44 answers

Would YOU Send Your Child to School with a Cold

My daughter is home from school today with a bad sore throat, blood shot eyes, coughing, sneezing and a REALLY runny nose. My husband didn’t agree with keeping her home saying “it’s JUST a cold.”. He said just to give her some cold medicine and it should get her through the day. Being that school is almost over he doesn’t want her missing any days.

Besides the fact that she feels miserable and needs her Mom to take care of her, I certainly wouldn’t want my daughter going around spreading her germs to the other kids.

Let me end this by saying that my daughter has only missed 2 days of school since the beginning of the school year. This is the first time she has been sick this year. Her last missed day was for her Grandfather’s funeral.

If your child was sick like mine, would you keep them home or send them with tissue and making sure they took some cold medicine?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

All great answers! Thank you! My daughter really never gets sick. She has always received the Perfect Attendance Award at school and has a 4.0 GPA. She takes great pride in that!

When she woke up this morning looking more miserable then I have EVER seen her, I knew she needed to stay home. She said her head hurt so much it felt like it was going to explode. Thanks to those who put it this way….if I felt as bad as her, would I want to go to school??

Featured Answers

If she is visibly sick and not playing, and you can afford to stay home with her, why not let her stay home and rest. Is she really going to learn anything feeling miserable. When you are that sick, all you think about is how miserable you feel, and noone wants someone like that sitting next to them. Sneezing, coughing all over. She hasn't abused her sick time with school, so why not. I love how husbands out ther 2 cents in and don't make any sense. They have no compassion. But when ther are sick, they want us to cater to them. Babies.

6 moms found this helpful

As others have said the only time my kids absolutely stay at home are when they have a fever or are vomiting. That being said if my child is miserable I let them stay at home. I know when I'm sick I don't want to do anything so I'm not going to make my children sit in class and be miserable when all they want to do it rest. When I see my kids are coming down with a cold I try to get them to school for as long as possible in the beginning and then if they hit a day or two when the cold seems to peak I'll let them stay home and then send them back for the last few days of it.

Good luck,
K.

6 moms found this helpful

I would've kept her home. I'd make her stay in her room and rest, but I would've kept her home.

When there isn't a question of a fever, then I try to look at it from the standpoint of if I was going through all that, would I stay home?

M.

5 moms found this helpful

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THANK YOU S.!!!

Thanks for being a responsible, loving parent who has a view of things outside her own child and immediate family. I mean that from the bottom of my heart!

Sure, you could have sent her to school with meds and she might not have felt as crappy, but those germs would be flying left and right and some child might have gotten sick who doesn't have a parent that can take off work or stay home...and then what?

I was a single parent for many years. I didn't have sick leave and if it weren't for my mom who was retired and could help me I don't know what I would have done. Then to find out that someone hopped their kid up on tylenol cold to mask the symptoms and sent their sick baby to school, who then infected mine? That drove me bananas.

So, THANK YOU S.!! You did exactly the right thing.

11 moms found this helpful

WOW!! I would hate to be AS SICK AS YOUR CHILD and have parents like the ones below who stated “No fever or vomiting, you go to school”!! Seriously???

What you described that she is feeling, she is obviously too sick to function at school and I really can’t believe that parents would make their kids go to school if they were THAT SICK!

Good for you for keeping her home and taking care of her! That’s what Moms do!

I totally agree with Lisa C!

KUDOS on having a straight A student and it’s because of YOU too!

8 moms found this helpful

The general rule of thumb is that they should be symptom free for a 24 hour time period before being sent back to school, and you are absolutly right, this is how infection spreads so quickly through schools and the workplace.... IF YOU ARE SICK...STAY HOME!!!

7 moms found this helpful

Absolutely not. I didn't send kiddo to school when sick EVER, and now that we homeschool I don't take him out in public when he's sick.

A) These illnesses are CONTAGIOUS. I feel it's my responsibility as a human being to not be callously or deliberately infecting others.

B) Our bodies burn a ridiculous amount of energy when we're sick. The fastest way to get better is to rest, recuperate, and actually take care of ourselves.

6 moms found this helpful

I would definitely keep mine home!
Best Wishes!
T.

