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School Health

lllness – When to keep a child home

It is sometimes difficult to know when to keep a student home from school, when ill.  The following guidelines are available to assist in this decision.  A student that is ill needs to be away from school for rest and proper recovery and to prevent the spread of illness to other students and staff.  A visit to the healthcare provider may also be needed for medical evaluation and treatment.  Parents/legal guardians will be called and are responsible for picking-up students who present, or become ill, at school.  Please contact the school nurse for help in making the decision to keep your child home, when ill.    


When deciding whether to keep your child home, the most important things to think about are:

  1. Does your child’s illness keep him/her from comfortably taking part in activities?
  2. Does the sick child need more care that the staff can give without affecting the health and safety of other children?

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then your child should not go to school.  If sent to school, the child may not be allowed to stay.

  1. Could other students/staff get sick from your child’s condition?  Is the illness contagious? 

If the answer to this question is yes, the student should not be in school.


Guidelines – When to Keep Student Home



When to keep student home/Return-to-school guidelines

Fever: A temperature of 100° F or higher may indicate the start of an infection such as the flu.

The student must remain at home until there is no fever for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol, Advil, or Ibuprofen. 

Diarrhea is not a disease but a symptom of a disease or condition.

The student needs to remain at home if unable to participate in classroom activities or has accompanying signs of illness such as fever.  A student with frequent loose stools, especially if unable to control those bowel movements, should be evaluated by a physician as the condition may lead to dehydration.  

Vomiting is usually caused by a stomach virus.

A student should remain home until at least 24 hours have passed since last vomiting episode.

Rashes can be the sign of contagious conditions such as chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, or impetigo.

A visit to healthcare provider is required for rashes that are blistered, draining, or has accompanying signs of illness such as fever.    


Conjunctivitis (known as Pinkeye) isinflammation of the covering of the white part of the eye and inside of the eyelids and may be caused by allergens, viruses, and/or bacteria.  A child who is exhibiting such symptoms for more than a day should be evaluated by a physician.  May physicians are following new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and do not automatically prescribe antibiotics.

Healthcare provider evaluation for symptoms exhibited more than one day.  Treatment depends on the cause and is not required in order for the student to return to school.  Drainage from the eye that is purulent (thick, yellow) or dry/crusty indicates the condition is/remains contagious and the student may not return to school until these symptoms have resolved. 

Impetigo is a contagious skin condition.

This condition requires medical treatment.  The student may return to school when antibiotic treatment has been received for at least a 24-hour period and the crusting lesions are no longer present.  

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant staphylococcusaureus) is a type of skin infection, staphbacteria that is resistant to certainantibiotics. Skin lesions appear as boilswhich often are red, swollen, painful, orhave pus-type drainage.



This condition requires evaluation by a healthcare provider andmedical treatment.  Lesions must be kept covered while at school.  NCHSAA guidelines must be followed for student athletes diagnosed with MRSA.     

Pediculosis (head lice) is not a disease and is not contagious.  Guidelines have been updated regarding school attendance.

Student with live lice needs to receive treatment and may return to school when there is no evidence of active lice.


Student must be treated with prescription medication before returning to school.

Strep throat and Scarlet Fever

Student must remain at home until 24 hours after treatment has been started and any associated fever has abated without use of fever-reducing medication.

Varicella (Chicken Pox) is a viral illness that causes a blister-like rash and fever.

An evaluation by a healthcare provider is needed to ensure accurate diagnosis.  The student may not return to school until all blisters have formed scabs.  

Antibiotic Medication/Treatment


Students must stay home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotic medication/treatment.  If your child continues to feel bad and run-down even after the 24 hours of antibiotic treatment, he or she should not return to school. 

Quick Links: 

Health Handbook

Immunization Information 

Health Assessment/Physical Requirements 


Beth Jenkins, BSN, RN, NCSN
School Nurse
Phone: 252-451-2877