Michigan Parents Face Dilemma: To Send Or Not To Send Sick Kids To School?
"Is there a bone showing? No? Then you're going to school", does this sound familiar? If you grew up in Michigan in the '70s, '80s, and to a lesser extent, the '90s, then you remember how hard it was to convince your parents you were sick enough to miss school.
Michigan parents used to have stickier standards for what severity of illness merited a day off from education. Fast forward to 2020 and suddenly, parents became less likely to send a kid with the sniffles to school for fear they may be directly responsible for the spread of COVID or other illnesses.
State of Michigan's Guidelines: When Your Child Should Take a 'Sick Day'
If your child is too young to be left at home without supervision, their sick day, just became your sick day. Finding a sitter last minute on a weekday morning is not an easy task, let alone finding one that will supervise a potentially contagious child.
Taking time away from school when necessary is important but, what if they're just a little under the weather? The State of Michigan recommends considering the following guidelines, set forth by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Harvard Health when considering whether or not you should send your ill student to school.
1. Fever Above 101 Degrees? It's a Michigan Sick Day
If your kiddo's temperature is or has been above 101 degrees within 24 hours, then the AAP recommends keeping them home and away from the germ circus. The elevated temperature tells you that the body is busy fighting off an infection.
While medicine can bring the temperature down and keep some symptoms at bay, their bodies are in a weakened state, NOT TO MENTION they are more than likely contagious and can / will spread the infection throughout the school and community.
2. Vomitting and Diarrhea Within the Last 24 Hours? Get Out of School Free Card
Sending a child to school who has experienced vomiting and/or diarrhea within the previous 24 hours is not fair to anyone involved. While they may look like they feel well enough for school, consider this from Harvard Health,
Some viruses, such as norovirus, can be contagious for an extra day or so. You do not want to be the parent responsible for an outbreak of norovirus at your school or daycare...
This stands for adults as well as students. Please don't bring stomach bugs to the office.
3. Uncontrollable, Persistent Cough, or Difference in Your Child's Breathing = HOME
This recommendation comes from Harvard Health, which admits that if we kept every kid with a cough at home, schools would be pretty empty throughout the winter. BUT, if the cough is really bad it makes learning difficult. Any change in your child's breathing is a reason to call your pediatrician.
4. When the Pain is Bad, School is Too
Certainly, a minor headache or a scratched-up elbow isn't a reason for time away from their education, but when the pain becomes more than mild, keep them home and call the doctor. Pain isn't something that should be ignored.
For those of us who went to school with any or all of the above, it was a different time. If you're not sure how different, think about the days we went to school that would be considered a snow day now...
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