How To Know When To Keep Your Kids Off School

At this pandemic stage, we all know when to keep our children home from school. The information on close contacts and symptoms of Covid-19 has very much been embedded in our psyche over the last two years.

It would, of course, be remiss of us not to highlight this once again. But what we are most interested in looking at here are the other times in our childrens’ short childhoods when they may need a duvet day, a day home from school.

When To Isolate

The guidance on isolating due to Covid has shifted quite a few times over the last year, so it’s no surprise that parents remain confused about individual scenarios. The complete guidance can be found on the HSE website. If in doubt, avoid asking Kate’s Dad or Ollie’s Mum. Go to the official sources and follow their advice.

The Four Symptoms

In reality, with so many coughs, colds, and bugs floating around our schools, it can be difficult to keep our children home for every sniffle. Aside from navigating childcare, children could be missing out on their learning because of something simple. There are four symptoms parents should keep an eye out for. If any of these signs crop up, keep your child home from school.

Fever – Temperatures above 38°C are considered a fever. A fever is our bodies way of fighting off illness. At the same time, we are likely shedding germs that could pass on the infection. Check the policy of your child’s school as most will ask that children are symptom and fever-free for 24 or 48 hours before returning to school.

Coughing/Trouble Breathing –Mild coughs and breathing changes can occur with colds, but if a cough is more complex and painful or your child has trouble catching their breath, keep them home and call your doctor. Watch for blue/grey lips and skin and listen for a wheeze which are signs of a respiratory disorder.

Vomiting/Diarrhoea – Always keep a child home from school when vomiting or diarrhoea occur as this could be a sign of norovirus or other illness which can be quickly spread.

Pain –We can often diminish pain symptoms because we cannot articulate the problem well enough. If a child has a headache or other pain that responds to pain medication and is in good spirits, then it is okay to send them to school. However, if the pain is greater and the child is not themselves, keep them off school and contact your doctor.

A Mental Health Day

An often-overlooked need to stay home is a mental health day. Our children are noticeably stressed, anxious, and exhausted, even more so since the pandemic. Be conscious of how your child is navigating their schooling and keep them home from school if they are overwhelmed. But keep them away from social media and the TV. Instead, get them outdoors, connect with them, or if needed, encourage them to catch up on sleep.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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