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School Health Services » Sickness Guidelines

Sickness Guidelines

Decatur City Schools
Sickness Guidelines
FEVER:  A student with a fever of 100.0F or higher should not come to school. If a student comes to school with a fever of 100.0F or higher, the student will be sent home. If no one can be reached to pick up the student, and the fever is escalating, 911 may be called to transport the student for medical treatment. This will depend on the assessment by the school nurse based on the clinical symptoms of the student. A student MUST be fever free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medications, such as Tylenol or Motrin) before returning to school.

HEADACHE: Headaches can be caused by many things such as fever, stress, sinuses, viral illnesses, and dehydration. Some headaches can be serious while others are minor. When a student has a headache that is associated with a fever and/or neck pain/stiffness or a headache that lasts for more than a couple of hours, the student should be seen by a health care provider. A mild headache can interfere with a student's learning ability. When a student has a headache during school hours and the headache does not go away after 20-30 minutes, the student may be sent home.

SORE THROAT: Sore throats are very common. They can be caused by sinus drainage, mouth breathing, viruses (colds), bacteria (Strep), dehydration, and anything that can irritate tissue (such as food, hot liquids, etc...). When a student has a fever with a sore throat, the student should see a health care provider before returning to school. A student who has a sore throat with a fever of 100 degrees or more will be sent home. A student with a non-fever sore throat can be soothed by drinking cool (not hot) fluids, and identifying and treating the underlying cause (colds, sinus drainage, etc.)
VOMITING: When a student has been vomiting, the student should not come to school until they have eaten solid foods for at least 2 meals without vomiting. A student who vomits more than once, while at school, may be sent home. Vomiting can lead to dehydration very quickly, especially in younger children. When a student has been vomiting for more than 12-24 hours, they should see their health care provider as soon as possible.

DIARRHEA: Four or more loose/liquid stools in less than 12 hours is considered diarrhea. Certain forms of diarrhea can be contagious. When a student has 4 or more loose stools during school and/or associated with abdominal pain, headache, fever, vomiting, or foul smelling flatus, the student should see a health care professional. Remember, diarrhea can cause dehydration quickly, especially in younger children. When a student has multiple episodes of diarrhea that last longer than 12-24 hours, the student should see a health care provider as soon as possible.

ABDOMINAL PAIN: Any form of abdominal pain in a child should be taken seriously. Many things cause abdominal pain such as constipation, viral illnesses, food intolerances, strep throat, urinary problems/infections, digestion problems, and female related problems. A student who complains of abdominal pain should not come to school until the problem has been identified, preferably by a health care provider. Any student with abdominal pain that lasts longer than 15-30 minutes may be sent home.
COUGH: A cough that is chronic can spread germs and be disruptive in a classroom. Please take this into consideration when deciding to send a student to school. A student with a cough may be evaluated by the school nurse. A student with an excessive cough may be sent home. If a student brings cough drops or cough medicine to school, the student must have a Prescriber/Parent Authorization Form (PPA) completed and signed by both a doctor and a parent.
RASH: There are all types of rashes. Some are nothing more than irritated skin, while others are very contagious. The guidelines include:
  • All rashes MUST be covered by either clothing or a bandage.
  • A student with an undiagnosed rash lasting more than 2 days may be required to have a medical doctor's note in order to return to school.
  • A student with a scalp rash may be required to have a medical doctor's note in order to return to school.
  • A student with a rash that is associated with a fever and/or cough should be evaluated by a medical doctor.
  • A student with spotted rashes on the stomach, back, arms or legs should be evaluated by a medical doctor.

DISCLAIMER: Decatur City School nurses do not take the place of a doctor. None of the information provided on this website is meant to replace a doctor.  Every student should have their own health care provider. The information on this website is meant for informational purposes only. Decatur City Schools, it's staff, teachers, and nurses are not responsible for anyone who does not follow the advice of their own physician or health care provider.