Your child’s back-to-school checklist likely includes a lot of things — buying school supplies, signing permission forms, packing lunch bags. Getting sick probably isn’t on this to-do list; although, it’s often inevitable that heading back into the classroom leads to germs being passed around.
In addition to catching the usual mix of cold and flu bugs, kids are at risk of catching COVID-19. With the rapidly evolving guidance around when kids should stay home from school when they’re feeling sick — and when they should return — parents might be wondering what’s best.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a kid who woke up feeling less than 100% may not have decided to stay home. Today, that’s not necessarily the case.
“The acceptableness of going out into public while you’re ill has just changed over the last several years,” says pediatrician Adam Keating, MD. “It probably wasn’t a great idea before to send kids to school who potentially have influenza or even significant respiratory symptoms, like coughing. But now, COVID is among those other respiratory viruses in which we’d ask people to stay home if they’re sick.”