School Days and Sick Days

by NYC Firm Schools on January 29, 2010

Before your alarm even goes off in the morning, when only a hazy gray light is filtering from the windows, you hear that sound. That small, painful moan that tells you your child is sick. For some parents, this is the moment where they make some decisions.

  • How sick is he/she? Is it a cold that can be treated with some over the counter cold medication, or will a Dr.’s visit be in the near future?
  • Can my child still go to school?
  • If my child has a high fever, but feels better tomorrow, can he/she go back to school then?

Many parents have a couple of other quick thoughts, such as

  • Is my child faking, or really sick (faking is a possibility for a reluctant child who has learned how to stay home and have more fun there than at school)
  • Are any of my child’s friends sick? This is a helpful way to remember or decide if your child is another victim of whatever virus is circulating, and having known others who have had it, you’ll have an idea of how quickly it may pass

All of these questions and thoughts run through a parent’s mind before they ever even get the first blanket pushed back and head for their child’s room.
When your child is sick, the outside world tends to come to a grinding halt until he or she is feeling better.

Here are some tips to deal with the non-medical crisis when your child isn’t feeling well:

  • Call the school and talk to the nurse. Explain that your child is sick, give the symptoms and let the nurse know when you expect to have your child in school again. The School Nurse is a great ally, because she (or he) will be able to tell you if there are a lot of other kids out with it and about how long the virus is lasting, as well as any helpful home remedies that can have your child feeling better.
  • Ask for the school policy on fevers, sickness and time out of school. Some schools require that your child be fever free, without medication, for 48 hours before returning to school.
  • If your child is going to be out for multiple days, ask your child’s teacher for assignments/classwork for your child to review while still at home. In that time when your child is feeling better but still not able to go to school, he or she can catch up on some school work and not worry about getting behind in class.
  • Use the time to cuddle up, catch up, talk and play. For some very active children, being sick is the only time when a board game can hold their attention.

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