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Bearbrook Combined School

An Academy of the Great Learners Trust


Medical Information

When I should send my child to school

Sickness “48-hour rule”


From time to time children are sick (vomit) either at home or at school. Unfortunately, it is not possible to distinguish between the causes, and therefore it is essential that the same rule of exclusion applies in all cases of vomiting or Diarrhoea.


In the Health Protection Agency document, “Guidelines for the Control of Infection and Communicable Disease in School and Early Years Settings”, the guidance is:


Diarrhoea and Vomiting exclusion


Diarrhoea and/or vomiting commonly affects children and staff and can be caused by a number of different germs, including viruses, parasites and bacteria. Infections can be easily spread from person to person (by unwashed hands), especially in children. In general, it is recommended that any staff member or child with diarrhoea and/or vomiting symptoms must stay away or be excluded from the school or early years setting until they have been free of symptoms for 48 hours (the ‘48 hour rule’) and feel well. Personal hygiene whilst ill must be very strict.


If your child is sick at school, we will ask you or your emergency contact to take your child home. They should not return for 48 hours. We appreciate that this is inconvenient in many cases, and you may not believe your child is ill, but you will appreciate that we do this in all cases and it should reduce the risk of infection for all children in school.  As an example, if your child is sick at lunchtime on a Tuesday, they should not return to school until after lunch on Thursday, provided there have not been any further episodes of vomiting.


Thank you for your understanding with this.  


When it's fine for children to come to school 


Cold Sores

There's no need to keep your child off school if they have a cold sore - a tiny blister that develops on the lips or around the mouth. Urge them not to touch the blister or kiss anyone while they have the cold sore, or to share things like cups and towels.


Again, you don't need to keep your child away from school if they have conjunctivitis, an eye condition caused by infection or allergies. The NHS recommends you get advice from your pharmacist and encourage your child not to rub their eyes and to wash their hands regularly.

Coughs and colds

It's fine to send your child to school with a minor cough or cold. However, if they have a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease is particularly common in children and causes ulcers, or sores, inside or around the mouth, and a rash or blisters on the hands, feet, legs or buttocks. While it's not pleasant, it's not serious and there's no need to keep children off school if they have it.

Head lice and nits

It's very common for young children to get head lice given their heads are often close together as they play or do their schoolwork. While they spread easily at school, the NHS says there's no need to keep them at home. However, parents should let their teacher know if their child has them and remove the nits through wet combing.

Slapped cheek syndrome

Slapped cheek syndrome is a viral infection and usually causes a bright red rash on the cheeks. Although the rash can look alarming, children do not need to be kept off school because once the rash appears, they're no longer infectious. If you suspect your child has the infection, take them to the GP and let school know if they're diagnosed with it. It should clear up on its own within three weeks.

Sore throat

You're OK to send your child to school if they have a sore throat. However, if they also have a fever you should keep them at home until it goes away.


Threadworms are tiny worms in your poo that look like pieces of white thread. While they sound scary, they can be treated without seeing your GP and you can buy medicine for threadworms from pharmacies. You don't have to keep your child off school but make sure you treat everyone in your household, even if they do not have symptoms.


Ringworm is a common fungal infection in kids and normally causes a red or silver rash. The NHS says to see your pharmacist unless it's on their scalp, in which case you should see your GP. It's fine for your child to go to school once they have started treatment.


When children shouldn't go to school



If your child has chickenpox you should keep them off school until all the spots have crusted over. This is usually about five days after the spots first appeared.

Diarrhoea or vomiting

Children with diarrhoea or vomiting should stay away from school for two days after their symptoms have gone.  They're often caused by a stomach bug and should stop in a few days.

Ear infection

If your child has an ear infection and a fever or severe earache, keep them off school until they're feeling better or their fever goes away. Ear infections often get better on their own within three days, although sometimes symptoms can last up to a week.


A normal temperature in babies and children is about 36.4C, but this can vary slightly from child to child. A fever is a high temperature of 38C or more - and is very common in young kids. If your child has a fever, keep them off school until the fever goes away.  The temperature usually returns to normal within three or four days.

Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever triggers flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature of 38C or above, a sore throat, swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck) and a rash a few days later. If your child has
scarlet fever, they'll need treatment with antibiotics from the GP - otherwise they'll be infectious for two to three weeks. Your child can go back to school 24 hours after starting antibiotics.


Impetigo is a skin infection that's very contagious so it's best to keep your child off school if they have it.