Keeping Kids Home

When to Keep Your Child Home from School

COVID-19: Monitor your child for symptoms. If your child is ill, regardless of vaccination status, stay home and consider testing. Symptoms include: Fever greater than or equal to 100.4° F, new onset and/or worsening cough, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, excessive fatigue, new onset of severe headache, new onset of nasal congestion or runny nose. 

Anyone who tests positive should isolate for 5 days from the start of symptoms and until fever free and symptoms improve. It's recommended to wear a mask through day 10 of illness. If you have two negative tests, you can remove the mask before day 10. 

What about close contact? 

No quarantine is recommended for close contacts, regardless of vaccination status. If siblings are feeling ok, they can be at school. 

Antibiotic treatment: If your child is on antibiotics for a communicable disease, such as strep throat, pink eye, etc, keep them home until they have been on the antibiotics for 24 hours. If they are going to continue on antibiotic treatment at school, be sure to follow the school’s medication policy. Please follow your doctor’s orders for antibiotics. Stopping them when the child feels better may cause the child to become sick again. Giving medication for the entire time the doctor prescribes will help make sure that the infection has been treated.

Chicken pox: Students with chicken pox need to stay home until all of the pox marks have scabbed over, generally 7 days. If the student gets chicken pox from the vaccine, it is usually a mild case. But they still need to stay home until the pox marks are all scabbed over. If there is an outbreak of chicken pox at school, students that are not complete with required immunizations may be required to stay home for a period of time to prevent a larger outbreak.

Pink eye: Students could have either viral or bacterial pink eye. Bacterial pink eye needs to be treated with antibiotics-usually eye drops-for 24 hours before returning to school. No exclusion is necessary for viral pink eye, but only a doctor can diagnosis whether it is viral or bacterial.

Head lice: Once children with head lice have been treated and had the nits carefully removed from their heads, they can return to school. When they return, parents are to bring them to the health office to have their heads checked before going to class. They will be examined again at intervals to make sure no head lice were missed.

Head lice are very treatable. Everyone in the family and close contacts should be checked for head lice and treated only if lice are found. Many different treatment methods are available. Information on treatment is available in each school health office, in the health resources section of this site or contact the district school nurse.

If live head lice is found on your child at school, you will be notified by phone. Your children can return to school if a treatment has been done and no live lice are found.

Head lice are a bother, but in the scheme of things, temporary. Anyone can get head lice. Head lice do not jump from one person to another. Encourage your child not to share combs, brushes, hats, headbands, or other hair clips. If your child has long hair, it may help to keep hair up in braids or buns to minimize transmission.

Staying healthy: During the season of flu and colds, it is important to try and remain as healthy as possible. Adequate sleep and nutrition will help. Keeping sick children home when they are ill will help prevent others from becoming ill. Most important is encouraging good, frequent hand washing.

Minnesota Department of Health encourages the “Cover Your Cough” campaign. Sneezing and/or coughing into a tissue or the inside area of the elbow rather than the hands will prevent the spread of infection along with good hand washing. Good resources regarding this year’s flu is http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm and Influenza Fact Sheet MN Department of Health

Do you think you or your child has the flu? Use this tool. Influenza screening tool for parents and caregivers

If you are unsure whether or not to send your child, you can contact your school’s health office or the district school nurse.

Online Reference: Child Care Manual,