This weekend we are re-posting one of most popular blog posts ever. Cold and flu season is here. We have had teachers, office staff, Educational Assistants and students all away. Some of these folks have been away for five days, an entire week of school, and are still not feeling 100% when they return; that’s how bad this flu has been.
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. Please do not leave a sick child with us in the hopes he or she will feel better “once they get to school.”
We’re here to remind you that we 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 the children has to come first.
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 tissue, not picking noses or wiping noses on sleeves. We’re reminding the children daily not to touch their faces, or put their fingers into their noses or mouths. Good health and social habits start at a very young age and must be continually reinforced by parents.
Parents are the adults who make the responsible decision if their children are healthy enough to attend school, or not. If your child has vomited, had diarrhea or a fever, your child needs to be at least 24 hours symptom free before returning to school. That means for a full 24-day your child has not vomited, has not had diarrhea and has not had a fever. 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. Even a “little fever” is still cause for being cautious.
Your child should, and must, stay at home to rest and make a full recovery. We ask you to do this out of respect for the health of the Kindergarten classrooms, the teaching staff and the wider school community.
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 to 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 to enjoy being at school or work when we are not feeling at our best. 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.
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.