6 moms found this helpful

If she is visibly sick and not playing, and you can afford to stay home with her, why not let her stay home and rest. Is she really going to learn anything feeling miserable. When you are that sick, all you think about is how miserable you feel, and noone wants someone like that sitting next to them. Sneezing, coughing all over. She hasn't abused her sick time with school, so why not. I love how husbands out ther 2 cents in and don't make any sense. They have no compassion. But when ther are sick, they want us to cater to them. Babies.

6 moms found this helpful

As others have said the only time my kids absolutely stay at home are when they have a fever or are vomiting. That being said if my child is miserable I let them stay at home. I know when I'm sick I don't want to do anything so I'm not going to make my children sit in class and be miserable when all they want to do it rest. When I see my kids are coming down with a cold I try to get them to school for as long as possible in the beginning and then if they hit a day or two when the cold seems to peak I'll let them stay home and then send them back for the last few days of it.

Good luck,
K.

6 moms found this helpful

As a granny with fragile health and seriously challenged lungs, I thank you for asking this question. My adorable grandson picks up cold after cold from his daycare, and if he's just becoming (invisibly) contagious when I spend Granny Fridays with him, I get those colds, too.

Then I get severe bronchitis, have an expensive doctor visit or two (no insurance), take an expensive antibiotic with difficult side effects, and cough myself inside out for the 5-8 weeks it takes to clear out my lungs.

School kids are one of society's primary disease vectors, and many of the people they will infect will be elderly, or very young, or immune-suppressed, and very much at risk of developing severe, debilitating, and even deadly disease.

6 moms found this helpful

Yes, keep her home while she is miserable. You didn't mention if she had a fever - a child should never be in school with a fever.

Colds last for over a week, and it doesn't always make sense to keep your child home the entire time the cold lasts. But at the beginning of the cold, when her nose is running a lot and she's coughing all over everything, you'd just be asking for the school nurse to call you to come get her. She will give everyone else around her the cold. As a parent, you wouldn't want another mom to send her kid to school like this to infect your child.

Use the cold medicines, and home remedies like chicken soup, lots of fluids, etc. Manage the symptoms so that she doesn't end up with a secondary infection. Hopefully she'll feel better with the symptoms lessened after a few days so that she can go to school and really learn, and not feel terrible.

All my best to you both,
D.

6 moms found this helpful

If your child is sick and you think they might be contagious then no school in my opinion. How would you feel if you knew that by sending your child to school you then got the whole class sick? And if she is miserable is she going to get any work done? Probably not. I say let her stay home and rest. Even just one day can make her feel a whole lot better.

6 moms found this helpful

I would've kept her home. I'd make her stay in her room and rest, but I would've kept her home.

When there isn't a question of a fever, then I try to look at it from the standpoint of if I was going through all that, would I stay home?

M.

5 moms found this helpful

A little cold, the sniffles-sure you go to school. But what you are describing is no little cold! No way would I send my kiddo in like that. You absolutely did the right thing Mom! There is a reason the phrase "Mother knows best!" was invented!
I finally learned that when I was sick like that if I stayed home for one day and rested completely I was so much better the next day.

5 moms found this helpful

Good for you! I would have kept my baby home tooooooo!!

5 moms found this helpful

If it was a slightly runny nose and that was it, I would send her. Sore throat and coughing, definitely not. Maybe your husband doesn't get sick very often (like mine) but even JUST a cold can make you pretty miserable, let the poor girl stay home and rest. Some people think you are only sick if you have a fever. I catch every cold that goes around and I never get a fever, even when I get the flu. Some colds are mild and I suffer through it, other times I'm completely out of commission. Trust yourself, mama knows best.

Added: To Whitney who goes to work with a cold, I had a boss like this who always came to work even sneezing and coughing and dripping mucus. When she got sick, I got sick, as did at least 5 other people at work. There were only a few who were spared. Its great when you don't have to use your sick time but not great when you get everyone else sick. And I have called in for a cold and been put on a guilt trip by my boss, however I worked in customer service and refused to cough all over my customers. Use your sick time, that's what its for, unless your the president I think your work will manage without you for a day.

5 moms found this helpful

If you are sick the school would call you and have you pick her up. What is she going to learn at school sick like that anyway? I think people think a cold isn't a big deal till they get one. I would keep my kids home if they are sick.

