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Are You Too Sick for School?


Child in bed with temperature

Children of all ages work hard during the school day, and for an ill child, the energy required to complete the day often is not there. Not only does this put your child at risk for prolonged illness, but it also puts the students around him/her at greater risk for becoming ill.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people with influenza-like illness remain at home until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever (100°F) or signs of a fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.

In addition, please consider the following guidelines when making the decision to send your child to school:

  • Acute cold and/or persistent cough – It's difficult for your child to concentrate with a constant cough and/or nasal congestion.
  • Nausea and vomiting – Students should be free of vomiting for 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Inability to sleep most of the night because they don't feel well – If a child is up all night because he or she doesn't feel well, sending he or she to school to "try and get through the day" most likely won't work, as they won't have the energy available necessary to finish the day.

The Fox Chapel Area School District uses the Allegheny County Health Department "A Guide to the Control of Infectious Diseases in Schools" to determine when a child should return to school after an infectious illness. To help us monitor the "illness activity" of our school communities, please include the diagnosis on your child's absence excuse upon their return.

Types of illness

Chickenpox (Varicella)
Students excluded from school until all vesicles are scabbed/crusted.

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
Students excluded from school until 24 hours after the start of the appropriate treatment or until physician certifies student is able to return to school.

Impetigo (Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease)
Students excluded from school until sores are no longer draining and the child is judged noninfectious by the school nurse or the child's physician.

Influenza or Seasonal Flu
Students should be fever free for 24 hours without the aid of a fever-reducing medication. Please consider cough status as well. A persistent cough interferes with your child's ability to participate in the learning process. His or her cough should be under control before returning to school.

Students may return when fever free and able to resume normal activities.

Scarlet Fever/Strep Throat (Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease)
Students excluded from school until 24 hours after treatment is started.

Fifth's Disease
Students should be excluded if febrile. No exclusion necessary for rash.

Please do not hesitate to contact your child's school nurse if you have any questions about whether to send your child to school.