Frequently Asked Questions Regarding When To Stay Home From School

  • When should my sick child stay home from school or childcare?
    If your child feels too sick to go to school or childcare, or has one of the illnesses on this website, please keep him or her home.

    Does my child need to stay home when he or she just has a cold?
    Most children with mild colds who have no fever and who feel well enough to go to school or childcare do not need to stay home. Most colds spread in the 1-3 days before children show symptoms such as a runny nose or minor cough.

    Does my child need to be out of school or childcare if he or she has pinkeye?
    It is helpful to think of pinkeye like the common cold. It can be spread to others, but it usually clears up without medicine. The best way to keep a child from spreading pinkeye is to encourage good hand washing. If your child has pinkeye and a fever or severe eye pain, take him or her to see a doctor.

    How long will my child need to stay home if he or she is sick?
    This website explains how long children should stay home after they become sick with certain illnesses.

    Would my child ever be required to stay out of school or childcare if he or she was not sick?
    Sometimes children will also have to stay home from school or childcare if they are exposed to some diseases that are preventable by vaccines. Your school, childcare center or local health department will discuss this amount of time with you.

    If my child is excluded from attending school or childcare, what will he or she need to return to school or childcare?
    The list on this website shows whether a medical note or parent note is required for your child to return to school or childcare after exclusion for illness.

    Could an illness prevent my child from participating in sports or other activities? Children with illnesses spread by close contact, like lice, scabies, shingles, staph or strep skin infections may not be allowed to participate in some sports or Physical Education (PE) activities. Children with mononucleosis (Mono) or cytomegalovirus (CMV) may be told not to participate in PE or sports in order to avoid injuries. Children with diarrhea should not participate in water activities like swimming, splash pads, or water tables until two weeks after diarrhea stops.

    Help your child stay healthy and ready to learn.
    We hope that your child never has to miss school because of illness. The best protection from disease is prevention. You can help prevent many illnesses by making sure your child receives immunizations and washes his or her hands often.

    If there is an outbreak of disease in your child's school, DHEC may change the exclusions found in this document in order to stop the spread of disease.

    If your child has not received immunizations to protect against diseases like Measles, Mumps, Rubella (German measles), or Chickenpox, he or she may need to be removed from school or childcare if there are cases of these illnesses in the school or childcare. Your school nurse will provide more information if there is an exposure or outbreak.

    OK to Attend

    Children with the following conditions do not have to be excluded from school or childcare, if they feel well enough to participate in regular activities:

    • Canker Sores
    • Chronic Hepatitis B or C
    • Colds or coughs, without fever or other signs of illness
    • Cold Sores
    • Croup
    • Cytomegalovirus (your child may need to stay out of PE and sports)
    • Disease spread by mosquitos: Malaria, West Nile Virus
    • Diseases spread by ticks: Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia
    • Ear Infection
    • Fifth Disease
    • HIV Infection
    • Mononucleosis (your child may need to stay out of PE and sports)
    • MRSA, if child is only a carrier
    • Pinworms
    • Rash without fever or behavior change
    • Roseola, once the fever is gone
    • Thrush
    • Urinary Tract Infection
    • Warts, including Molluscum contagiosum
    • Yeast Diaper Rash

    NOT OK to Attend

    SC DHEC provides information regarding illnesses that students should remain home with until well. Please consult the information below for details.

    Illnesses To Stay Home With


    Updated January 31, 2016 by SC DHEC