4 moms found this helpful

(I haven't had time to read the other posts yet)
My daughter is home today, too. Her only symptoms are a low fever, a teeny cough, and the general "feeling yucky". I let her stay home because she hasn't missed that much school either, and because of the fever I figured it's not fair to spread her germs and figured the fever would make her super sleepy all day. I can see where your husband is coming from with his "just a cold" statement-- colds last quite some time usually, and you aren't going to keep her home for 2 weeks until all of her symptoms are completely gone. However, I keep my kids home for the day if:
there is a fever
there is vomiting
there is diariah (sp???)
the nose is running a lot
the nose is bright green
the child is generally uncomfortable and needs a day of rest

By the way, you can always contact her teacher to get the work she missed, so your husband's worry about her missing school is silly

4 moms found this helpful

If she did not have a fever, most school rules say not to send them if they are too miserable to learn. The first day or two of a really bad cold are certainly days that they should stay home, espcially if they are very young and cannot complete the kind of hygene necessary to prevent spreading the virus.

I would not send mine. Tell your husband that there are probably children at her school that you are both unaware of who have diffuclty with any virus and by sending your daughter when she was ill and contagious, you put that child at risk. My child had an auto immune issue, and even getting "just a cold" could be very bad for her, not deadly, but very painful (she got shingles everytime she had a cold or other illness.) I certainly appreciated any parent who was courteous and smart enough to keep their children home with symptoms like you describe. Bless you!

M.

4 moms found this helpful

For me it depends more on how they feel and how functional they will be. By the time they are sick (showing symptoms) they have generally already spread most of the germs they are going to spread. It sounds like she is pretty miserable, probably wouldn't have learned much of anything anyway, and I likely would have made the same decision you did and kept her home. If it was me I would have stayed home too.
My general feeling is if you don't feel well stay home. I just find if you feel miserable you're not productive or useful to anybody around you. That and quite frankly you'll probably be well quicker because you're not forcing yourself to suck it up. You're allowing your body to rest, which is exactly what it needs when it's sick. Stay home a day now or a week later, that's my philosophy on being sick! Stay home and get well!

3 moms found this helpful

It depends on what you consider a cold and what you consider to be "sick". Medically, by the time a child has a snotty nose and a cough, they are no longer contagious. As long as they don't have a fever, it's safe to send them to school. A cold is contagious 48-72 hours before the body starts to fight it. How do you know the body is fighting it? The nose is runny and there can be a cough.
A sore throat before any runny nose or cough is a good indication that a cold is coming and it's good to keep your daughter home. Unless she's not eating, you can assume it's just post-nasal drip and not something worse like strep.
As soon as the sore throat passes, she's probably good to go back to school.

3 moms found this helpful

Funny you should post this, my 13 year old daughter has allegeries/ cold no fever. She fell asleep yesterday on the way hone on the bus. So I knew she isnt feeling good. I gave her some bendryl when she got home and she slept like a rock. This morning I asked how she was doing and she still didnt feel good, no fever, and decided to go to school. I gave her some meds. She texted me and asked if I could come get her because she wasnt feeling well. My husband picked her up and she is now at home resting. I don't think you have to have a fever in order to stay home. You can still feel cruddy without a fever. Anyhow, at her age, I leave it up to her. (if there is no fever involved) But I wouldnt automatically keep her home with a cold if she felt like she could go to school and manage.

3 moms found this helpful

You didn't mention her age, but I would avoid medicine in general except for fever or by a doctor's recommendation. With so many recalls and changes in medical information, children's cold medicines make me nervous.

Your child should stay home if she is contaigious (I would not consider a head cold something to stay home for, but vomitting, chicken pox, pink eye, HFM, etc.). Find out the school's illness policies.

Your child should stay home if she cannot participate reasonably in class, or becomes a major distraction in class. I used to get such nasty sinus infections that I would sit in the classroom and my nose blowing and coughing would literally drown out everything--gross, distracting, and a good reason not to be there.

Depending on her age, she should be conscious of her germs--washing her hands frequently, using tissues to cough into, not touching anything if she can avoid it, etc, so should be okay to be in school.

If my children are too miserable to function, I keep them home. If they just have head colds , I let them carry on as usual with the instruction to call me if anything changes. Sometimes bodies really do just need some extra rest though even for a cold. You know your child best, and sometimes a day in bed will be just enough for a nasty cold. Sorry that was completely not helpful. 2 days of school is not a huge amount to miss in a year--I missed a day a month for orthdontic appointments, plus extra if I got sick. Hope she feels better.

