Mobile County Public School System Health Policy

When Should Your Child NOT Be At School

(Revised 8-9-2021)

Many parents are concerned about when to keep children who have been ill home from school. The following are a few of the most common reasons children should stay home or may be sent home from school.


1. COVID-like Illness - If your child has any of the following symptoms, please keep them at home and consult with your physician to rule out COVID-19:

  • Fever (100 degrees or greater) or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (not related to other conditions)
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If your physician diagnoses your child or anyone in the home with COVID-19, please contact your school nurse immediately so that proper contact tracing can be initiated. Please adhere to isolation/quarantine orders issued by the ADPH, MCHD, or your physician.


2. FEVER:Your child should stay home if he/she has a fever of 100 degrees (orally) or higher and should remain home for 72 hours after the fever has gone without medication.


3. VOMITING AND/OR DIARRHEA: Your child should stay home if he/she has vomited or had diarrhea (more than two or three loose stools) the night before or just prior to the start of the school day and remain at home for 48 hours after the vomiting/diarrhea have subsided. If one or two loose stools are present along with vomiting or fever, your child should remain at home. If diarrhea continues for more than 48 hours, your child will need a doctor’s written statement to return to school.


4. PINKEYE: Conjunctivitis can be very contagious. If the white if your child’s eye is red and has thick yellow or greenish colored drainage, you should keep your child at home and contact your child’s physician.

● Drainage due to allergies is usually clear and involves both eyes simultaneously.

● Pinkeye can involve only one eye at a time.

● Children with pinkeye are usually light sensitive, and complain of itching, burning in the eye(s), swollen eyelids, and dried discharge on eyelids upon awakening.


5. HEAD LICE: Children SHALL NOT be excluded from school for active infestation or when nits remain after appropriate treatment, as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC. Parents will be contacted, and recommendations given.


6. IMPETIGO: Impetigo is sores that have become infected and can be found anywhere on the body including the face. The sores can drain infected material before becoming crusty. If the sores have not dried, they will need to be covered while the child is in school. Your child can return to school once treated by a physician for at least 24 hrs. Upon returning to school, the parent will need to provide a written statement from the treating physician.                                           


7. RINGWORM: Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin, hair, and nails. Ringworms must be covered with a clean dressing while the child is at school. Ringworm of the head (hair) will need to be evaluated by a physician.


8. RASHES: Any child that has an undiagnosed rash cannot come to school. When the child is sent home from school with a rash, a physician’s note is required for the child to return to school.


9. COUGHING/SNEEZING/NASAL DRAINAGE: Your child should not come to school with excessive coughing, sneezing, and nasal drainage. If the student has been kept awake at night with these interruptions, please allow the child to recover at home.


10. STREP THROAT: If your child is diagnosed as having strep throat (this requires a special test by a health care provider), your child should stay home for 48 hours after the physician has started antibiotic therapy.


Remember: A doctor’s completion of the appropriate forms must accompany any medications that are to be given during the school day. (See the medication policy regarding the temporary administration of medications).


Please keep emergency contact phone numbers current in the school office.