Should I keep my child home?

It is not always easy to know when to send your child to school, and when to leave your child home. These Guidelines are based on public health science. If you have any questions about them, please contact the school health office at 619-605-2500 x3.

Please keep the office at your child's school informed of your current contact numbers. It is very important to be able to reach you when your child is sick at school and needs to go home or when your child needs medical attention.

Please do not send a child with the following symptoms to school:

  • Chills or Fever of 100.0°F or more. If you do not have a thermometer, do not send your child to school if he/she has chills. Once fever goes away without taking medicine like acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g., Motrin, Advil), your child may still need to stay home for more days. As public health guidance changes on this, call your school health office or check the following website:
  • Feeling Tired, Muscle or Body Aches - This can be an early sign of many infections and is sometimes the only sign of COVID disease.
  • Cough, Shortness of Breath and difficulty breathing - Do not send your child to school if these symptoms are not part of your child’s regular condition. Check for labored breathing (heaving of chest muscles with each breath), fast breathing at rest, blue color to skin, or wheezing (if never previously evaluated and treated). Keep home if your child has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough) until after 5 days of antibiotics have been received (assuming that COVID has been ruled out), or if your child has tuberculosis (until treated).
  • Congestion or runny nose – Usually schools welcome children with such symptoms, during the COVID-19 pandemic, children with these symptoms and signs need to stay home. If the congestion and runny nose are typical for your child, they can be at school (for example, your child gets these very symptoms during allergy season). 
  • Sore throat - Keep your child home, as this can be a symptom or sign of COVID-19.
  • New loss of taste or smell - Keep your child home, as this can be a symptom of COVID-19
  • Headache - Unless the type of headache your child is experiencing is quite typical (for example, migraines), keep your child home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Rash that is undiagnosed, especially when there is a fever and behavioral change.
  • Chicken pox - keep home until all blisters are scabbed over and there are no signs of illness.
  • Diarrhea - keep home if the student wears diapers, if there is blood or mucous in the stool (unless from medication or hard stool), if the stools are all black or very pale, or if the stools are very watery and are increasing in frequency. See a doctor immediately if diarrhea is accompanied by: no urine output for 8 hours; jaundiced skin; or child looks/acts very ill. During the COVID-19 pandemic, keep your child home if they have diarrhea.  
  • Vomiting more than once a day or accompanied by fever, rash or general weakness. During the COVID-19 pandemic, keep your child home if they are throwing up.
  • Impetigo - Keep the child home for 24 hours after starting an antibiotic treatment.
  • Ringworm (a contagious skin fungus infection). Keep home until treatment is started. If it is in an exposed area, upon return, cover visible area with dressing and/or clothing. Ringworm on the scalp requires an oral medication, but child may return to school if covered with appropriate cream or covered.
  • Cold sores - Cold sores can be passed from one person to another, but only through direct contact. Children who drool or place toys in their mouths when they have cold sores should stay home; other children may come to school.
  • Quarantine – If your child has been asked to quarantine (stay home) by a doctor, nurse or the public health department, please call the school and let them know. This can happen because someone in your household may have COVID-19 or because your child travelled out of the country.
    o Note: travel to and from Mexico by car or by foot and/or visiting areas close to the U.S. border, if done for educational or medical reasons, is not considered “international travel” and should not keep your child from going to school, as long as all members of the household are healthy. 


Children who are placed on antibiotics for impetigo, strep throat, and several other bacterial infections, should be on them for a FULL 24 hours (longer for Pertussis/Whooping Cough) before returning to school to prevent the spread of those infections. If you are uncertain, ask your school nurse.

If at any time you are unsure if your child's illness is contagious, you may want to call your child's primary care provider. If you have further questions, please contact the school at (619) 605-2500. Thank you for your continued support of the families in our school community.


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