When to Keep Your Child Home from School

  • The protocol for management of communicable disease in Lorain City Schools is based upon the Ohio Department of Health’s guidelines and recommendations.

    Your child is too ill to go to school if he or she has any of the following symptoms:

    • Temperature above 100 F by mouth (* see below)
    • Vomiting or diarrhea within the past 24 hours (* see below)
    • Shortness of breath or has increase in wheezing during normal activity
    • Has a cough that interrupts normal activity, pain from an earache, headache, sore throat or recent injury.
    • Has yellow or green drainage from nose or eye(s)
    • Eggs (nits) or head lice – until cleared by nursing staff (see school nurse for lice policy)
    • Rash over body or localized to one area of the body, indicating a potential communicable disease (* see below)
    • Fatigue and needs bed rest (common with flu-like symptoms)
    • Signs of conjunctivitis such as red, crusty or swollen eyes (* see below)

    *Students who are sent home with a fever 100 degrees or higher must remain at home until the student is fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication. In most cases this means that students will miss the following school day. Please understand that fevers can reoccur within a 24 hour time period and this policy is in the best interest for all students.   

    *Students who are sent home due to vomiting or diarrhea must also stay home for 24 hours to ensure that these symptoms are gone before returning to school. 

    *Students exhibiting signs of conjunctivitis (crusty eyes, red or swollen eyes) may return once the symptoms have been treated and are gone or a note is presented from a doctor stating that the student may return to school.

    *Students who show signs of a communicable disease exhibiting as a rash may return to school once the rash is gone or a note is presented from a doctor stating that the student may return to school.


    Attendance is important for your child to be successful in school. If your child’s absence requires a doctor’s visit, please turn in the medical excuse to your child’s school upon returning.

    Cold vs. Flu

    The only way to stop the spread of the flu is to spread awareness.




    Influenza (flu)



    Fever is rare with a cold

    Fever is usually present with the flu in up to 80% of all flu cases. Temperature of 100°F or higher for 3 to 4 days is associated with the flu



    A hacking, productive (mucus- producing) cough is often present with a cold.

    A non-productive (non-mucus producing) cough is usually present with the flu (sometimes referred to as dry cough).



    Slight body aches and pains can be part of a cold.

    Severe aches and pains are common with the flu.


    Stuffy Nose

    Stuffy nose is commonly present with a cold and typically resolves spontaneously within a week.

    Stuffy nose is not commonly present with the flu.



    Chills are uncommon with a cold.

    60% of people who have the flu experience chills.



    Tiredness is fairly mild with a cold.

    Tiredness is moderate to severe with the flu.



    Sneezing is commonly present with a cold.

    Sneezing is not common with the flu.


    Sudden Symptoms

    Cold symptoms tend to develop over a few days.

    The flu has a rapid onset within 3-6 hours. The flu hits hard and includes sudden symptoms like high fever, aches and pains.



    A headache is fairly uncommon with a cold.

    A headache is very common with the flu, present in 80% of flu cases.


    Sore Throat

    Sore throat is commonly present with a cold.

    Sore throat is not commonly present with the flu.


    Chest Discomfort

    Chest discomfort is mild to moderate with a cold.

    Chest discomfort is often severe with the flu.




    Communicable Diseases in the School Setting

    Chicken Pox: Skin rash that progresses to blister then scabs. The child may or may not have a fever. New eruptions may occur for 4-5 days. Children usually start to feel better once they stop getting new bumps.

    Children are excluded from school until all the sores are crusted over, usually
    6-7 days.

    Common Cold: Sore throat, watery discharge from nose an eyes, sneezing, fever, and generalized discomfort.

    Children are excluded from school if fever of over 100 F or feeling too ill to participate in school activities.

    Conjunctivitis (Bacterial pink eye): Redness of eye or eyelid, thick and purulent (pus) discharge, matted eyelashes, burning, itching and eye pain.

    Children are excluded until 24 hours of antibiotic treatment.

    Diarrhea: Several loose stools with increased water content in a 24 hour period.

    Children are excluded until 24 hours after diarrhea stops or is determined non-communicable by physician.

    Fifth’s Disease: Bright red rash usually beginning on face appears as a “slapped face”. Spreads to trunk and extremities and appears as a lacy rash. Generally clears in a week. Must make school aware, can affect pregnant women.

    Children are excluded only if they have a fever or feel ill, otherwise exclusion is not necessary.

    Influenza: Abrupt onset of fever, chills, headache, sore muscles, runny nose, sore throat and cough.

    Children are excluded if they have a fever over 100 F or feel ill.

    Ringworm: Flat, scaly, ring like rash, may itch or burn.

    Children are excluded until 24 hours of appropriate treatment completed.

    Scarlet Fever/Strep Throat: Fever, red throat with pus spots. May have tender and swollen lymph nodes. Scarlet fever- all of the previous with sandpaper like rash on skin.

    Children are excluded until 24 hours of antibiotic treatment is completed.

    Whooping Cough (pertussis): Begins with mild upper respiratory symptoms which progress to abnormally severe coughing often with a characteristic whoop. Whooping sound may be absent in older children and adults. Coughing may progress to vomiting.

    Children are excluded for 5 days as they complete antibiotic treatment.


    Lorain County Health Department: http://www.loraincountyhealth.com/

    Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov

    American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org