School Etiquette During Flu Season

Posted in Blog, Parenting

Day 25-10:45 pm: As you may know I work part time at my toddler’s preschool. It’s so great because she gets to go for FREE and I get to be there with her to watch her grow and interact with friends. I love it. But, there’s also a not-so-great part about it. Flu season.

When working at a preschool not only does your kid pick up every cold, but so do you.

I have worked at schools and preschools in the past and have found that at each new school comes a new set of colds and flus. Generally I’m catching a new cold or flu every week for the first few months I’m working there, then it gets better. Kids just carry germs and pass them around freely. They say it’s good for the immune system (but as my hubby would say, “Who’s ‘they’?”

But I’m telling you, having a cold all the time isn’t fun for anyone, and being a worry-wart of a parent I’m constantly stressed that my little one is going to catch it. Since I work at her school, if I see a kid coughing or with a runny nose, I’ll purposely make sure she doesn’t play with them, or sit next to them at lunch. I will try to keep her as far away as possible.

Which brings me to my point.

If your kid is not feeing well, DON’T SEND THEM TO SCHOOL!! (Please)

Seriously, if your kid has giant green snot boogies pouring out of their nose that they are constantly wiping all over their face, hands, and sleeves, keep them home! I don’t know what possesses a parent to send their kid to school like that. I’m sorry, it’s just a big pet peeve of mine. If my toddler wakes up in the morning and has green snot pouring from her nose I’m going to keep her home. Why would I send her to school to feel miserable and get all the other kids sick??

And what really gets me is that when I or one of the other teachers politely mention to the mom or dad that their kid has been pouring snot all over the place and that they should probably keep them home, the parents play dumb like “Oh really? He seemed fine this morning. I’ll keep an eye on it…” I’m sorry, you didn’t notice your son was blowing giant green snot bubbles on his way to school??

Give me a break.

I get it, some parents have to go to work and can’t take off, or their daycare charges you whether your kid is there or not. But please don’t play dumb. I see it so often. Find a babysitter if you can. You don’t want your kid to be miserable at school and you don’t want to pass it around to everyone else.

Don’t be the parent giving your kid Tylenol in the car in front of the school to reduce their fever so they can still go.

It won’t do anyone any good.

There are so many different ways to find a babysitter like or even that you should just know that your kid’s gonna catch a cold and have someone lined up in case they do.

And if you see another parent bring their kid to school obviously not feeling well, says something! I do. I usually say something polite like, “Oh no, little Johnny looks like he’s not feeling well. Has he had it for a long time?” Usually the parents say something like “I didn’t notice.” Or “He seems like he’s ok.”

It’s also hard to tell when it’s OK to send them to school or not. Generally I follow these guidelines:

  • If they have a fever keep them home (even if it’s just 99) and wait until their fever breaks and they haven’t had one for 24 hours to send them to school.
  • If they are vommiting or vommited that morning, keep them home. Even if you think it was just car sickness on the way to school. (Seriously, parents have come in saying, “He just threw up on the way to school, but I think he was just car sick.” I don’t care! Keep him home just in case!)
  • If they have a bad cough that sounds wet or “croupy” keep them home until the cough improves or their energy is back up. I know coughs can last weeks, but if you’re in the first few days of the cough and the kid seems lathargic or not themselves. Keep them home for a couple days.
  • If your child has green or yellow snot pouring from their face that they can spread all over the toys, keep them home. I know this too can last a little while, but if you’re in the first 2-3 days of the pouring snot, keep them home just in case. They most likely will pass it along and aren’t feeling well.

*I am not giving medical advice. Obviously if your child doesn’t feel well you should talk to a medical professional. This is just my opinion as a parent and a teacher.

Just think about how you feel when you have a cold. It sucks right? Your throat hurts, your nose won’t stop running, and you’re weak. Why would you want to force your kid to go to school when you wouldn’t want to go to work. All you want to do is lay on the couch and watch movies. That’s what they want too.

So please be considerate of your kid’s feelings and of the other kids in the class. Use common sense and keep your kid home if you have to. The teachers thank you. The parents thank you. The kids thank you. And most importantly, your kid thanks you.