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Dear Parent/Guardian:

As per our practice, we wanted to provide you with some information about when to keep your child home from school. 

As you know, the influenza virus is widespread.  We want to keep your child as well as possible but we need everyone's help to keep the school environment as healthy as possible. 

PLEASE make sure your current contact information (telephone number, emergency contact numbers, email addresses, etc.) are correct and on file in the office or in power school.  Sometimes children are well when they leave home but quickly become sick while at school!!  We need to be able to contact parents or emergency contacts who will need to be able to pick their child up if they are sick.  They need reliable transportation so please list someone who can come pick up the child at school!!

Measure your child's temperature at home to see if they have a fever.  Do not ask your child to come to the nurse or health assistant AFTER arriving at school to have their temperature taken! 

If your child has a temperature above 100 degrees, has vomiting or diarrhea, or has an uncontrollable cough, please do not send them to school and seek medical evaluation as needed.  After the flu, a child can return to school once their temperature is normal for 24 hours WITHOUT any medications to lower their temperature. 

If your child is diagnosed with strep throat, earache, or other illness that requires antibiotics, your child's health care provider will indicate when they can return to school on their school excuse.  Please don't send them until their health care provider has indicated because often it takes a specific amount of time for antibiotics to work and prevent spread to others.

Also please ask your child to wash their hands frequently at home and school and to avoid touching their face (eyes, nose or mouth) during the day.  They will be given opportunities at school to wash their hands frequently but if you want to pack an individual hand sanitizer, please feel free to do so.  Also, talk to them about appropriate ways to cough (into their elbow) and to use good personal space from their neighbors (avoid lots of hugging, avoid sharing drinks or food, etc.). 

Differences between Common Colds and the Flu

     Colds                                                                                       FLU

A common cold is a contagious upper respiratory infection caused by cold viruses.  It is the most frequent childhood illness.  Symptoms last 7 - 14 days.  A child with no fever, mild symptoms and otherwise feeling fine may attend school.  WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL:

Child with severe symptoms such as a deep or uncontrollable cough, lack of energy at home even without a fever.

The flu is highly contagious respiratory illnesses caused by influenza viruses.  A person is contagious with the flu and can be contagious for up to one week after symptoms appear.  A child with flu like symptoms (fever and cough) should stay home from school for 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of fever, without the use of fever-reducing medications.  A fever is defined as a temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.  If symptoms occur during school hours, the child must be picked up as soon as possible from school.

Symptoms come on gradually

Symptoms usually come on quickly

Fever is rare in older children and adults but can have fever in infants and small children

Fever typically high (above 102) and usually lasts 3 - 4 days.

Cough, mild, hacking; may last up to 2 weeks

Cough often and may be severe

Headache rare

Headache sudden onset and can be severe

Muscle aches mild or none

Body and muscle aches moderate to severe

Weakness mild

Tiredness or weakness for severe days to week

Extreme exhaustion never

Extreme exhaustion sudden onset and can be severe

Vomiting and diarrhea never

Vomiting and diarrhea sometimes/more often in children

Runny nose often (starts as clear, may change to yellow and green and then returns to clear)

Runny nose sometimes

Sneezing often

Sneezing sometimes

Sore throat often

Sore throat sometimes