• Too Sick for School?



    A Guide to Making an Early Morning Decision - Children's Healthcare of Atlanta 

    It can be hard to decide whether or not 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 if 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 too sick to get though 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.


     Children with fever over 100.0°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.


    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

    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.

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


    Persistent Ear Pain


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



    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.




    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 scabies (a contagious disease caused by a mite which involves itching and a rash), he should stay home for 24 hours after treatment.


    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.


    Stomach Ache

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



    Most of these problems need to be discussed with your child's pediatrician to determine if an office visit is needed. Whenever there is a doubt in your mind about sending your child to school, consult your child's doctor before doing so. A phone consultation may be all that is necessary, or your child's doctor may need to see the child in their office.

    Please see FCS Guidance Related to Viruses and Infections here.

    Students must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications before returning to school.  Students must also be vomiting and diarrhea free for 24 hours before returning to school. 

    If students are prescribed an antibiotic for an illness, they must take the medication for 24 hours before returning to school.


    When Will Your Child Be Sent Home Sick?

    • If their temperature is 100.4 or higher.
    • If they are actively vomiting or having diarrhea.
    • Suspected pink eye or a suspicious rash.
    • If they need to be seen by a physician.
    • If the school nurse feels it is in the best interest of the child.


Last Modified on March 5, 2024