Department of Defense Education Activity

When to Keep a Sick Child Home

sick children

  • The child does not feel well enough to participate comfortably in usual activities.
  • The illness or signs & symptoms are on the list for which temporary exclusion is recommended for the health and safety of your child as well as other children.
  • Please use the general guidance below when you observe your student exhibiting any of the following signs and symptoms.

Signs & Symptom Child must be at home?
Elevated temperature of 100 F or greater demonstrates the need to exclude the student from the school setting.
Note: A fever is noted to be present at 100.4 F.
YES - when accompanied by behavior changes or other symptoms of illness, i.e.: rash, sore throat, stomach ache/vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, head ache, ear ache.
The student should be fever free (oral temperature below 99 F) without the use of fever-reducing medicines, for a complete school day (24 hours) before returning to school.
Flu Symptoms:
Fever over 100o F or greater with cough and/or sore throat.
Other flu symptoms can include fatigue, body aches, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
YES - for at least 24 hours after there is no longer a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
Severe uncontrolled coughing or wheezing, rapid or difficult breathing; coughing lasting longer than 5-7 days.
Yes - medical attention is necessary.
Mild Respiratory or cold Symptoms:
Stuffy nose with clear drainage, sneezing, mild cough; no temperature elevation.
NO - may attend if able to participate in school activities.
Two or more episodes of vomiting in the past 24 hours.
YES - until vomiting resolves (no further vomiting for 24 hours). Observe for other signs of illness and for dehydration.
Frequent, loose or watery stools compared to child's normal pattern; not caused by diet or medication.
YES - if the child looks or acts ill; if the child has diarrhea with temperature elevation of 100 F or greater; if child has diarrhea and vomiting.
Rash WITH Fever:
A body rash without fever or behavior changes usually does not require exclusion from school; seek medical advice.
YES - see medical advice. Any rash that spreads quickly, has open, weeping wounds and/or is not healing should be evaluated.

Illness Child must be at home?
Pink/reddish color to white part of the eye and thick discharge may be yellow or greenish in color.
YES - discharge and signs of infection have cleared or completion of 24 hour treatment with ophthalmic solution prescribed by a health care provider.
Head lice or scabies NO - Treatment initiated.
Note: Strict adherence to product directions is essential for successful eradication of parasites.
Impetigo (to include: streptococci, staphylococcus, MRSA infections)
Blister like lesions which develop into pustules. May "weep" and crust.
Yes - for 24 hours after medical treatment initiated.
Note: Lesions must be covered for school attendance.
Ringworm NO - Under care of medical care provider
Note: Lesions must be covered for school attendance.
Vaccine Preventable Diseases
Measles, Mumps, Rubella, (German Measles), Chicken pox, Pertussis (Whooping Cough), Influenza
YES - until determined not infectious by medical care provider.