We have too many sick children coming to Kindergarten this year.
We’ve been teaching long enough to know when sick children are coming to school. It’s more than just having an “off day.” We know because the first thing some of the children say to us when they walk in the classroom is, “I feel sick.” If we’re quick enough to find out that your child had a fever the night before, or threw up, we’re going to ask you to come back to the classroom to take your little one home.
We’re here to gently remind you that we have to take sickness very seriously at school. We have to because there are so many students, their siblings, parents and grandparents who can be affected. Not to mention the teaching staff and all of their families. We simply are unable to look after sick children here at school. We all have our teaching or office responsibilities so we really do not have extra adults to sit with a sick child. Besides, your children would really prefer to be at home, in their own bed, with you to look after them.
We know it’s inconvenient taking a day or more off from work to be at home, but the health of our children has to come first. A number of years ago when we were still job-sharing, Christy and I both developed a bad stomach flu which spread immediately to our families. Between the two of us, we were away for about three weeks caring for sick children and sick husbands at home with a variety of substitute teachers covering for us. But not one student in our class got sick from us because we were determined to stay home until we were healthy and strong enough to be back in the classroom.
It goes without saying that a classroom is a hotbed for germs; nobody wants to talk about it but it’s true. In Kindergarten, we share all of our school supplies. Germs move around from pencils to crayons to felt pens to gluesticks to scissors– just like that. We all share math manipulatives, building blocks, dollhouse figures and puzzle pieces. That’s why we have such a huge emphasis on self-care, particularly handwashing before students eat and after using the bathroom; and noseblowing with a kleenex, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves which is NOT an acceptable alternative. We are still reminding the children daily not to put their fingers into their noses or mouths. Children are sneezing without covering their noses and coughing directly on their peers and teachers. Good hygiene and social habits start at a very young age and must be reinforced by you, their parents.
If your children have had a fever the night before, and seem a little better in the morning, please keep them at home. They probably did not have a good sleep and should take it easy. There is no such thing as a “little fever.” Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.
If your children have vomited, or been vomiting, they should stay at home. Ideally, your child would have cleared at least 24 hours of no vomiting before they come back to school. No child wants to vomit at school, it is horribly embarrassing for your child and very difficult to deal with for the rest of the class. We all need to leave the classroom; the custodian must be summoned to sprinkle absorbent powder on the vomit and then we have to wait for that process.
If your children have a runny nose that they cannot independently manage (the teachers do not help children with runny noses) or a persistent cough, then a day or two at home to get better is for their benefit. We’re far too busy in our school day for children to recuperate at school.
We know your child wants to come back to school and may appear ready. But the expectations of following classroom rules; the pro-social demands of self-regulation and cooperating and sharing with peers; and the academic requirements are more than they can handle when they are not feeling healthy. Allow your child the time get back to feeling they are ready to face a busy day of school with patience, resilience, stamina and energy for learning, getting along with friends and playing outdoors. Not one of us is able enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best. You wouldn’t go to work sick, so why would you insist that your child go to school sick? You know when your child is not well and it is our responsibility as parents to intervene and insist they take the extra day to rest.
Christy and I always get our flu shots for prevention but we will be away if we get sick. As of today, Christy is away with a very dreadful cold that she has been fighting; we wish her a speedy recovery. For the sake of our classroom community and everybody’s good health, please keep your children at home if they are sick.
Your Kindergarten Child’s Good Health, continues to be one of the most read posts ever at theselfregulatedteacher.com. You can read our original post here.