How Many Days Can a Child Miss School?

Updated on March 14, 2011
J.J. asks from Milwaukee, WI
11 answers

My son has already missed a bunch of school this year due to colds running through the family. I don't send my kids if they are feeling miserable or I think they will get other kid sick because of a bad cough/sneezing. This time around my son started out with throwing up all night and into the next day and a day of the poops. So bad he didn't make it to the toilet about 4 times. I was going to send him this morning and pulling out of the driveway he had an accident. I called school and left a message telling them to call me back if he needed a drs excuse because I got an answering machine. I'm just wondering if it's usually 3 days in a row that requires one and I know the Dr. will say it's a viral infection and won't give him anything so is it possible they would fax an excuse to the school if he needs one?

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So What Happened?

I have the hand book right here and didn't even think of looking in there for the info. It doesn't say we need an excuse but i did leave his symptoms on the answering machine so the school knows. It actually did say to do that so I did something right.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would find out what make up work he needs to have if he's been out a lot/going to be out a while. Hope he feels better soon.

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answers from Dallas on

I think you need to check with the school to find out what there policy is. Its different in different districts.

For this kind of illness, you are absolutely right to keep him home.

If he is really feeling miserable (ie -too sick to play) with a cold, then keep him home.

If he has a cough, runny nose, etc, but can play and has no fever, send him to school. As a former teacher, I can tell you that there are kids at school coughing all day, every day. Yes - they get each other sick, but its just not realistic for kids to stay home if they have a cold. Just like its not realistic for most people to stay home from work if they have a cold.

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answers from Johnstown on

In PA, the child cannot return to school w/out a handwritten note from the parents for up to 2 days missed. After 2 days, a dr's excuse must be submitted. They are allowed 10% of the school year before the parents and child's health start to be investigated.

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answers from San Antonio on

Most schools allow 5 days per quarter/10 days per semester. I would check with the school or district website. there is usually a parent/student handbook that is electronic that will tell you the exact absence policy.

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answers from St. Louis on

Our handbook from the school tells us. Check with the school. Sorry you are having such a rough time with illnesses - we are too!

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answers from Boston on

I think can only miss so many days per year without a dr note. In my kids school they can only miss 4 days before parents start to get in trouble with out notes.

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answers from Boston on

I'd be surprised if you needed a doctor's excuse for a few days. Usually they require just a note from the parents saying the child is sick. The schools just want to be sure a family is on top of things and the kids aren't truant. At least that's how it is in our state.

I think you might consider strengthening your child's immune system since it doesn't seem that he can fight anything off. I think it's good that you keep your kids at home when they are contagious and feeling miserable, but it seems you are having a tough year.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't know the specifics in your state, but in TX a child cannot miss more than 90% of school days (without a dr. or court note) or they will not receive credit for that grade. You probably should speak with someone in the office to make sure that you won't need some sort of documentation since he's missed so many days over the course of the year. (BTW, by the time a kid is showing cold symptoms (coughing, sneezing, etc.) they have probably already exposed their classmates to the germs. As long as mine aren't running fever or extremely fatigued, I send mine to school.)



answers from Minneapolis on

No one with a shred of common sense would expect your son to go to school if he is having accidents from an illness. Just call the school and explain what happened. They should mark him excused. There is A LOT of stuff going around this winter. I totally value good attendance, but my poor daughter has had quite a bit of illness and missed school this year, nothing I can do about it. It happens. Check your school handbook for policy regarding doctor's notes if they are required and after how many days. If it looks like they require a note for him to return because it has been past that number of days, call your pediatrician and explain his symptoms and how long he has been out of school. If the nurse/doctor do not feel the need to see him but you still need an excuse note, ask them to fax the school that you had a phone consultation, your son is out of school due to illness. If this is just the first day he his out (his other absences have been in the past) I wouldn't think they would require a doctor's note. Schools need to trust the parents and know that there are times they are too sick to be in school, but a trip to the doctor's office isn't quite warranted yet either.



answers from Madison on

In response to how many days can a child miss from daughter was very sickly when she was younger, and also had a lot of doctor appointments she had to go to. I can't remember which grade it was--I think 2nd or 3rd--I did get a letter that came home (when there were about 2-3 months of school yet to go) stating that she'd missed 17 days of school and that any more missed days had to have a doctor's note and/or I had to specifically call and talk to the school as to why she wouldn't be attending. I was, to put it mildly, unaware that she'd actually missed that many days--although I knew it had been a few.

So yes, there is a "number" that the school starts checking up on the kid. My daughter attends school in the Oregon, WI district, south of Madison.



answers from Chicago on

Unless your child missed like a MONTH of school and his grades have dropped, don't sweat it. YOU are the parent. I think having a doctor's excuse for your child is nice, but not really necessary. At my son's school if they have a fever or are puking or might be getting strep they absolutely DON'T want them there!! They don't want everyone to get it.

What you could do is get in touch with you son's teachers ( we use the school email) and ask if you can pick up some homework for him to do over the weekend when he is feeling a little better, so he won't be too far behind. Or just ask them to email you back and let you know what the class was working on. Just keep in touch- teachers really appreciate that, and it shows that you are mindful that absences can affect your son's grades.

But honestly, don't worry about it. You don't say how old your son is, but unless he is in high school, he is probably not missing anything he can't catch up on! I hope he feels better soon!!

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