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Too Sick for School? Here’s How to Tell

Check this chart to tell when illness calls for an absence—and when your kid can safely head back to day care or the classroom.


Stay home if...

Go back to school after...

Cough and other cold symptoms

Your child feels too sick for regular activities

Fever decreases and your child feels better

Eye discharge

Yellow or green pus appears

The amount of pus decreases, using antibiotic eye drops for 24 hours


The temperature on an oral thermometer reads 100 degrees F or higher (100.4 degrees F for an ear, rectal, or forehead temp)

Body temperature reaches normal


You suspect flu—it spreads rapidly

Fever has been gone for 24 hours


Your child has a migraine—throbbing, severe pain with moodiness, fatigue, and sensitivity to light

Taking pain medication for a milder headache


Redness or spots affect all or most of your child’s body

The rash is gone—or the doctor gives the OK

Sore throat

Your doctor diagnoses strep throat

24 hours after beginning antibiotics


Your child is vomiting or has uncontrollable diarrhea

Vomiting stops and your child has control of bathroom breaks