The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has extensive information about proper hand washing on their website.
Sending a sick child to school benefits no one.
I understand that many parents work and need to have their children watched and cared for during the workday. I understand that keeping a sick child home from school means usually taking a day off from work, and possibly forfeiting pay to care for them. I understand how this can be difficult.
But the truth is that one sick child puts many people at risk. Think about it. One sick child is in close contact with many other students. He or she is in contact with teachers, aides, other school staff members, and parent volunteers. These people get sneezed or coughed on, or touch a contaminated surface, and then bring the germs home to their own families, who then spread them to everyone and everything they come into contact with. It is a vicious cycle.
Many people mistakenly think that these microorganisms die before they can do too much damage. According to the CDC, “Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes up to 2 hours or more on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.” That’s just on surfaces. Imagine how long they can live on the warm bodies of other children.
Other than the fact that sending a sick child to school exposes others to harmful bacteria and viruses, the sick child is not at home resting. Just being at school is compromising the child’s body’s ability to heal from the infection. Furthermore, a sick child is most likely too uncomfortable from being sick to have the ability to focus and actually learn anything while at school.
So really, sending a sick child to school likely causes the illness to linger longer than it would have if the child was at home resting, being properly cared for, and recovering; which just translates into more sick days.
Follow the guidelines.
Most schools have specific policies regarding which symptoms are okay and which could be contagious. According to Pediatrics Now, these typically include (but are not restricted to):