3 moms found this helpful

I would absolutely keep her home and honestly I don't think the school would want her there. you would probably get the call to come pick her up by 10am.

2 moms found this helpful

Well I have three kids and I think it depends on different situations.
First the severity of the cold. If its just clear mucus and nothing else accompanied with the cold I would send my child to school.
If the child is coughing and has a sore throat with a clear mucus I would keep my child home. If my child has darker mucus I would keep them home. They are going to recover quickly at home.

2 moms found this helpful

I am a teacher and I say: KEEP HER HOME!!!!!!!!!! She is miserable and not going to be productive. And, the germs are going to get everywhere and this temperature is perfect for breeding bacteria.... Keep her home. You did the right thing!!!!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with you. If she feels miserable and wants to be home, I would let her stay. I have often forced myself to work with a cold, but all I wanted to do was be in bed. If my kid felt that way and hadn't missed excessive days, no reason why they can't stay home. I completely understand the fever rule, but I think there can be exceptions for truly feeling bad, at least for a day or two. And all those parents of kids who HAVE missed excessive days will thank you for not getting their kid sick so close to the end of the year.

Added:
I personally think there is a difference between the sniffles and a true cold. A true cold often gets confused with the flu, because you feel so bad. I know a ton of people who say they have the flu, but they don't have flu symptoms, they have cold symptoms. The sniffles, you can function through. Some colds need a day of rest, you'll get well a lot faster. And you can use that to teach the responsibility aspect- it isn't slacking off to take a day now so that you can be at the top of your game later instead of still dragging with a miserable cold.

2 moms found this helpful

yup my babies would be at home with me!

2 moms found this helpful

As a teacher I say keep your daughter home! It's so frustrating when parents send their sick kids to school. Not only does it spread the cold to other kids (and teachers!) but your kid is miserable and they don't retain what they learned anyway.
kids need a day to recover anyway! good luck and snuggle your little girl

2 moms found this helpful

my daughter got a low grade fever since yesterday. got to 100 at one point. that is LOW for us. she usually gets over 103. she has a small cough and that is it. i kept her home from school. the school nurse called to check on her and was surprised that i kept her home with just 100f fever and she said next time if it is that low i should let her go.
well 100 or not my daughter was miserable. she got her chicken soup, fruit smoothie, lots of TLC and watched a movie with mom. hell to the no taking anybody anywhere when they're sick. and i always get upset when i see a miserable child in school (i volunteer a lot), and i know that child got a dose of medicine and off to school. well that child gets 16 others sick and for what? because he/she was not kept at home, as appropriate. instead of one child sick the class gets the viruses being bounced off from one child to another.

2 moms found this helpful

I would keep her home just because if she goes to school feeling bad she will not do what is exspected of her at school. This way she can rest up and return to school sooner.
Kim R.

2 moms found this helpful

hello you keep her home. when my son was in school kids where sent to school sick. The problem with this was my son has cerbal palsy and always caought it. And he would end up in the hospital because of careless parents. i am not saying you are but some people have no feelings for other people. just because a kid is playing doesnt mean it well enough to go to school.

2 moms found this helpful

I think having a sore throat warrants staying home from school. She probably feels awful and, if that's the case, why send her to school when she wouldn't be very productive anyway. It's just going to be wasted time and she's going to be miserable and, after she spreads her germs around, then everyone else is going to be miserable as well.

My rule of thumb is that if my kids simply have a drippy nose, I will send them to school. If they have a fever or if they have any other physical complaints, then they stay home.

I think you are right that home is the place where your daughter needs to be right now. I don't think her academic record will suffer if she were to miss a day or two of school right now.

Hope your daughter feels better soon.

2 moms found this helpful

Well, it kind of depends. You know your child best. Sometimes when my child is coughing and sneezing and nose running, I keep him home a day or two. But I can't keep him home for the duration of a cold--10 days or so, obviously. My son also has allergies and if I kept him home every day that he had a runny nose, it would be almost everyday! I make sure he has Kleenex, I keep his teacher stocked with boxes Kleenex, and that he washed/gels his hands after he blows his nose. (Teachers really appreciate getting boxes of Kleenex b/c at our school anyway, this is something they need to buy themselves!)

