• Our health attendance guidelines were developed per recommendations from both the CDC and CHOA.  Click here for more information.

    Ten Reasons to Keep Your Child Home from School

    A Guide to Making an Early Morning Decision

    Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta



    It can be hard to decide if your child is too sick to go to school. You often may not be able to tell if he is going to get better or worse during the school day. Also, if your child has had many complaints of pain in the past that have caused him to miss school, you should think about whether your child is avoiding school. It will be important for you to talk to your child and find out the reason.


    You should keep your child at home if he might spread a contagious disease to other children or if he is too sick to get through the school day. Children who are sick have a hard time learning and may get other children sick.


    Here are guidelines to help you decide when your child should stay home from school.




    Your child should stay at home until all bumps are scabbed and no new bumps have shown up in two days. Call your doctor for treatment of symptoms.


    Diarrhea & Vomiting


    One event of watery diarrhea or more than one event of vomiting are reasons to keep your child home. If vomiting or diarrhea continues or your child also has fever, rash, or weakness, call your doctor



    Children with fever over 100.4°F should stay home until there is no fever for 24 hours. If you treat a fever with medicine before school, the fever can return and your child may still be contagious. Call your doctor if your child has a fever with pain, rash, weakness, vomiting or diarrhea.



    If your child has impetigo (red, oozing blister areas with yellow-gold scabs on the body or face) he should stay at home as long as your doctor says.




    If your child has lice, he needs to be treated and nits (eggs) removed. He needs to stay at home until he has been cleared by the school to return.

    Persistent Coughing


    If your child’s cough is worse than you would expect with a cold, keep him at home. If he has a hard time breathing or has a fever, call your doctor.

    Persistent Ear Pain


    Your child should stay at home if he has a lot of ear pain. Call your doctor for treatment.




    If your child’s eye is red with cloudy or yellow drainage, he should stay home until symptoms are gone. Call your doctor for treatment.




    If your child has scabies (a contagious disease caused by a mite which involves itching and a rash), he should stay home for 24 hours after



    Sore Throat


    If your child has a sore throat and fever, or a severe sore throat without fever, he should stay home from school. Call your doctor if there is a quick onset of fever and sore throat without cold symptoms.



    If your child complains of a stomachache, especially if he says it hurts to move and he does not want to eat, he should stay home. Call your doctor.



    Children’s Healthcare

    of Atlanta







    When there is doubt in your mind about sending your child to school, consult your child’s doctor. Remember to make sure that your child’s school knows how to reach you during the day.

    Revised:  June 2023