When Should Your Child Stay Home

Illness and Prevention Guidelines

Deciding when to keep your child home from school can be difficult. When a child is sick and needs to stay at home, parents should contact the school and describe the illness and symptoms. If a medical provider makes a specific diagnosis (such as strep throat, conjunctivitis or chicken pox), let school staff know.

There are several reasons to keep (exclude) sick children from school:

  1. The child does not feel well enough to participate comfortable in usual activities, such as with extreme signs of tiredness or fatigue, unexplained irritability or persistent crying.
  2. The child requires more care than the school staff is able to provide without effecting the health and safety of the other children.
  3. The illness is on the list of symptoms or illness for which exclusion is recommended.
  4. The child is not vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons and there is an outbreak in the school.


The following list gives guidelines and recommendations for exclusion from school due to illness. Children with minor illness need not be excluded unless one or more of the following exists. ILLNESS OR SYMPTOMS


Chicken Pox

Yes Until blisters have dried and crusted (usually 6 days).


Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

(pink or red eyes with thick mucus or pus draining from the eye)

Yes May return 24 hours after treatment begins. If your help provider decides not to treat your child, a note is needed.



(severe, uncontrolled coughing or wheezing, rapid or difficulty in breathing)

Yes – Medical attention may be necessary.

NOTE: Children with asthma may be cared for in school with a written health care plan and authorization for medication/treatment.


Coxsackie Virus

(Hand, foot and mouth disease)

No May attend if able to participate in school activities, unless the child has cough sores and is drooling.



(frequent, loose or watery stools not caused by diet or medication)

Yes – if child looks or acts ill; diarrhea with vomiting; diarrhea that is not contained in the toilet, (children in diapers should be excluded)


Fever with behavior changes or illness

Fever is an elevation of body temperature above normal.

Yes – when fever is elevated above 100° and is accompanied by behavior changes or other symptoms of illness, such as fatigue, rash, sore throat, upper respiratory symptoms, vomiting, diarrhea, etc. Must remain at home for at least 24 hours or until all symptoms subside medication free.


Fifth’s Disease

No – child is no longer contagious once rash illness appears.


Head Lice

Yes – May return after treatment and removal of all live lice and nits from hair.


Hepatitis A

Yes – Until 1 week after onset of illness or jaundice and when able to participate in school activities.


Herpes Yes – if area is oozing and cannot be covered