2 moms found this helpful

I always ask them to try and go to school and if they feel that bad to go to the nurse and have her call me. They tend to feel better as the day goes and they don't always realize that they don't feel good.

My typical policy is that no fever and no vomitting means school is in for them.

2 moms found this helpful

runny nose and a little cough, yeah, I'd send her to school. bloodshot eyes and a sore throat? No, I'd keep her home and possibly even run her to the doctor just to make sure it's nothing too serious. (But then, all my cousins and their babies have been getting strep lately....i'm sort of in fear of it making its way to my house)

2 moms found this helpful

Hi Sonia
If she were my kid, I would assess how bad she feels and then go from there. If my kid just had a runny nose, but is running around the house and playing and acting 'normal', then I think I'd send them to school. If she is out of energy and is really acting sick, I'd keep her home. I know I've had days when I've had a cold that I just feel miserable and maybe staying home would just help me gather some strength and rest to get myself back together so that hopefully I could get back to life the next day.
I would have done what you did. Besides, she's a kid and the only time it really counts to miss school is in college. Sometimes men don't get it.
Hope this helps you
PJ

2 moms found this helpful

Would your husband want to go to WORK feeling like that? I'm just sayin...

2 moms found this helpful

As long as there is no fever and cold meds seem to control the symptoms enough to make them feel better i would send my kids to school. Colds are going to spead in a school environment no matter what you do it just the way it is in fact thats probably where she got it. If she has any kind of fever or the meds dont take her out of the miserable state then by all means keep her home to rest for a day or 2 or until at least 24 hours after the fever is gone.

My son who is turning 5 on friday is not being sent to school today...normally I would send him tho if he wants to go and has no fever. The weather where I'm at today is rechid so that's the main reason he's home...def don't want it getting worse...there is ice outside everywhere. The only time he gets to stay home otherwise is if he has a fever or he's visibly ill (looks weak or disoriented, not acting like himself) as hard as they're making school he definitely shouldnt miss school for a cold that has no major symptoms. Teaching our children the importance of covering their mouths while coughing and to wash their hands afterward will decrease the chance of passing it to other ppl. My child isn't going to miss out on days of education if he feels well enough for a "maybe" that another child will get sick.

*B*

Hi,
I think you know the answer to this question just by the fact that you asked it. A child should stay home with you so no other kids get sick even if your child can make it through the day. I am not passing any judgement on you. We have all been there where after days of a sick child, you just want to send them sick or not. Hopefully you know what to do. Good luck!
-J

if she has a bad sore throte or temp. of 100 keep her home

My rule of thumb is NO FEVER NO STAYING HOME! If I let my kids stay home every time they got a cold, I would constantly have a sick kid home! The school policy is do not send kids to school if they have a fever or flu symptoms. I follow that. If she is not sick enough for a doctors visit then I would bet she is able to go to school. I would give her cold medicine to help with the symtoms and when she gets home from school have her do homework and then rest and get good nights sleep. Make sure she gets plenty of fluids and plenty of rest!

unless there is a fever mine go to school.

Depends on the age. Kindergarten through 3rd grade, they are not going to miss much by being out a day or two. 4th grade and higher, if my son is going to be out more than a day, I'll email his teacher and I'll pick up the homework for him to do at home so he doesn't get too behind. Generally, I look for a few things. Fever, throwing up and/or diarrhea mean staying home. For a scratchy throat and sniffles, I'd give him some non drowsy cold medicine and send him in. It's just not practical keeping them home for every little thing, and the school realizes this too. The germs get spread no matter what you do and they are contagious at least 2 - 3 days before exhibiting symptoms.

Totally. When I worked I was there everyday no matter what. I don't know any adult that would miss work just for a cold. In our opinion, school is our childrens' "work" right now until such a time as they graduate and secure employment outside the home. Thus, we want to teach our children that one doesn't miss work just because you feel bad and that extends to school. Our son attends school as we do whether he feel awesome or have a crappy cold. He always says he feels better once he gets to school and usually has a good day once he's there.

**HOWEVER**
my son's public school also has a school nurse who is there to administer meds, and she is the first to say,"Your child should NOT be here" if it's questionable - temp over 100, green snot, vomiting or diarrhea. It's the only public I've ever heard of with a nurse still, but we're glad we have her! Additionally, it's very easy for us to secure a dr's appt immediately following the school day so there's really no need to keep a child home unless there's a fever.

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