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Should your sick student stay at home? San Juan Unified releases updated health guidance for staff and guardians

Should your sick student stay at home? San Juan Unified releases updated health guidance for staff and guardians


“Should I send my sick child to school?” or “Should I send this sick student home?” — These are common questions asked by San Juan Unified School District parents and staff.

In late 2023, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released new guidelines for what actions to take if a student is showing symptoms of an illness while at school. The following are San Juan Unified’s updated guidelines, developed in alignment with CDPH guidance.

Assessment of the student:
If a child appears very sick and requires emergency care, staff should follow their site’s emergency management procedures and call 911.

However, if a student does not require emergency care, staff should consider sending them home if they show symptoms that prevent them from participating in school activities or if they need greater care than what staff can provide. Sending a student home is at a site’s discretion. 

After you have decided to send home:
Once the decision has been made to send a student home, staff should follow three steps: notify the student’s guardian, find a safe place for the student to wait where they can be supervised and inform their guardian of the child’s symptoms. Staff can also help provide guidance for when the student should return and document the date and time of symptoms, as well as what actions were taken.

When to keep a student home:
Parents/guardians should also monitor their child if symptoms of any illness appear. A child who is overall not feeling well should stay home if their symptoms prevent them “from participating meaningfully in routine activities,” according to San Juan Unified’s latest guidance.

Children should also stay home if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, have vomited more than twice in 24 hours, and if they have diarrhea and are unlikely to make it to the toilet on time. 

Students with symptoms like a sore throat, cough, runny nose and sneezing are OK to attend class if they have mild symptoms, but parents/guardians should consider having them wear a mask if they are two years of age or older. If these symptoms are more severe, parents/guardians should keep their child home and seek medical attention. 

Students with ear/eye irritation or those with a rash can also attend school if they have mild symptoms, but should stay home and seek medical attention if these symptoms worsen. 

Find CDPH’s full guidance here. Anyone looking for further information can consult their school’s office.