When to Keep Your Child Home From School

As parents, our main priority from the time we wake up until we go to sleep is to keep our kids safe, happy, healthy and growing with each passing day. And for most of us, the time comes when our children must go back to school and engage with new learning materials, close friends and teachers from our local areas.


However, what should we be aware of while preparing our back-to-school checklist? And more importantly, what should we do if our child is showcasing symptoms of sickness or infection? While you may feel like an overprotective parent, being aware of the warning signs that your child is unwell is key to keeping your community safe and virus-free in the weeks and months to come. Before rushing your young one back to school, give this some thought:


COVID-19 and Its Variants


Before going any further, we need to address the elephant in the room: the Coronavirus. While the virus has many emotionally-charged underpinnings and social stigmas associated with it, COVID-19 can be detrimental to your child’s health and respiratory system.


First and foremost, parents need to understand the myriad of symptoms associated with the Coronavirus and how to identify the problem before your child spreads the virus to friends, family and school faculty members. While the research is still ongoing, here are the most common side effects children and adults experience while battling COVID-19:


  • Excessive coughing and mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Loss of smell and taste: not as common with Delta variant
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea


As you can see, COVID-19 is a tricky virus to navigate merely from how similar its symptoms are to common ailments. More importantly, parents should be aware that COVID-19 variants, such as B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, can be serious for younger individuals and adults alike, especially those that are unvaccinated.


If your child is showcasing the symptoms listed above or has interacted with an individual who has these side effects, it’s time to keep them home from school for 10 days and seek professional guidance. And if you’re in doubt, ask your pediatrician about how to engage your child’s education in a post-COVID climate.


General Fever


Remember when you were a child and tried to pretend that you were sick to stay home and watch cartoons? Ahh, those were the days! But now that we’re older and know the tricks of the trade, when should we take our child’s complaints seriously?


As a general rule of thumb, if your child’s temperature surpasses 101.0-degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to keep them home from school.




If there’s one thing that can ruin a good day at school for a young child, it’s running to the restroom every twenty minutes. And if their faculty members and teachers are less-than-accomodating with your child’s bathroom needs, diarrhea can be a recipe for disaster and embarrassment.


As adults, we’re well aware of how uncomfortable having diarrhea can be. Diarrhea can be a symptom of something serious occurring below the surface. If your child is dealing with diarrhea and you can’t figure out why, here’s a list of common issues that lead to bathroom-related issues:


  • Norwalk virus
  • Dehydration
  • Food poisoning
  • COVID-19
  • Bacterial infection
  • Food sensitivity
  • Rotavirus


As you can see, diarrhea is something that parents need to consider when sending their children back to school for the new academic year. If your child’s diarrhea has been around for more than 10 days, reach out to a pediatrician and see how to rectify the situation and put a smile back on your young one’s face.


Pink Eye


Pink eye (conjunctivitis) is an ailment with a cute name that wreaks havoc on the lives of thousands of children. Statistical data about conjunctivitis shows that young people between the ages of 0 and 19 represent 64% of all pink eye cases within the United States alone. With statistics like that, it’s time for parents to get serious about pink eye and learn how to prevent their child from experiencing its nasty side effects.


While pink eye has a laundry-list of causes, the most common culprits are getting fecal matter into the eye region, allergens in the air, splashing harsh chemicals into the ocular cavity, a rogue eyelash, pollutants in the area and bacterial infections.


Similarly, your child’s sclera, also known as the “white part of the eye,” will turn various shades of pink and red. In some cases, parents will notice a yellowish-green discharge and excessive watering. Parents should always clean this material away from their child’s eyes and prevent it from hardening on the surface of the lid.


After making contact with the discharge, thoroughly wash your hands and disinfect your child’s eye region as the substance contains contagious particles. While most causes of conjunctivitis will clear up within one or two weeks, parents are encouraged to seek the guidance of a trained professional to deal with the unwanted symptoms and side effects of pink eye. And if it wasn’t already obvious, keep your child at home and let them kick back and relax with some good movies while their eye heals!


We want to walk that fine line between being overprotective and sensibly protective. It is important for our children to be in school as much as they can, but even more important that both they and their communities stay safe from serious illness. If you are concerned your child has missed too much school due to illness, it may be time to bring them in to make sure there is not an underlying condition. We are here to help.