Windsor High School and Sixth Form, Richmond Street, Halesowen, B63 4BB
Part of Windsor Academy Trust

Is my child too ill for school?

6th March 2024

It is important that if your child is well enough to be in school that they attend each day. However, determining whether or not to send your child to school when they are unwell can be a challenging decision. 

The NHS has recently provided updated guidance about common illnesses and school attendance, which we have summarised for parents below. 

If you do decide to keep your child at home due to illness, it is important to contact school on the first day of their absence and inform them of the reason. Equally, if your child is well enough to go to school but has an infection that could be passed on, such as a cold sore or head lice, please let the school office know.  

NHS advice on common illness and school attendance:

Coughs and Colds: For minor coughs and common colds, it is fine to send your child to school. However, if they have a fever, it is advisable to keep them home until the fever subsides. Encourage your child to dispose of used tissues properly and practise regular handwashing.

High Temperature: Should your child have a high temperature (38C or more), it is best to keep them at home until their temperature returns to normal.

Chickenpox: In cases of chickenpox, please keep your child home until all the spots have crusted over. This typically takes about five days from the appearance of the first spots.

Cold Sores: There is no need to keep your child off school if they have a cold sore. Encourage them not to touch the blister, kiss others, or share personal items like cups and towels during this time.

Conjunctivitis: Children with conjunctivitis do not need to stay away from school. It is advisable to seek advice from your pharmacist and encourage your child not to rub their eyes, practising regular handwashing.

COVID-19: For mild symptoms of COVID-19, such as a runny nose, sore throat, or a slight cough, and if your child feels well enough, they can attend school. However, if they have the symptoms of COVID-19 alongside a high temperature or do not feel well enough to participate in normal activities, it is important to keep them at home. Your child is no longer required to do a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test if they have symptoms. But if your child has tested positive for COVID-19, they should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for three days after the day they took the test.

Ear Infection: In cases of ear infection with a high temperature or severe earache, please keep your child home until they are feeling better or their temperature subsides.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease: Children with hand, foot, and mouth disease can attend school if they seem well enough. Encourage them to dispose of used tissues promptly and practise regular handwashing.

Head Lice: There is no need to keep your child off school if they have head lice. Effective treatments are available without the need to see a GP.

Impetigo: Children with impetigo will require treatment from a GP, often involving antibiotics. Please keep them home until all sores have crusted over and healed, or for 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment. Remind your child to wash their hands regularly and avoid sharing personal items.

Ringworm: For ringworm infections, consult your pharmacist unless it is on the scalp, in which case, a GP's evaluation is necessary. Your child can return to school once treatment has commenced.

Scarlet Fever: If your child is diagnosed with scarlet fever, they will need antibiotics from a GP. Otherwise they’ll be infectious for two to three weeks. After starting antibiotic treatment, your child can return to school after 24 hours.

Measles: If your child is diagnosed with measles, stay at home for at least four days after a rash develops, to avoid spreading the infection.

Slapped Cheek Syndrome (Fifth Disease): Children with slapped cheek syndrome are no longer infectious once the rash appears, so there is no need to keep them away from school. However, please inform the school or teacher if you suspect your child has this condition.

Sore Throat: Children with a sore throat can still attend school, but if they also have a high temperature, it is best to keep them home until the temperature subsides. A sore throat and high temperature may be symptoms of tonsillitis.

Threadworms: You do not need to keep your child off school if they have threadworms. Your pharmacist can recommend a suitable treatment.

Vomiting and Diarrhoea: Children with vomiting or diarrhoea should stay away from school until they feel well enough.

Mild winter illnesses flyer V4