headache usually need not be kept home.



A fever is a warning that all is not right with the body. The best way to check for fever is with a thermometer, which everyone should have at home. No child with a fever over 100° by mouth should be sent to school. When a thermometer is not available, check the child's forehead with the back of the hand. If it is hot, keep the child at home until the fever can be checked with a thermometer. Do not allow your child to return to school until he or she has been free of fever for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication (i.e. acetaminophen and ibuprofen).

Children have been kept home from school for reasons other than illness. Unnecessary absence from .school may have a bad effect on a student's attitude, work habits and progress. Use your own good common sense and remember: Sick children belong at home and well children belong at school.