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Should Your Sick Child Stay Home?

September 11, 2012, 6:06 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Should Your Sick Child Stay Home?

Fourth grader Grace and first grader Mattie have had a healthy start to the school year.  But their father knows all too well about the signs of a sickness coming on.

"We have an older son, so it was a lot harder with our first than it has been with these two because you never really know with the first one," Brent Eliason said.

Eliason says if his children have a fever and they're not feeling well, he'll keep them home from school. A fever greater than 100 degrees is one of the basic guidelines the Sioux Falls School District asks parents to follow when deciding whether to keep their children home sick.  That's also the case if they have a fever accompanied by a sore throat.

"If they had a rash that was undiagnosed, we would ask that they go home and ask that they be seen by their doctor before returning to school. Any time if there's vomiting or diarrhea would be another reason we would ask if they stay out of school," Sioux Falls Health Services Supervisor Molly Satter said.

But not all children who claim they're sick really are.  So what should you do if your child is trying to play hooky? Satter says you should have a conversation with them.

"Just talking with the child and finding out if there is something going on. Is there a reason you don't want to go to school?," Satter said.

Eliason says he doesn't have to worry about that because his daughters enjoy school.  But he does keep an eye out for what's going around.

"Obviously if we send our kids to school when they're sick, and they're confined in the classroom with other kids, you're putting those other kids at risk of getting sick as well.  So you always have to think more than just, 'is it inconvenient for me to keep my kid at home?'" Eliason said.

The Sioux Falls School District allows children to miss school for ten days out of the school year before their absence requires a doctor's note.

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