Frequently Asked Questions
The School Health Services department works closely with the Henrico County Health Department to prevent disease transmission and maintain a healthy school environment. Parents can support the effort by following the recommendations made in the answers to the frequently asked questions.
Q. When should I keep my child home from school?
A. When your child complains of being sick and has symptoms like sore throat, head cold, diarrhea, vomiting, or has had a fever greater than 100.4°F, in the last 24 hours, your child should remain at home. Keeping your child home when he or she is sick will permit your child time to recover and reduce the spread of illness to others. Please call and inform the school when your child is absent due to illness. If your child needs a dose of medication for the above symptoms in the morning, they need to stay at home. PLEASE DO NOT send your child after having had a dose of Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Motrin (ibuprofen) in the morning, the effects will wear off during the school day and the fever will return. A more difficult call is when your child complains of being sick in the morning, but you do not see any symptoms. You will then need to use your best judgment.
Q. When reporting my child is sick, what should I report to school?
A. Let us know what is wrong with your child. Instead of saying he is sick, please be specific with symptoms such as a fever, vomiting and diarrhea or she has a head cold, etc. This will allow us to better keep track of the types of illnesses currently in the school. Please let us know if your child has been admitted to the hospital. Let us know when your physician informs your that your child has a contagious illness such as strep throat, mononucleosis, hepatitis A, pinworms, meningitis, shigella, ringworm, scabies, flu, or any of the childhood illnesses (German measles, mumps, red measles, whooping cough, chicken pox, scarlet fever or fifth disease).
Q. What is the policy for sending children home from school?
A. In general, children will be sent home if the illness prevents the child from participating comfortably in school activities or if the illness poses a risk of spread of disease to others. This includes children who are complaining of nausea, vomiting, stomachache, headache, sore throat and who appear sick (for example: sleeping, laying around quiet, not talking or interacting with others in the clinic). Children will be sent home with an oral fever at or above 100.4°F. Children may not ride the school bus home. Children must be fever-free (without taking fever-reducing medication) for 24 hours before returning to school. Children with head lice, conjunctivitis (pink eye) with drainage, rash due to possible communicable disease, open draining sores with pus will also be sent home. Children may be referred to their private health provider for further evaluation.
Q. When will children not be sent home?
A. Children will not be sent home who are complaining of nausea, vomiting, stomachache, headache, or sore throat, but who do not appear sick when lying down in the clinic (playful, talkative and active in the clinic).
Q. When my child has been home sick, when can he or she return to school?
A. Once the symptoms have stopped and the child is fever-free (oral temperature less than 100.4°F) for 24 hours, your child may return to school. If your child has had a fever the evening/night before, please do not send them back to school in the morning even if the temperature is down first thing in the morning. Often early morning temperatures are a degree or two below what it will be by afternoon.
Q. When will I be called by the school health services staff?
A. You will be called if your child is sick (vomiting, diarrhea, temperature over 100.4°F) has head lice, or a problem that has not been previously identified by you, is brought to the attention of the school clinic staff. For instance, if a child comes to the clinic with an unidentified rash that has not been previously noticed, the child states that the parent has not seen it because it just started, a parent will be called. Parents will also be called for any injuries of significance (small scrapes will be treated without calling), any changes in known health conditions, and any health conditions that are not responding as expected to medications/treatments provided in the clinic. We may also call because there is a concern about a behavior or behavior change seen in your child. If you are concerned about a particular aspect of your child's health/safety or would like to be notified regarding something in particular, please talk with your school nurse or clinic attendant so the two of you can work closely together for the benefit of your child.
Q. When my child has had head lice, when can he or she return to school?
A. Once your child has been treated with a product specifically made to kill lice, and the hair has been mechanically combed with a nit comb to remove lice and nits (eggs), your child may return to school. Clinic staff will inspect the child's head to ensure the treatment has been administered properly. To prevent re-infestation, your child should be retreated in 7 days. The clinic staff will recheck your child in 7-10 days for return of head lice. Contact the school nurse or clinic attendant for further information about the elimination of head lice.
Q. What does the school do to prevent the spread of head lice?
A. When a child in elementary school is found to have head lice, or a parent calls us to tell us their child had head lice, all students in the classroom are immediately screened for head lice. Letters are sent home to parents so they can check their child's head for signs of lice for the next several days. Children who have had head lice are re-screened upon return to school before they are allowed back into class to ensure that the treatment has been properly administered. Children who have had head lice will be automatically re-screened in 7-10 days for the return of head lice. Occasionally a case may be difficult to eliminate and may require that additional precautions be taken at school, such as children keeping their coats and hats at their desk or in their backpacks. Mass screening for head lice is not conducted in the middle or high school. Close contacts are screened at the discretion of the school nurse. Due to the infrequency of head lice in this population, letters are not routinely sent home to parents of middle or high school parents.
Q. Why is it important to complete the Student Health History form each year?
A. In order for us to provide the best health care possible so that your child is able to fully benefit from his or her school experience, it is important that we have current information about your child's health status at the beginning of each school year. Children may develop chronic health problems or allergies during this time of rapid growth that need to be addressed during the school day. Also, the clinic staff needs current emergency contact information if we are unable to reach a parent or guardian. If it becomes necessary to call an ambulance and you cannot be reached, the child's current health history provides critical information to emergency personnel. If you have not completed a Health History form for the current school year, please ask the school nurse or clinic attendant for a form or CLICK HERE to download the form. Complete both sides of the form and give it to the school nurse or clinic attendant at your child's school.
Q. Where can I get information about healthcare providers if my child does not have insurance?
A. Click the following links for health care resources:
CLICK HERE to download the Health History form. Complete both sides of the form and give it to the school nurse or clinic attendant at your child's school.