What To Do When Your Child Has Symptoms Of Illness (Flu, Strep, Covid etc.)
Many illnesses do not require keeping a student home from school. However, please consider keeping your child home if the illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities or if there is risk of spread of harmful disease to others. Please review the following criteria from MDHHS as a general guide for instances when an ill student should be kept home:
- Is your student severely ill? (e.g., child that is lethargic or less responsive, has difficulty breathing, or has rapidly spreading rash, not eating or drinking normally, etc.)
- Fever: A child with a temperature of 100.4°F or greater OR low grade fever with behavior changes or other signs or symptoms (e.g., sore throat, rash, headache, body aches, respiratory symptoms, vomiting, or diarrhea). The child should not return until 24 hours of no fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Diarrhea: A child has two loose or watery stools. The child should have no loose stools for 24 hours prior to returning to school. Exception: A healthcare provider has determined it is not infectious.(Diarrhea may be caused by antibiotics or new foods a child has eaten.) For students with diarrhea caused by Campylobacter, E. coli, Salmonella or Shigella, please refer to the linked chart for exclusions and required clearance criteria. Anyone with a diarrheal illness (e.g., Norovirus, Salmonellosis, Shigellosis, Shiga-Toxin producing E. coli, Giardiasis, or Cryptosporidiosis) should not use swimming pools for two weeks after diarrhea has ceased.
- Vomiting: A child that has vomited two or more times or has uncontrolled vomiting. The child should have no vomiting episodes for 24 hours prior to returning. Exception: A healthcare provider has determined it is not infectious.
- Abdominal pain: A child with abdominal pain that continues for more than two hours, or intermittent pain associated with fever or other symptoms.
- Rash: The child with a rash AND has a fever or a change in behavior. Keep home until the rash subsides or until a healthcare provider has determined it is not infectious. For students with a diagnosed rash, please refer to the linked chart for exclusions and required clearance criteria. Note: Rapidly spreading bruising or small blood spots under the skin need immediate medical attention.
- Skin sores: A child with weeping sores on an exposed area that cannot be covered with waterproof dressing.
- Certain communicable diseases: Children and staff diagnosed with certain communicable diseases, including COVID-19, may have to remain home for a certain period of time. See the linked chart for disease-specific exclusion periods.
MDHHS Disease Specific Information Chart
These are general recommendations. Please consult your local health department or child’s healthcare provider for additional guidance. Call 911 immediately if you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency. Do not rely on communication through your child’s school for urgent medical needs. The information on this webpage is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.