Too Sick for School

Keeping students’ home when they are too sick for school protects other students and staff from potential illness. If your student becomes ill at school, you will be called to take your student home. It is essential that your student's school has a phone number where you can be contacted during the day and an emergency number in the event you cannot be reached. Families can update their emergency contacts in Skyward Family Access throughout the year through the Student Info tab and request changes link.

Scroll down the page for information on non-COVID medical conditions which may require your student to stay home from school.

COVID-like symptoms

The best way to prevent the spread of a COVID-19 infection is to avoid exposure to others, especially if your student is showing symptoms of COVID-19. People who test positive for COVID-19 or those who have symptoms of COVID-19 and are awaiting test results should isolate at home away from others except to get medical care.

Students, children, and staff with new onset of respiratory or gastrointestinal symptoms, such as cough, fever, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, or other symptoms of COVID-19, should not attend school or childcare, should stay home, and get tested for COVID-19. Follow the DOH What to do if a Person is Symptomatic flowchart.

Additional non-COVID too sick for school symptoms

There are other medical conditions besides COVID-19 which may require your student to stay home from school. If your student has any of the following symptoms, please keep them home and contact their school.

  • Appearance, behavior – A child who appears severely ill, which may include lethargy, persistent crying, difficulty breathing, or a significant change in behavior or activity level indicative of illness.
  • Eyes – white or yellow drainage, vision change, and/or redness of the eyelid or skin around the eye, itchiness, pain, or sensitivity to light.  This may be a sign of “pink eye” (conjunctivitis) which needs a medical evaluation. Following a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, the student may return to school 24 hours after receiving the first dose of prescribed medication. Students can remain in school if there is only minimal redness to the white of the eye and no other signs.
  • Fever – temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Student needs to be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol or Motrin before returning to school. Giving a fever reducing medication just before returning to school does not make a student well. It may only mask the fever until the medication wears off. In this situation, a student needs to be home, so others are not exposed to illness.
  • Ear pain with fever – untreated ear infections may cause permanent hearing loss. Consult with the student’s health care provider.
  • Persistent nasal drainage and/or chronic cough – may need to be seen by a health care provider. A student with thick or constant nasal discharge should remain home. Very few younger children can effectively blow their noses and wash their hands afterward. A child with the above symptoms will quickly spread the illness to other children.
  • Sore throat – especially with fever or swollen glands in the neck. A student with a confirmed diagnosis of strep throat may return to school after 24 hours of appropriate antibiotic treatment. They must also be fever free for the past 24 hours without use of fever-reducing medications.
  • Diarrhea – more than one watery stool in a 24-hour period, especially if the student acts or looks ill. A student with diarrhea should stay home and return to school only after being symptom free for 24 hours.
  • Vomiting – A student with vomiting should not return to school for 24 hours following the last episode of vomiting.  
  • Rash – body rash, especially with fever or itching. Common infectious diseases with rashes are most contagious in the early stages. A child with a suspicious rash should return to school only after a health care provider has made a diagnosis and authorized the student's return to school. Exceptions are rashes due to heat, diapers, and allergic reactions which are not spread to others.
  • Open sores or wounds – discharging bodily fluids that cannot be adequately covered with a waterproof dressing or mouth sores with drooling. Consult with the student’s health care provider.

  • Lice, Ringworm or Scabies – Individuals with head lice, ringworm or scabies must be excluded from the childcare premises beginning from the end of the day the head lice, ringworm or scabies was discovered. The provider may allow an individual with head lice, ringworm or scabies to return to the premises after receiving the first treatment

  • Chickenpox – Students are infectious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until the blisters (sores) are dry and crusted. This is usually 5‐6 days after the rash appears. Students need to stay home until all lesions have crusted over and there are no new lesions in 24 hours. If your child has chickenpox, alert the school nurse.

Contact your medical provider if your student is experiencing any other symptoms that are concerning to you.

A sick student cannot learn effectively and is unable to participate in classes in a meaningful way. Keeping a sick student home and encouraging frequent handwashing allows the student the opportunity to rest and recover and prevents the spread of illness in the school community.

Updated 7/17/23.