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When To Stay Home

Mercer Island School District Wellness: When to Stay Home

Mercer Island School District believes that healthy students engage and learn better in school. In an effort to promote wellness, students, staff and visitors should stay home if they are experiencing the following symptoms of a diagnosed or undiagnosed illness:

  • Fever – Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or higher should be kept home from school.  In order to return to school, the individual should be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication. When a person has a fever they are contagious and can infect others. Do not give a student fever reducing medication and send them to school, as giving fever reducing medication does not make them well.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea – Do not send a child to school if they have vomiting or diarrhea. A student may return to school if it has been 24 hours since the last incident of vomiting or diarrhea. Bathrooms have long been known to be a possible source for transmitting infectious microorganisms due to the aerosolization of biomatter. 
  • Persistent and/or productive cough unrelated to a known health condition – Coughing spreads illness such as influenza, RSV, whooping cough and COVID-19. Keep students home until the cough has significantly improved and consider having students wear a mask once they return to school until the cough has resolved. 
  • COVID-19 – If someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, they should follow Washington Department of Health recommendations for schools which includes staying home for 5 days after onset of symptoms or diagnosis, whichever is first.  Individuals may return to school on day 6 if they have been fever free for 24 hours, but should wear a mask at school on days 6-10. Click  here for guidance from WA DOH on when to return to school. Please notify your school nurse if your student tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Strep Throat A student with a confirmed diagnosis of strep throat may return to school after 24 hours of appropriate treatment.
  • Sore Throat – Anyone with a sore throat that is also accompanied by fever, cough, or gastrointestinal symptoms should stay home until they are feeling better, are fever free for 24 hours without medication, cough has improved, and the person has been vomit or diarrhea free for 24 hours. Consider consulting a medical provider if sore throat persists. 
  • Pink Eye – White or yellow drainage, vision changes, and/or redness of the sclera, eyelid or area around the eye may be an indication that your child has conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye. A student with these symptoms should be kept home from school and be evaluated by a medical provider. A student may return to school upon medical provider approval.  Minimal redness to the white of the eye with no other symptoms is not grounds for exclusion. 
  • Rash – Rash illnesses can be difficult to diagnose and itchiness of a rash is not a signal of infectiousness or non-infectiousness. Please contact the school nurse if your child is experiencing a rash so they can determine if your child can attend school. 
  • Chicken pox – Students are infectious 1-2 days before the rash appears and until blisters (sores) are dry and crusted, typically 5-6 days after the rash appears.  Students must stay home until all lesions have crusted over and there are no new lesions in 24 hours. Please contact the school nurse if your child is diagnosed with chicken pox.

Updated 4/19/2023