What is too sick for school?

  • By Katie Murdoch For The Herald
  • Monday, October 24, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

It’s before the lunch bell rings when sick students who have held it together fall apart at school.

Around 10 a.m., the first round of cold medicine wears off, trash cans are placed near the beds in the nurse’s office, and parents are called at work to pick up their child.

“A child won

‘t learn if they’re not feeling 100 percent,” said Nancy Sutherland, head nurse for the Edmonds School District.

District officials are asking parents to keep their students home from school if they are sick. This way, sick students can recover and avoid spreading colds and the flu to the school community.

Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or a fever are legitimate reasons to have a student stay home.

It sounds obvious.

But with more families feeling the pressure to work and, in some cases, being financially hard-pressed to pay doctor’s visit fees, more kids are going to school sick.

School officials are sympathetic, Sutherland said. “Parents are in between a rock and a hard place.”

The recession has added a new wrinkle. For example, Sutherland recalled a child who missed 10 days of school last year due to an allergic reaction to antibiotics prescribed by phone for what they thought was chicken pox. The cash-strapped family told Sutherland they couldn’t afford to send their child to the doctor for a full diagnosis, which could have meant a quicker recovery.

There are other reasons school officials would have families err on the side of a sick day. Despite having records with contact information, parents aren’t always easy to reach.

For some, phone service has been cut. For others, work obligations and pressure are an issue.

Sutherland recalls a parent who said she was instructed to turn off her cell phone before a work meeting. Meanwhile, Sutherland and district staff tried to reach her because her child was taken to the hospital.

“Imagine walking out of a meeting and finding a voice mail saying your child is in the emergency room,” Sutherland said.

She recommends parents add relatives or other trusted adults as emergency contacts and keep the school updated on changes.

“We don’t want to cast blame. We want to work together,” Sutherland said.

Too sick for school?

Edmonds School District and the Snohomish Health District advise keeping children home if they show any of these symptoms.

Appearance, behavior: Unusually tired, pale, lack of appetite, difficult to wake, confused or irritable. This is sufficient reason to keep a student home.

Eyes: Red, thick mucus or pus draining from the eye or pink eye. Itching with a crust on the eyelids after sleep — this condition may be “pink eye” and need medical evaluation.

Fever: Temperature of 100 degrees or higher. Keep students home at least 24 hours following an elevated temperature of 100 degrees or higher.

Persistent nasal drainage or chronic cough: Should be seen by a health care provider. These conditions may be contagious and require treatment.

Sore throat: Especially with fever or swollen glands in the neck. A student with a confirmed diagnosis of strep throat can return to school after 24 hours of appropriate treatment.

Diarrhea: Three or more liquid stools in a 24-hour period, especially if the student acts or looks ill.

Vomiting: Vomiting two or more times within the past 24 hours.

Rash: Body rash, especially with fever or itching.

Chicken pox: Students are infectious one to two days before the rash appears until the last blisters (sores) are dry and crusted. This is usually five to six days after the rash appears. Students are to remain home while infectious.

Ear pain with fever: This should be evaluated by a health care provider. Untreated ear infections can cause permanent hearing loss.

Lice: Students with suspected infestations will be screened. Parents will be notified of treatment needs. Please notify the school if you find head lice on your student.

Scabies: Students with scabies can return to school 24 hours after treatment has begun.

Source: Edmonds School District

Talk to us

More in Local News

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Craig Hess (Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office)
Sultan’s new police chief has 22 years in law enforcement

Craig Hess was sworn in Sep. 14. The Long Island-born cop was a first-responder on 9/11. He also served as Gold Bar police chief.

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Rival gang members charged with killing Everett boy, 15, at bus stop

The two suspects are accused of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Snohomish in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Witnesses contradict gunman’s account of killing Monroe prison officer

Dylan Picard, 22, was driving on South Machias Road when Dan Spaeth approached his car to slow it down to avoid hitting a deer.

Most Read